The Dutch Government has expressed its appreciation for the efforts of the SOS Children’s Villages, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), in successfully graduating 863 youths from its ‘The Next Economy (TNE 11)’ Program.

Sonia Fajusigbe, the Economic Policy Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment at the Netherlands Consulate, conveyed this commendation during the closing event in Lagos on Saturday. She highlighted that out of the 863 youths who completed the program, 405 received training in core life skills, 364 in employability skills, and 94 underwent internship/job training.

The “The Next Economy” program is a transformative initiative jointly undertaken by SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria and the Netherlands, along with support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. TNE empowers Nigerian youth, enabling them to tap into their talents, boost their self-confidence, and refine essential skills necessary for a successful career, whether in the workforce or as emerging entrepreneurs.

This program is concluding its second phase, which has been in operation since 2020 and was held in three locations across Nigeria, namely Lagos, Abuja, and Jos.

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Fajusigbe mentioned that TNE is one of the programs under the Local Employment Development Initiative in Africa (LEAD program), which has been running for the past eight years. The main objective of the program is to create 17,000 jobs for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Horn of Africa.

She explained that TNE consists of three tracks: the entrepreneurship track, the employability track, and the core life skills track. She emphasized the importance of life skills in maintaining a job, including punctuality, emotional intelligence, adaptability, tolerance, and innovation within an organization.

The program aligns with the Dutch government’s “youth unheard policy,” focusing on harnessing the potential of young people. With a significant youth population in Nigeria and worldwide, programs like TNE are crucial for preparing the future workforce and promoting economic growth.

Ahmed Bappare, Programme Manager at SOS Children’s Villages in Lagos, noted the power of education, self-improvement, skills acquisition, and mentorship in shaping the lives of the young participants. He highlighted the determination, resilience, and commitment of these youths in embracing personal growth and thriving in a rapidly changing world.

Mrs. Bose Ironsi, Executive Director of the Women’s Right and Health Project (WRAHP), praised the program’s objectives and emphasized its importance in a country with a large and often underemployed youth population. She particularly appreciated the inclusion of training in core skills, which are often lacking in many young people today.

One of the beneficiaries, Ms. Temitope Ibrahim, stressed the value of service to humanity and how the rewards may not be immediately apparent but will pay off in the long run.(NAN)


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