PIND Talks Youth Empowerment at Shaping Davos

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At Shaping Davos 2015 PIND shared on-the-ground perspectives as a panelist on the topic: Engaging Youth in Work: Absorbing Youth into Emerging Industries. This event saw issues concerning youth and economic development in the Niger Delta discussed with members of the Abuja Global Shapers Community, and insights for what these issues may mean for youth in Nigeria as a whole.

The Global Shapers Community is a network of youth-led hubs developed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to be a platform through which youth can make a contribution to their communities. Shaping Davos was a multi-national discussion wherein all 40 hubs worldwide discussed key issues pertaining to global youth development through live, interactive webcast sessions from their local context. This event held at the Transcorp Hilton hotel in Abuja on January 22nd, 2015, and was streamed live at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

The panel session took place with over 100 youth entrepreneurs and members of civil society in attendance. PIND was represented by Analysis and Advocacy Program Officer Micah Mendie, and he was joined by: Morinsola Sofola, Head of Human Resources, Transcorp Hilton; Onyeka Owenu, Director General, Women’s Development Center based; Modupeola Fadugba, Co-Founder of the West African Vocational Education Center; Istifanus Bargo, Chief Project Officer, Community Services Women and Youths Employment (CSWYE) project of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme; and Eyo Bassey, Founder/CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Rom-Flex.

Panel moderator for Shaping Davos and researcher consultant for ESFAJ & Partners Simi Fajemirokun heralded the importance of a conversation on youth empowerment.

“This conversation on youth economic development is a must-have conversation,” asserted Fajemirokun. “The tragedy that happened when youth applied for the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) showed that getting a job can be a do-or-die thing. It is a problem we need to solve. Nigeria is special because of our size, with 80 million estimated as youth, majority of whom unemployed.”

Before an audience of youth entrepreneurs and young leaders in civil society, Mendie shared lessons on youth leadership and entrepreneurship development from the Youth Capacity Building for Local Empowerment (CAPABLE) training program a yearlong training and mentorship program carried out in partnership with the Africa Center for Leadership Strategy and Development (Center LSD). He also discussed the Youth Link Forum held in Port Harcourt in 2014 where youth present were given opportunity to network with notable young entrepreneurs from the Niger Delta, the Abuja Global Shapers Community and elsewhere, and participated in a workshop on resume building, job interview skills and entrepreneurship development opportunities in agribusiness in the Niger Delta region.

On the topic of entitlement mentality among youth, Mendie also offered a nuanced take: “There are youths who do have that entitlement attitude, but there are also those who have a genuine desire to do more for their communities. In our CAPABLE trainings, for instance, we see all the time youth saying they thought they needed personal connections to be something in life, but learned through the program the value of hard work. Entitlement is not a given, and even where you find it you may be able to convince the youth otherwise.”

Mendie also reiterated PIND’s commitment to youth development, and thanked Abuja Global Shapers Community for its work with PIND, citing their lively session on job interview skills at the last Youth Link Forum. He encouraged youth organizations in attendance to join PIND in fostering improved capacity and skills opportunities for youth, and to make connections with their counterparts in the region.

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