Fifty community-based female entrepreneurs in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, yesterday received N5 million capital support fund during entrepreneurial skills and alternative livelihoods training.
The women, who received the sum of N100,000 each as capital support during the two-day workshop held in the Nembe City Hall, were drawn from communities within the Nembe LGA.
The training organised and funded by the Nembe Kingdom Youth Congress and facilitated by the Mac-Jim Foundation, Tribune Online learnt is aimed at discouraging women in the area from getting involved in the distribution of artisanally refined petroleum products.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Oyintonyo Eve-Oboro, Managing Director, Bayelsa State Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA), urged the young female entrepreneurs to make good use of lessons from the training and the N100,000 capital support.
She said that some youths in the Niger Delta took to militancy and other dangerous activities because they did not have access to necessary facilities and assistance to eke out a living.
Oboro said, “Most of you (participants) are young ladies. Use this training and incentive to engage yourselves in economic productivity so that there will be multiplier effects from the businesses you will undertake.
“The start-up capital is good, at least for businesses in a local area like this. Be serious with your business and ensure you sustain it as a means of livelihood.”
She called on well-meaning organisations and public-spirited individuals to emulate the Nembe Kingdom Youth Congress to engender prosperity in communities.
In his remarks, Mr Godson Jim-Dorgu, Executive Director, Mac-Jim Foundation, who was also a resource person, said that the training was the outcome of previous community sensitisation programmes organised by the Foundation which the Nembe Kingdom youth president, Mr Albert Benibo, was a participant.
He said, “As part of those meetings which CORDAID, an organisation based in the Netherlands funded, the youth president of Nembe community was one of our participants.
“And he got the message, particularly on how youths will stop artisanal refining and oil bunkering. Some of the things he told me then was to see how they could empower youths and discourage them from being distributors of artisanally refined products”.
Two of the beneficiaries, Ms Rita Otuma and Mrs Alice Reuben, who deal on foodstuffs, provisions and supply of rice and beans, respectively, said in separate interviews that the training had equipped them with the relevant skills to manage and expand their businesses.
They thanked the Nembe Kingdom Youth Congress and the Mac-Jim Foundation for the workshop and the N100,000 capital support, promising that they would make judicious use of the funds.
The Nembe Kingdom Youth President, Mr Albert Benibo, explained that the youth body embarked on the project in order to empower young female entrepreneurs of the area to have legitimate sources of livelihood instead of engaging in activities inimical to the environment.
Benibo, who noted that more training and empowerment packages would be carried out by the youth group, expressed appreciation to the Mac-Jim Foundation for support and partnership.