The Parliament Diary


FUND-YES: Youths Off The Street Initiative unveils intervention platform for 250,000 youth empowerment

FUND-YES: Youths Off The Street Initiative unveils intervention platform for 250,000 youth empowerment

By Toffa Momoh, Abuja

In search of pragmatic solution to Nigeria’s high youth unemployment, it was a gathering of people from all works of life and spheres of human endeavor when Youths Off The Street Initiative (YOTSI), a Nigeria-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), officially unveils its “FUND-YES,” an intervention platform for financing poverty eradication which targets 250,000 youths and women.

Speaking at the event on Tuesday in Abuja, the founder and Chairman of YOTSI, a Philanthropist and Social Entrepreneur par excellence, Comrade Kennedy Iyere, said the goal of his organisation was to empower Nigerian youths to live above unemployment, idleness, poverty and the crimes associated with them.

The Humanitarian Activist, Comrade Iyere explained that the project was on a mission to help build a prosperous Nigeria where youths and women are active contributors to entrepreneurship and employers of labour.

The YOTSI Chairman, who noted that Nigerian youths lacked the funds to turn their skills and business ideas into realities, said, “Youths Off The Street FUND-YES is a transnational project operating through the platforms of philanthropy, charity, profit-generating business and financial investment in sourcing and raising funds to support Nigeria’s youth enterprise in agriculture, technology, food production and other key sectors of the economy”.

Iyere stressed the need to tackle Nigeria’s mass unemployment of youths, saying, “It is a time-bomb waiting to explode with damaging consequences”.

“Hunger everywhere, Government not measuring up to the expectations of the populace, hostility everywhere, economic frustration, neglect and abandonment of the young people; all of these things portends danger ahead.” Said the Philanthropist, adding that: “Youth restiveness, lack of economic opportunities, social and economic exclusion inform the drive for the creation of my empowerment initiative. FUND-YES is a joint enterprise, grant-making, equity grant funding, business loans assistance and impact investment programme that will create flexible avenues for youth and women to access enterprise financing.”

Speaking further on the projection of the impact, Comrade Iyere said: “Of course, it is transnational because it focuses on Africa and other nations.

The YOTSI founder who expressed worry that youth unemployment continued to plague the nation with a raise in education fees coupled with healthcare decadence, and food insecurity, reckoned that the country is in an ‘unacceptable situation.’

He decried the government’s failure to put in place some sort of commensurable palliative following the removal of subsidy on petroleum. This was as he further described the Federal Government palliative of N8,000 per household for 12.5 million as ridiculous.

On a final note, Comrade Iyere chronicled: “We need to librate ourselves by ourselves and that is why I created this intervention platform where young people will have flexible access to funding that will enable them to actually nurture their own businesses and secure their livelihoods, thereby giving them access to good life and to overcome poverty; thus, becoming the agent of their own development. We want to do this by starting with 250,000 youths in focus to be the beneficiaries.”

The first beneficiary, a female carpenter named Ndandok Limaro Thomas from Kaduna State got N1 million. According to the Philanthropist, this was to encourage more female carpenters and to create instant jobs and revenue, not just for self alone but for families and communities and by extension, the nation.

“We are not just helping her to create funds for herself but for us as well so that we can now channel those funds in further Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Beyond giving money, the organisation provide managerial mentorship for its teeming beneficiaries to know how to save up and be able to expand. A lot of people will make more money if they have people to give them flexible access to financing.” Comrade Iyere added.

In their keynote remarks, other dignitaries and state actors expressed their gratitude to Iyere for the patriotic spirit and the goodwill behind the creation of Youths Off The Street Initiative.

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