The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals has bagged a UN award for leading the line in the efforts to empower the youths in the country. The award also recognised the strides made by the presidential aide and the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs in galvanising the youth to lend their voices through the My World Survey in the global quest to develop a successor framework for the Millennium Development Goals.
The award which was presented by Corrine Wood the Director, United Nations Millennium Campaign, at the side event and gala night in New York was received by Dr Christopher Otabor, Head of Information and Communications of OSSAP-MDGs on behalf of Dr Gbeneol.
According to the organisers, Nigeria stood out among other nations in the harnessing the views, priorities and voices of the youth in as part of the general local and regional consultations leading to the framing and adoption of a post 2015 agenda aimed at building a future that is sought after by all. To augment this process OSSAP-MDGs drove the MY World Survey in partnership with the United Nations Millennium Campaign. The MY World Survey is a tool used worldwide to capture public opinion with regard to their developmental priorities for a Post 2015 Agenda.
According to Dr Otabor, “Nigeria, through OSSAP-MDGs supported the role out of My World Survey in Nigeria and some other parts of Africa to capture the views and aspirations of the youths in the country’s position paper that will be fed into the overall global agenda by 2015. Using the Youth Corp of NYSC across the country, OSSAP-MDGs commissioned the use of the survey tool in the first quarter of 2013. Outcome has been the surveying of over 145,000 individuals, making Nigeria’s MY World Survey the largest conducted in the world, and constituting around 70% of the global total of those surveyed.”
A statement issued by Desmond Utomwen, Media and Communications to OSSAP-MDGs also stated that as part of the efforts of OSSAP-MDGs to sustain the empowerment of the youth in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation Agenda, the office has been working with the Ministry of Youth, the Citizen and Leadership Training Centre and the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC by funding some of their strategic programmes aimed at addressing issues of unemployment.
“Through the NYSC for example, we run the Development Knowledge Programme, MDGs Awareness initiative as well as the War Against Poverty, WAP programme for the Corps members. Through the WAP, Corps members are trained on about six agro-allied ventures with the potential to launch them into large scale entrepreneurship. Here, the Corps Members get revolving loans of between N200, 000 and N250, 000 to start up their businesses. All they need to provide as collateral is their discharge certificates. This programme, I can tell you has been a huge success. As a matter of fact, some of the beneficiaries have not just overcome the challenge of unemployment, but are today employers of labours themselves. Same thing is being done through the Ministry of Youth and CLTP” Utomwen stated.
“We have also embarked on youth and community empowerment through the construction of over 500 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Centres across the country with the objective of getting the youths and members of the host communities and its environs equipped for the present day challenges. Trained Youth Corps members and other resource personnel are deployed all year round for the training of the beneficiaries of the programme”. Utomwen added.