The Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs. Maryam Uwais has said the Federal Government is committed to addressing the concerns of out-of-school-children and other vulnerable youths across the country.
Mrs. Uwais, who is the facilitator of the At-Risk-Children Programme (ARC-P), a Federal Government’s initiative under the auspices of the Office of the Vice President, said the Federal Government, working with state governments, private sector, development partners, and other stakeholders, is using the instrument of ARC-P to give a new lease of life to street children and youths who have found themselves in disadvantaged positions in life.
She was speaking on Saturday in Gombe State during the closing ceremony of a three-week capacity building training programme for 500 ARC-P youth facilitators, who were drawn from the 11 LGAs in the state.
Mrs Uwais said the programme was critical for a secured and sustainable future for the undeserved children and vulnerable youth in Nigeria.
She said the participants after the three weeks programme, were trained in critical areas like child pedagogy, rights and protections; basic literacy and numeracy, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, digital skills; sports and life skills; basic monitoring and evaluation among others.
The Presidential aide said the trainees are expected to use the knowledge gained to provide further training, support and mentoring for various At-Risk-Children in their communities.
She said that as an immediate next step, the youth facilitators would be assigned the lists of disadvantaged youth and children within their LGAs as their direct responsibility, for identification.
She said they would also secure parental/guardian consent, before the training and nurturing would commence in the various community hubs set up by the state government.
“A monthly stipend would be availed them, in addition to support for the entrepreneurship opportunities arising from their own peculiar skills.
“This is a hugely ambitious task but we believe that it is one feasible way we can address the challenge of huge numbers of out-of-school-children across the country. We need to create an army of capacity within the communities to see how we can support these children who, through no fault of theirs, are deprived of so many rights and protections.
“This is why we are relying on you, the ARC-P facilitators to support this initiative by applying the knowledge and skills you have garnered during the three weeks training in nurturing the vulnerable children and youth in your communities so that they can become useful and take ownership of their lives.
“The youth facilitators are clearly passionate and full of zeal, having been deliberately empowered with the oversight expertise & the skills to contribute to nation building and development, to not only improve themselves, but also support the positive transformation of the lives of their peers & younger children who are less privileged,” Uwais said.
The Governor of Gombe State, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, who was accompanied by state First Lady, Hajiya Asma’u Inuwa Yahaya, and other top government functionaries attributed the success of ARC-P activities in the state, including the conduct of the 500 Youth Facilitators’ Induction training programme, to hard work and commitment.
Governor Yahaya commended the ARC-P team led by Mrs Maryam Uwais for the initiative which according to him has made Gombe State to be a model in the implementation of the Programme that has direct bearing on the lives of vulnerable youth and children.
“This batch of ARC-P facilitators that have completed their training were selected from the data bank of unemployed graduates that our administration established in order to link these graduates with appropriate job opportunities. As pioneers of this programme, I urge you all to work hard, uphold your knowledge for good practice and training, remain focused and above all, be good ambassadors of our administration’s effort towards improving human capital development in the state,” the governor said.