Fifty former internally displaced persons from Borno state completed a 6-month training in leather craftsmanship at the Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technologies (NILEST) thanks to funding by the European Union (EU) and technical support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The initiative, which is part of the EU’s Borno Project and UNDP’s Vocational Skills Training Programme, was launched in December 2017 and focuses on four key intervention areas: infrastructure, livelihoods, social cohesion, and local governance.
The trainees are the first citizens of Borno to complete the leatherworks programme and are part of larger group of 600 students who began their training in February 2019 under the Integrated Recovery and Resilience in Borno State (IC2RB). The event was held at NILEST’s Abuja office under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of the Science and Technology, which was represented by Permanent Secretary Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu.
“This programme is in line with the Change Agenda championed by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari as it focuses on suitable and sustainable solutions for work”, said Mr. Bako Nabasu as he hailed the NILEST-UNDP joint initiative.
Addressing the new NILEST graduates UNDP Nigeria Deputy Resident Representative Carine Yengayenge said: “UNDP is a firm believer in the power of learning. We encourage you to use your skills to help build strong and resilient communities and to contribute to the sustainable development of Nigeria. The recent launch of our Regional Stabilization Facility is a testament to UNDP’s unwavering commitment to helping the people of Borno tap into the full potential of its youth.”
“I commend the EU and UNDP for this laudable achievement of building the capacity of Nigerian youth” said Dr. Eucharia Ngozi, NILEST acting Director-General and Chief Executive Officer .
“This training programme is a boost to unlocking the enormous potentials existing in leather sector for the benefit of this country. The leather sector is the nation’s next goldmine and holds the key to industrial growth, economic diversification, jobs and wealth creation” added Dr. Ngozi.
UNDP has announced that it will provide qualified NILEST graduates (selected based on a set of criteria such as 70% rates of attendance and performance respectively, and a robust business plan) with a 180,000 Naira start-up grant.
UNDP has enlisted the services of the Center for Community Development and Research Network (CCDRN), a local NGO, to provide training on business plan development and financial management.
The EU Borno Project aims to reach 600,000 beneficiaries in 15,000 households and to graduate 2400 vocational trainees. It has already benefitted 4682 agricultural trainees and 1200 non-agricultural trainees.
NILEST graduate and Borno native Abdurrahman Maidallah, 40: “We produce a lot of raw hide and skins in Maiduguri. I am looking forward to launching my leather business and to help develop the Northeast. This training gives me the opportunity to do just that.”