Nigeria Marks Significant Progress in Youth Empowerment through the GenU 9JA Initiative

 A high level meeting was convened between private sector, including notable companies like IHS Towers, Microsoft, Airtel, Unilever, ATC, Jobberman, Cisco and MTN along with government, youth, development partners and UNICEF officials to assess the progress made in 2023 by the GenU 9JA public-private-youth partnership platform.

GenU 9JA has been a cornerstone in addressing the digital and skills gaps, as well as amplifying the voices of millions of young people in an endeavor to support their transition from learning to earning. With the current education crisis in Nigeria, this partnership has markedly enhanced digital access, learning, and soft and job-related skills for Nigerian children, adolescents and youth.

Mobolaji Ogunlende, Hon. Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, praised the initiative: “UNICEF GenU 9JA embodies our commitment to youth empowerment. By equipping our youth, we’re investing in Nigeria’s future, fostering a generation poised for sustainable development and economic prosperity.”

Cristian Munduate, UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria and host of the GenU platform, emphasized the urgency of such initiatives, stating, “With a significant portion of the Nigerian population lacking access to quality services, a public-private-youth partnership platform such as GenU 9JA is critical for our nation’s future. It’s a testament to the power of collaboration between public and private sectors as well as youth as generational agents of change”.

Iruka Ndubuizu, Director Partnerships at Tony Elumelu Foundation, highlighted the importance of partnerships for youth development: “The private sector’s involvement in this platform is aimed at providing holistic support to young people and nurturing a resilient economy fueled by our most valuable asset – our Youth”.

Key Achievements of GenU Naija in 2023 include:

1. Connectivity and Digital Learning: Exceeding targets, the initiative with private sector contributions benefitted over 2 million young people through connected underserved communities and 820 schools and boosted learning through platforms like the Nigeria Learning Passport (nearly 750,000 users) and the Youth Agency Market Place, YOMA.

2. Workplace Readiness: The initiative has equipped over 800,000 young Nigerians with essential skills and livelihood opportunities, with platforms like YOMA linking users to diverse learning and engagement opportunities provided by private sector partners.

3. Youth Engagement: UNICEF’s U-Report is reaching nearly 5.5 million young people and youth have been benefitting from volunteering experiences, in support of campaigns, thereby enhancing their work experience whilst driving change for children in Nigeria. Young volunteers contributed to registering the birth of nearly 8 million children during the recent e-birth registration campaign across the country.
As GenU 9JA looks to the future, today’s meeting was a reflective and strategic session aimed at further empowering Nigerian youth. The public private partnership remains committed to creating a nurturing environment for every young Nigerian to thrive and contribute meaningfully to their society.

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