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Group, UNFPA move to tackle unemployment


Regional Ambassador, West and Central Africa, UNFPA, Stephanie Linus (left); Assistant Representative, UNFPA Nigeria, Osaretin Adonri; and Founder, Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship (YIL), Obichi Obiajunwa, during the 2019 YIL fellowship in Lagos.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is partnering Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship (YIL) to upscale youth innovation to tackle unemployment in the country.

YIL, a four-month annual leadership training programme in innovation management, mobilised young people from various states, universities, and disciplines to tackle central challenges facing the country by formalising innovative solutions and models that have the potentials to bridge the unemployment gap.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the second edition of YIL held recently in Lagos, Assistant Representative, UNFPA Nigeria, Osaretin Adonri said the collaboration was one of the ways through which UNFPA could encourage young people to think innovatively.

According to him, YIL would help youths to think out solutions to issues that the country have in providing services to young people, which would help in achieving the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.


He said: “We believe that this programme would help reduce the rate of unemployment and grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) because as these young people are innovative, I see many of them becoming self employed, which would reduce the rate of youth unemployment.

“Since these youths think out of the box, they would be able to provide services that were hitherto not available and that would improve the standard of living of the population in general.”

In his remarks, Founder, YIL, Obichi Obiajunwa said the fellowship looked at the current problems that Nigeria is facing and felt that it is vital to motivate the right kind of leaders, who are young and talented persons and encourage them on how to become excellent leaders.

His words: “We want to help the youths become excellent leaders in trying to solve problems. So we gather the youths in an annual basis to teach them how to inspire, how to manage, how to initiate and how to lead innovation in their spheres.

“In selecting them, we took people that are less than 28 years, who are skilled, and know how to solve problems and have proven track record of excellence.”

Speaking on the fight against cybercrime, Obiajunwa noted that the government’s approach of using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest suspected youths was old fashioned, but should harness their cybercrime skills by channeling their attention and skills to cybersecurity.

“A place like Israel, from the point of high school, the smart ones are selected to be trained in cyber security and are enrolled into the intelligent unit and that is part of what we are doing.

“If we don’t harness these talents, they would look for ways to use their talents negatively especially in a situation where they don’t have leverages for growth. I think the government should restrategize on their approach to solving cybercrime,” he said.

Also, one of the facilitators, Professor Emeka Okereke from the University of Port Hacourt, in his remarks said the driving force for the initiative was to get youth innovators and provide a platform where they can maximise their potentials.

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Obichi ObiajunwaUNFPAYIL
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