The total of Three Hundred and Seventy Three Participants were successfully trained for a six week skills acquisition and empowerment programme organized by a socio-political organization, Udom Grassroots Movement (UGM) in collaboration with Sunrise Development International Initiative (SDI) in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Sunrise Development International Initiative (SDI), a non-governmental organization (NGO) according to its Executive Director, Mr. Sunny Ntuenibok started in 2009 with a view to ameliorating the plight and suffering of the less privileged Nigerians through skills training and empowerment, which according to him, Six Thousand Six Hundred and Seventy Six (6,676) participants have so far been trained in various fields of endeavour in Rivers States and various Local Government across the state.
In Akwa Ibom State, SDI has successfully trained 600 participants in Ikot Abasi local Government Area in 2012; 800 in Eket LGA in 2013; 500 in Ikot Ekpene, 2013; 70 in Obot Akara LGA, 2014; 100 in Ikot Abasi LGA again, 2014; 320 in Mkpat Enin LGA, 2014; 632 Oron federal constituency 2014; 500 in Essien Udim, 2014; 344 in Abak LGA again, 2015, others include 218 participants in Etim Ekpo, 2015; 300 participants in Oruk Anam LGA, 2015; 203 in Onna, 2015; 255 in ika LGA again, 2015 and 512 in Ibesikpo Asutan LGA. 2016 the programme co-ordinator , Mr Ntuenibok in his passionate request, appeal on the government, corporate institutions and public spirited individuals to take advantage of the open training disposition of the organization to train youths for self-sustenance. He noted that the training programme is meant to “Promote hardwork, socio-economic development by empowering citizen with sense of belonging through various skills”.
In his address, the National President of Udom Grassroots movement (UGM), Comrade Ekpemerong Honesty expressed deep joy and delight over the what he described as a grand success and cooperation of both the training partners, the SDI, the participants as well as various supporters of the programme including the immediate past Chairman, Transition Committee of Itu Local Government Area, Mr Okon E Okon and his officers; the paramount Ruler of Itu Local Government Area HRM, Edidem Edet Akpan Inyang as well as his parents.
Comrade Ekpemerong Honesty who noted the challenges encountered in the course of organizing the said programme as many “people thought the programme was a scam, others said I was creating programme to get money from government, I also had the challenge of securing this council hall as venue for the training and also acquiring accommodation for the resource persons. Most people could not believe in him nor had faith in the programme thereby, funding and financial support was difficult and practically impossible. Given this therefore, the house to house and village to village campaign to mobilize participants became heinous task to do, but in all, God saw us through”.
Stating his drive for the skills acquisition training, Comrade Honesty, a graduate of Economics from the University of Uyo stated, “I ventured into skills acquisition out of passion and my desire to contribute positively to the emancipation of youths in Itu LGA and beyond in the overall development of Akwa Ibom State. Udom Grassroots Movement is a group named after His Excellency, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and as such must be a shining example to other groups in the state.
He said that despite being unemployed himself, he made the sacrifice to change the status of youths by investing in their future for a better tomorrow. Also as a group named after the Governor, “we must key into government policies and programmes, especially the job creation and poverty alleviation policy of the Udom Emmanuel Administration. An empowered youth he said is a liberated youth with potential to contribute to the economic advancement capacity building and service to humanity”, he noted.
The National President of UGM urged participants to group themselves into cooperative society based on skills acquired so as to be able to attract funding from government, banks and other financial institution to further their career since the provision of starter packs to them were impossible due to lack of funding and promised that UGM will continues to do same training for youths in the state on annual basis, at least for the next five years. He solicited support from government, cooperate organizations and public spirited individual to support the programme so he can take it to the 31 LGA of the state.
He also called on government at all levels, particularly the Akwa Ibom State government to come to the aid of the trainees by providing starter packs as this will help in contributing to the socio-economic development of the state, “I call on the State Government to come to the aid of these trainees through Udom Grassroots Movement by providing starter packs and financial assistance to encourage them start SMEs in Itu Local Government Area and other part of the state. I am confident that when these people are empowered, they will contribute to the IGR of Itu and the state”.
At the end of the six weeks Intensive Training, participants were trained and certified in the following areas: (i) Driving (ii) Computer application (iii) Fashion design (iv) catering (v) Cable TV installation (vi) Interior/Exterior Decoration (vii) Electrical Installation (viii) Production of liquid soap and insecticides (ix) Paint Production (x) Moulding of window pillars/balusters (xi) photography and video coverage (xii) Beads and Hat making (xiii) Floor and wall tiles fixing (xiv) plumbing and (xv) maintenance and repairs of diesel injector pump. Special features of the graduation ceremony include exhibition of various items produced by graduates from the skills acquisition training to include air fresheners, perfumes, assorted types of paints hands bags, beads, cloths, harts and head gears and presentation of a toilet facility tiled, plumbed and painted to the LG council.