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…As Gombe, UNESCO-Japan Project Empower Vulnerable Communities with Starter Packs

The government of Gombe state has expressed willingness to straighten its collaboration with the development partners in improving the standard of living of state residents.

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, CON,gave this assurance during the closing ceremony for the JAPAN-UNESCO project on strengthening peace building and resilience in the North East Nigeria through Education, Economic Empowerment and Social Change held at Flourish Hotel.

Represented by his Deputy, Manassah Daniel Jatau, Ph.D, the Governor explained that when this administration came on board it met the education and other sectors at a deplorable situation but because of the resilience of the government,it immediately turned around the situation by increasing budgetary allocation, recruitment of teachers and mopping up of about four hundred thousand children back to school.

“Concerned residents in the state will attest to the unfortunate and

uncomfortable state of the educational sector, health, agricultural and indeed many sectors of the economy.This informed the administration to take drastic measures to reverse the situation. Consequently, a state of emergency was declared on Education because of its undisputable importance”.

“…concerted efforts were put in place by increasing budgetary allocation to the education sector; mopping about 400,000 Out-of- school children; recruitment of 1000 qualified teachers; some of our key performance indicators are in the areas of provision of critical learning facilities and equipment as well as massive investment in the construction and renovation of school’s infrastructures”.

” In our pursuit to alleviate the sufferings of our populace more especially the parents, this administration since its assumption in office in May 2019 has been paying for SSCE examinations. Recently approved the payment of N549.4 Million to external examination bodies (WAEC), NABTEB, NBAIS, and others for the participation of indigene students of the state in the forthcoming examinations. This efforts have justified the increase in enrolment number of students, and improvement in percentage of candidates with five credits including Mathematics and English for WAEC from 22.5% in 2019 to 67.5% in 2023″.

“Let me at this juncture, congratulate the 1000 Intermally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and vulnerable families in the host communities, particularly young women and girls within for collecting the starting tool items to make good use of them, lessons and vocational skills learned within the shortest period of their engagement, so that they can be catalyst of change within and outside the shores of our dear state. Whereas critics may take up our state to pinpoint where are the IDP Camps, the answer lies in the belief of the state that having a delineated are as camps, creates a situation of segregation and stigmatization where there are barriers to the healing and reintegration of the victims of the insurgents, terrorists or bandits”.

He said “since the year 2020 Gombe state government had found UNESCO as a very reliable and dependable partner in the struggle to improve the socio economic standard of the state population”.

He challenged the beneficiaries of the programme to equally train others in their communities so that more people will indirectly benefit from the JAPAN UNESCO initiatives for the North East.

In a remark, the head of UNESCO office and UNESCO representative in Nigeria Mr. Abdurrahman Diallo said armed violence in the North East which resulted in massive displacement of people, food insecurity, and other life challenges informed the intervention of JAPAN -UNESCO, hence the project focused on three fundamental priorities in Nigeria which is promotion of peace, reconstruction assistance in the North East and humanitarian assistance to IDPs, social stabilization and vocational training among others.

” Insecurity is a major development concern in the North East Nigeria and more recently in other parts of the country. Armed violence has decimated the lives and livelihoods of civilians, with massive displacements fundamentally altering life in the region. The critical challenges has affected people face include a lack of livelihood opportunities, food security, and stress. These have increased tension across IDP camps and host communities, forcing affected and vulnerable population to adopt negative coping mechanisms”.

” In this regard, one of the key priorities for Nigeria is the promotion of peace and stability including reconstruction assistance in the North East region, including a support humanitarian assistance for Internally Displaced Persons and refugees; and support the reconstruction assistance for social stabilisation in the sectors such as education and vocational training among others”.

According to the UNESCO head in Nigeria, they have supported one thousand internally displaced persons in Gombe State and vulnerable families by giving them skill training of their choices and starter packs.

Goodwill messages came from the Commissioner of Budget and Planning, Alh. Salisu Baba Alkali, Commissioner of Youths and Sports Development, Adamu Inuwa Pantami, and Commissioner of Education,Dr. Aishatu Maigari, as well as the Executive Director Kishimi Shelter and Care Foundation, Grace Samuel Kishimi, Executive Director, Deezahs Universal Services, Hadizah Abubakar, the Senior District Head of Gombe, Alh. Usman Shettima, District Head of Zambuk Alh. Ibrahim A. Usman and Chairman, Internally Displaced Persons, Abba Jato who appreciated the government of Japan, UNESCO, and the government of Gombe State for partnering towards ensuring that the programme is achieved.

They appealed to the Japan government and UNESCO for continued support to be able to cover a large number of the IDPs and the vulnerable persons including youths and women.

While presenting the report of the project to the gathering, the Project Coordinator, UNESCO Office, Abuja, Magdalene Anene- Maidoh explained that the project targets the IDPs and the vulnerable women and youths, through providing them with education, skills and livelihood supports.

She said the project faced a challenge of funding but with the contributions of their partners they were able to succeed in implementing it for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

Presenting his vote of thanks, the Gombe State Director, Adult and Non-Formal Education Agency,Mr.Abubakar Bappari, expressed gratitude to the Gombe State Goverment,UNESCO-Japan Goverments for its interventions to mitigate the vulnerable and poverty situation amongst the youths which is prevailence in the North East Sub-region.

The director,Abubakar Bappari called on all the beneficiaries of the programme to ensure proper usage of all that were learnt, received as starter packs to touch the lives of their communities.

Some of the beneficiaries who spoke at the occasion, Jedidah Tugga, and Hassan Mohammed appreciated the gesture of the Gombe state, Japan government and UNESCO for making the programme a success by assisting them with the livelihood and psycho- social support.

The beneficiaries were trained on tailoring, catering, barbing and shoe making others are animal husbandry and poultry productions among others.

The beneficiaries who were drawn from Gombe, Akko, Yamaltu Deba, Shongom,Kaltungo and Funakaye Local Government Areas were all given starter packs after an intensive training on their chosen skills for months.