The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to partner with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) to empower 20 million Nigerian youths by 2030.
The initiative tagged: “Generation Unlimited” and set to be inaugurated on Monday, July 26, 2021 in Abuja, is targeted at 20 million persons between the ages of 10 and 24 out of the nation’s 65 million young people.
Peter Hawkins, the Country Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, said this in an interview in Abuja on Sunday, July 25.
According to him, the initiative is also being replicated in many other countries with 1.8 billion young people targeted around the World.
With specific reference to Nigeria, Hawkins said that the Generation Unlimited programmes were aimed at developing the capacity of young Nigerians to be better positioned as leaders of tomorrow.
He said that if the youths were not equipped with the right skills, especially in view of the ongoing digitisation of the world, they would be unable to bring value to the future of Nigeria.
The UN representative added that such initiatives would also help in turning the youth away from drugs or crime.
“Nigeria has 65 million people between the ages of 10 and 24, so young people of Nigeria are more importantly the future. That generation would shape the future of Nigeria.
“What Generation Unlimited is trying to do is to first act as a platform between the government, the United Nations and the International Community and the private sector.
“Out of the 65 million young people, Generation Unlimited is trying to help 20 million of those over the next 10 years to step over the generation that they are in to be able to meet their own ambitions and be valuable commodities in Nigeria.
“What is going to define the future of any country, particularly Nigeria is the digital platform – access to data, access to digital information.
“It is not only expanding the digital platform but expanding young people’s access to that platform.
“There are initiatives like School-2-School connectivity, looking at how we can bring digital learning into the schools, communities and ensure that young peoples’ skills around digital platforms come to the fore,” he said.
He pointed out that other areas include education skills on the one hand and employability and entrepreneurship on the other hand.
Hawkins said that UNICEF was particularly focused on connection between the skills and opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, trying to develop the skills that jobs require.
Hawkins added that the last part was engagement of the young people not only to understand what they want to do but also to create an environment where they are contributing to the future of this country as a voice.
“Already, over the past year, we have been engaging with 450,000 young people through different initiatives around the country.
“There is a massive prospect in this country to engage young people. So in summary, Generation Unlimited is trying to help 20 million young people to achieve skills and jobs with digital platform being the main conduit for many of these jobs and skills.
“On Monday, Nigeria’s Vice President will inaugurate the Generation Unlimited Nigeria, this is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate a vision for the young people of Nigeria and give them the opportunity to engage in what happens in Nigeria in the future.
“There are many initiatives at the moment currently ongoing, especially around skills development, education a live skills learning.
“What we are trying to do at Generation Unlimited is to allow the platform of all of these to go to scale, using different initiatives to trigger off other initiatives to reach the 20 million that we want to reach in the next 10 years,” he said.
The UNICEF Representative listed some of its partners to include: GIZ, EU, USAID, Unilever, Microsoft, Tony Elumelu Foundation, and MasterCard, amomg others, adding that they were open for partnerships with institutions and the private sector.
By Ifeanyi Nwoko