FOSTERING STABILITY AND DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA THROUGH INTEGRATED YOUTH AND GENDER EMPOWERMENT PROCESS AND PLANNING

In Nigeria, crisis and instability have precluded the government to a large extent from implementing its economic transformation programme. There has been remarkable episodes of insurrection in the country, ranging from the Niger Delta, Jos Plateau, to the Boko Haram (a terrorist group, whose name translates to as “Western education is sinful”) sectarian crisis. There is also a subsisting level of criminality and armed banditry. This has been possible because of the sea-sand of unemployed and socially excluded young men and women roaming the streets, waiting to be recruited for any nefarious purpose. The activities of these groups have variously affected service provision, the state of infrastructure and general economic performance. Howbeit, the persistence and prominence enjoyed by these crisis situations is also as said, a result of the availability of poor and unemployed youths who are at each point willing to be recruited. These who Nigeria claims do not exist are the real bombs the nation must defuse by discovering and remoulding them if the country must live in peace (Olagunju, 2012).

Consequently, providing these youths the opportunity to acquire self-reliance education and employment is key and should be the earnest concern of all governments particularly in Nigeria. Indeed, Anumnu (2001) explicitly maintains that the greatest worry of any growing nation like Nigeria is how to utilize Education fully to develop people’s ability to manage and induce change; or how to improve the standard of living off her citizenry and affect national development.Corruption has severely hampered provision and administration of socio-economic incentives for women and youth development. It is also safe to say that corruption brings about conditions like a bad economy, unemployment, poverty and hunger. Empirical evidence according to Mauro (1997), suggests that corruption lowers investment and retards economic growth to a significant extent. There is also the propensity for corruption to tempt government officials to choose government expenditures less on the basis of public welfare than on the opportunity they provide for extorting bribes. Such situation diminishes the empowerment process and may trigger off a crisis that would retard economic growth and development. The Nigerian government must on this basis, learn to ‘bite the bullet’ in an attempt to fight corruption. This factor cannot be left out when consideration is made as to the causes of the failure of past poverty reduction efforts in Nigeria.

It is necessary to adopt a massive capacity building exercise for empowerment planners who should be the athenaeum of knowledge and strategies for poverty reduction and empowerment. Furthermore, applying a constructionist approach to empowerment administration will suffice as “man has constantly to sum up experience and go on discovering, inventing, creating and advancing …man’s capability to transform his surroundings… (United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 1972a), especially when it comes to fighting corruption, negligence and ineptitude.
Government agencies like the legislature may be inclined to fight corruption and official laxity in public institutions, but may not be properly disposed to doing so. This may either be as a result of lack of political will or dearth of the requisite knowledge to do so. In view of this, government should be enlightened to realise that corruption, for example, flourishes where distortions in the policy and regulatory regime provide scope for it and where institutions of restraint are weak. It is the same when an Organization or person has monopoly power over a good or service which generates rent, has the discretion to decide who will receive it, and is not accountable (Bannon, 1999).

The executive and legislative arms who institute, appoint, confirm and allocate budgetary provision for empowerment institutions, must for the above reasons, initiate collective assault on breach of operational guidelines. They should act to strengthen anti-corruption agencies and build capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the country (Daily Independent online, August 29, 2013), through continuous training. In this sense, capacity building both for the regulators and role players is necessary. By the above facts, the purpose of a knowledge-based empowerment programme would be to transform an ignorant situation to a situation built on knowledge rallied from solid investigations. In planning poverty alleviation and empowerment, therefore, concerned institutions must base their actions and decisions on concrete and verifiable facts and data.

Adopted from Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences Volume 4, No. 4.4 Quarter IV 2013 ISSN: 2229 – 53137
By Emecheta Kingsley Onyemekara.

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THE CHANGE I DESIRE by Gloria Odurukwe

5000 FOR THE UNEMPLOYED; not the solution to eradicating Poverty

I believe the government should answer some of these questions before going ahead.

a). How many poor people do we have in Nigeria?
b). Where can we find them?
c). How do we identify them?
d). What are the limits?
e). How long will this programme last?
d). What happens to the families after it ends?

SOLUTION.

#5000 based on the Nigerian economy can bearly provide food for a large family.

The Government should strengthen the Social welfare services and use them across the states to locate, and assist the poor.
Social welfare services is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria. its main components are
family and Child Welfare
Rehabilitation
Counselling & Corrections
Care of the elderly.
This will help the beneficiaries go through an orientation programme which involves a specific period set for financial assistance in which they are equipped and expected to become independent of Social Welfare.

2. UNEMPLOYMENT

Employment generation is a primary economic development goal of every industrialising nation. More jobs generally mean more economic activities, more tax revenues for the government and less idle time. Job growth permits the expansion and improvement of public goods and services, leading to an improved quality of life and enhanced prospects for future employment growth.

The NDE(National directorate on Employment) had created various programmes in the past, which failed to achieve their purpose e.g Operation Feed the Nation( 1976), Youth Empowerment Scheme (2002), National Economic and Empowerment Development Strategy(2004) and many more.

How then can we make these employment programmes work?

These questions can only be answered by developing and implementing a national employment program that is relevant to our socio-economic milieu.

PREREQUISITES FOR SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS( Ukwuegbu Anthony Chijioke, Uni of Lagos).

1. The program should aim at providing marketable skills i.e skill acquisition.
2. The program should be able to provide start-up capital (form of cash or equipment).
3. The program should encourage public work programmes i.e labour intensive jobs.

How to Empower the Youth to Change the World

A change agent is someone who uses their voices and actions to create change, like three children in Kolkata, India who took it upon themselves to increase polio vaccination rates and help put their community on the map so that they could have access to clean water.

A change agent is someone like Jackson Merrick, a 5th grader from Virginia who happened to notice a Nothing But Nets sign at a basketball tournament.  He was so inspired, after learning about the organization’s efforts to help end deaths from Malaria in Africa, he decided to raise money by selling African themed bracelets, key-chains and necklaces to purchase 18 insecticide-treated bed nets to protect a classroom of kids and their families.

But How? How Can We Empower Youth?

Some would say that as idyllic as it sounds- to empower youth, it is not that easy as parents, community leaders and teachers to foster this sense of ownership and leadership in children. Some might even wonder how can we put our future into the hands of tweens and teens, whose ideas span from the simple lemonade stand to lofty dreams that are ridden with logistical complications.

 The “how” of how to empower youth to be change agents is to let them be kids and develop their own ideas- wherever they are in the range of potential social good actions.

The answer is simple- we simply let them “do.” We let them dream and think. We give our youth the tools to collaborate and problem solve, brainstorm and reflect. We empower them to believe that their voice matters without judging or criticizing their ideas.

The “how” of how to empower youth to be change agents is to let them be kids and develop their own ideas- wherever they are in the range of potential social good actions. While one teen might be ready to speak out on a cause to their classmates or create an after school club, another might produce a video to build general awareness, while another might make bracelets to sell for a cause. The action almost doesn’t matter as long as it is meaningful to the student and fosters a sense of purpose.

A new study conducted by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the United Nations Foundation found that 9 out of 10 American youth between the ages eight and 19 give money to organizations dedicated to charitable causes. Tweens and teens want to give, participate and have an impact- it is up to us to support and empower them.

When we let our children’s voices and ideas speak for themselves, the actions are more powerful…more inspired.

How to Inspire youths to change the world, by ELENA SONNINO September 20, 2013