Full Project – YOUTH EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA (1999 UPWARD)
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The term youth empowerment is broadly employed to explain efforts aimed at providing coping skills and an enabling environment for youths to lead decent lives and contribute meaningfully to national development. The National Youth Policy (2009) is the official document that stipulates broad guidelines for the implementation of empowerment programmes and projects of youths. The policy document states its goal as follows: The overall policy goal is to provide an appropriate framework that will promote the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and protect the health, social, economic and political wellbeing of all young men and women in order to enhance their participation in the overall development process and improve their quality of life (Anthony, 2013).
Youth globally have no exact age range. The United Nations often use the age range 15-24 for statistical purposes (SNYPD, 2009). The National Youth Policy (2009) defines youth as all young males and females aged 18-35 years, who are citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This age range represents more than one-third of the Nigerian population.
Regrettably, the Nigerian youth are grossly unemployed and their potentials underutilized thereby making development precarious. With over ten million almajiris (child beggars) wandering the streets of Northern Nigeria; 23.9% of employable Nigerians unemployed; and 112 million Nigerians (61%) living on less than a dollar per day (Muhammed, 2012), Nigeria’s future prosperity becomes insecure.
Youth empowerment is an attitudinal, structural, and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority, and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people, including youth and adults.
Youth empowerment is often addressed as a gateway to intergenerational equity, civic engagement and democracy building. Many local, state, provincial, regional, national, and international government agencies and nonprofit community-based organizations provide programs centered on youth empowerment. Activities involved therein may focus on youth-led media, youth rights, youth councils, youth activism, youth involvement in community decision-making, and other methods (Okafor, 2011).
Governments, funders, and charity organizations increasingly demand that young people be involved in the processes that affect their lives and communities. Youth empowerment programs (YEPs) are designed to build on the assets of young people through a focus on active participation, mastery experiences, and positive connections in order to improve developmental outcomes and positive transitions to adulthood. Proponents of YEPs suggest that they may constitute an effective, theory-based approach to youth development. The rewards of a youth empowerment approach in high-poverty communities are significant. There has never been a better time to invest in youth empowerment they are tomorrow’s leaders and if appropriate opportunities are made available to put their natural endowment to creative and productive channels, they are indeed capable of working wonders”.
Today it is globally realized that youth empowerment led the nation and prosperity for next generations. Now many countries are focusing their youth by investing heavily in education, health, skills development and leadership education. These steps brought on forefronts, ultimately these nations leading the world. Therefore we can say that youth empowerment is integral for national development especially for under developing countries where youth constitute majority of overall population. If these countries focus on youth development and empowerment it will led them towards long term prosperity. Those countries who invest heavily in their youth they get high returns on their investment in every sector.
An emerging trend in youth empowerment in Nigeria is entrepreneurship education. In their paper titled, Entrepreneurship Education and Employment Stimulation in Nigeria, Akhuemonkhan et al (2013) described entrepreneurship education as follows: Entrepreneurship education has also been described as a formal or informal structured learning that inculcates in students/trainees the ability to identify, screen and seize available opportunities in the environment in addition to skill acquisition (Ubah, 2011).
In the words of Shane and Ikechukwu (2012) the thrust of entrepreneurship training entails identifying “the sources of opportunities, the processes of discovery, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities; and the set of individuals who discover, evaluate and exploit them.” The deliverables of entrepreneurship education when properly imbibed by students and learners are: ability to identify something happening in the environment (resources); and (b) ability to impart something new to trainees, so that their creativity, innovative abilities, beliefs and recombination skills would be enhanced (Fuduric, 2008).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Although, much has been written on the evolution of youth empowerment in Nigeria, little is known concerning youth empowerment in Lagos State visà- vis Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy. It is on the basis of the above that this research seeks to fill the vacuum which is yet to receive the attention of scholars in the field of youth empowerment studies.
