Plan International, an NGO, has engaged youths from Niger, Cameroun and Nigeria to become change agents in stabilisation of Lake Chad Basin.
The Regional Project Manager of the EU Project, Mrs Lisa Angulo, made this known in Abuja on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at a Regional Exchange meeting on Youth Leading the Stabilisation Efforts in the Lake Chad Basin.
Angulo said that the regional exchange meeting brings together young people from the three countries to promote learning, connection and experience sharing of best practices.
She said this would help the participating youths to create awareness among themselves on their role towards establishing peaceful coexistence in the Lake Chad region.
She described the “Youth Leading the Stabilisation Effort in the Lake Chad Basin’’ as a EU funded project that contribute to the effective participation of young people in peace building efforts.
According to her, the protracted crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region remains one of the most severe humanitarian emergencies in the world affecting the North East of Nigeria, Far North Region of Cameroon, the Lake Chad region of Chad and the Diffa region of Niger.
“The EU Project is all about stabilisation and participation of the youths. It is a way to make sure that youths be one active agent in stabilisation of the region.
“Youths are often excluded from power and it is time they are included.
“We want the youths to be independent agent, use the capacity building, the internet they are working on to help themselves and also train generation coming after,” she said.
Mr Abdulrazak Abubakar, representative of Borno youths, said the project had been impactful and had changed the mind-set of the youths in not becoming agents of destruction.
Abubakar said that there was need to restrategise efforts toward attainment if regional stabilisation in the Lake Chad Basin.
He said that the youths were engaged in issues that had to do with the collection of data ranging from educational infrastructures and health infrastructures in the communities.
He said this would help them in approaching the government on concerted efforts in providing such infrastructures to the communities.
“Youths from the participating countries have come to discuss issues bothering on social economic wellbeing of the youths, youths participation in decision making and regional stabilisation efforts.
“This discourse will go a long way in complimenting the engagement with other countries to ensure that youths are liberated from instability and social vices,” he said.
Abubakar said the representatives from the three countries had shared experiences and strategies the different countries had adopted to advocate for peace building, gender equality and participate in governance.
Boulama Bintou, representative from Niger, commended the efforts of Plan International, saying that the training in data collection had helped to improve the situation of the country.
Bintou said the meeting had helped in creating awareness amongst the duty bearers on the importance of valuing the role of young people in building peaceful coexistence, community development, post conflict reconstructions, rehabilitation, and rebuilding process in the region.
In the same vein, Arsa Ngatsme, a youth representative from Cameroun, said that they were ready to implement the experiences to fast track development in the country.
The Lake Chad Programme (LCP) is a joint initiative from Plan International’s Country Offices in Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria as well as Plan International’s West and Central Africa Hub.
It was established to address the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin through an integrated and regional programme approach.
By Funmilayo Adeyemi