An initiative to provide employable and livelihood empowerment skills to the youth in Zongo communities was launched in Accra last Saturday. The enterprise, known as the Skills Project, aims at providing skills training in areas such as tailoring, bead-making, make-up, hairdressing, baking, auto mechanics and welding. Over 100,000 out-of-school youth from the Zongos are expected to benefit from the first phase of the initiative which will span 12 months.
It is on the theme, “Zongo Skills, Decent Jobs” and is championed by Initiative for Youth Development (IYD), a non-governmental organisation, in partnership with the Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Zongo Development Fund and Council for Technical and Vocational Education Training (COTVET).
According to the Founder and Executive Director of the IYD, Mr Mahmoud Jaja, a Zongo skills fund had been set up to raise $1 million annually in the next 10 years to finance the project.
The money, he said, would be raised from government agencies, international organisations, the private sector and well-to-do individuals in the beneficiary communities. He said his outfit had already arranged with some skills trainers to train the youth, adding that a start-up capital would be provided to the trainees to enable them to establish ventures on their own at the end of the training. “Anyone who identifies what he or she wants to do would register with us and we will, in turn, connect that person to the service provider to facilitate their training,” he said.
He said beneficiaries of the programme would be observed and their progress checked during and after the training period, adding that a progress report on the initiative would be issued in July next year.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, in collaboration with the IYD, organised the Zongo Coders programme, an initiative geared towards teaching the youth in Zongo the nuances of software development and coding, which officials said yielded positive results.
Following from this, the sector minister, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, described the IYD as an effective partner in the area of youth empowerment, for which reason the ministry was pledging more support for the group’s activities. “The IYD is utilising the resources that we give them positively and that’s why we are motivated to do more,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Izar Group, Ms Rashida Saani Nassamu, advised the youth to have a clear understanding of what their strengths and weaknesses were before venturing into any enterprise.
She said when they did so they would be able to identify what they were capable of and stay committed to it. Also present at the launch were the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso North Constituency, Mr Yusif Jaja, Ayawaso East Municipal Chief Executive, Hajia Salma Adams, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Zongo Development Fund, Alhaji Baba Saddique, Zongo Youth Chief for the Greater Accra Region, Alhaji Salisu Maude and a Security Analyst, Mr Adib Mohammed.