Many economic and financial reforms as well empowerment interventions put in place from the recent past till the present time to salvage the youth predicament did not yield significant results. We remember with ease, past and unsuccessful interventions such as the Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment Scheme (SMEEIS) initiative, the N200 billion Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Guarantee Scheme (SMSEGS), the N200 billion SME Restructuring/Refinancing Fund, the N100 billion Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Fund and the N2 billion National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) Facility all established by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow access to credit by small and medium enterprise, pursue radical transformation of the subsector through the provision of adequate and cheaper funding and set the pace for the industrialization of the economy.
In spite of series of development strategies, put in place by successive governments, and sometimes with good intentions, all attempts to generate meaningful development proved futile. Based on this, one is now confronted with these puzzles: “Were those previous development plans or strategies bad in their context, or wrongly projected?” If nothing was wrong with the plans, then why is it still difficult to generate meaningful development in spite of the huge resources at our disposal? The solutions to these puzzles are not far fetched. A lot of factors have combined together to fetter nation’s development. One, there are in most cases, no executive capacity responsible for the formulation and implementation of the plan. What we usually see are officials entrusted to such a position but without any meaningful executive authority. Some of the previous development plans failed because; there was little or no consultation of the general public. Planning is supposed to involve even the peasants in the villages. Even, the Local Government officials who are close to the people were not consulted. Planning is not an edifice where technocrats alone operate. Lack of good governance also militates against national development. Where there is no good governance, development becomes a mirage. This is as a result of bad leadership in the country. Most of our leaders have no sense of commitment to development.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine Youth Empowerment programme and national development in Nigeria (1999 upward) democratic era. The following are the specific objectives:
- To examine the effect of youth empowerment programmes on Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy.
- To find out if the Programme make available recruitment of youth into the workforce
- To find out the factors that enhance youth entrepreneurship training as stipulated in the document of Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy?
- To examine the extent to which youth empowerment programmes in Lagos State been effective in line with the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy?
- How effective is youth empowerment programmes on Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy?
- Does the Programme make available recruitment of youth into the workforce?
- Are there facilities in the Local Government Areas of Lagos State to enhance youth entrepreneurship training as stipulated in the document of Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy?
- To what extent has youth empowerment programmes in Lagos State been effective in line with the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy?
The following Hypotheses were formulated for the study:
- Ho: There is no significant relationship between youth empowerment programmes and Economic Empowerment & Development Strategy.
- Ho: Economic Empowerment & Development Strategy does not provide recruitment for youth.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study borders on the concepts of youth empowerment and its importance to national development. It examines youth empowerment programs in the post 1999 democratic era. It also discusses National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) and its implementation by the Lagos State Government. However, the work is limited to economic and social empowerment of youths in four Local Government Areas of Lagos State and does not cover other areas such as religious empowerment.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significant of this research work are enormous. First, the work addresses one of the key issues of contemporary Nigeria. It touches areas that affect the conduct of youth empowerment principles in Nigerian polity which is the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). Hence, the study is of benefit to students of international relations, politics, development studies, history, and even those in the social sciences.
Secondly, this study will contribute to the growing body of knowledge in youth empowerment as it looks at the concept from a different angle.
Thirdly, this study will aid other researchers who might want to carry out research in related areas.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Youth: Youth is the time of life between childhood and adulthood (maturity). “Youth are also regarded as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years.”
Empowerment: Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities.
Youth Empowerment: Youth empowerment is an attitudinal, structural, and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority, and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives
Non-Governmental Organizations: A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government and a term usually used by governments to refer to entities that have no government status.
National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS): revolves around the idea of empowerment across a broad spectrum of the Nigerian people. NEEDS empowers through job creation, opportunities for employment and wealth creation and promoting private enterprise”.
National development: National development is the capacity of the country to raise the standard of living of its residents. It can be achieved by providing individuals with basic livelihood requirements and supplying them with employment, etc.
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Full Project – YOUTH EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA (1999 UPWARD)