ActionAid Nigeria (AAN)has empowered nine youths with a cash gift of N100, 000 each as a way of building back a better livelihood from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Adewale Adeduntan, Manager, Social Mobilisation, AAN said the empowerment was to create awareness on the severe impact of COVID-19 on young people.
At a virtual Grand Finale and Mentoring Session of the ActionAid Youth Digital Engagement (YDE) Video Contest in Abuja, Adeduntan also advocated for government to prioritise young people in development programmes.
According to him, the initiative was launched to deliberately put resources in the hands of young people.
“The basic aim was to support young people to engage in and design efforts to turn around the impact of the pandemic.
“The grants are for youth-led solutions and an accelerator programme to scale up existing response efforts.
“The leadership of AAN through Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) are calling on governments, businesses and policy makers to back the Youth Mobilization effort and commit to investing in the future of young people.”
He explained that doing this would directly support young people engaged at the grassroots level to tackle some of the most pressing socio-economic, health and societal challenges resulting from the pandemic.
“ AAN is honoured to join the global movement to mobilise and empower youth worldwide to be the driving force of the recovery to COVID-19 through the YDE Project.
“ Joining forces with Tanzania, Bangladesh, Zambia, Palestine, and Ethiopia with a unique opportunity to learn from hundreds of millions of young people and be guided by their sustainable solutions to help communities build back better from the pandemic.
“ Our justification for organising the contest is because COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives. It has not only resulted in a global health crisis but one with social, political and economic impact on young people.”
He added that the across Nigeria, the pandemic has had a severe impact on youth employment particularly, owing to disruptions to education, job layoffs, income losses
and increased barriers to job market entry.
He said that the pandemic was likely to result in unprecedented new inequalities upon graduation of those young people still pursuing education.
“ One in six young people who were employed before the outbreak, stopped working.
“Altogether, most notably younger workers aged 18–24, and those in clerical support, services, sales, and crafts and related trades, with young women are reporting greater losses in productivity as compared to young men.
“ Also severe disruption to learning and working, compounded by the health crisis, has seen a deterioration in young people’s mental well-being,” he added.
Adeduntan however said the gesture was necessary as young people need some form of financial support to build back better in the post COVID-19 era.
The winners are Victory Michael, Idoko David, Abel Andrew, Mayamba Maxwell, James Gabriel, Hammed Olorunnishola, Juliet Ugbedeojo, Yaddak Ishaku and Tomsy Amos.