NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORP MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALs ADVOCACY PROJECT: WAR AGAINST POVERTY PROGRAMME

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Tier of Government: 
Federal
Budget Sub-Sector: 
Youth Development
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NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORP MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALs ADVOCACY PROJECT: WAR AGAINST POVERTY PROGRAMME

War Against Poverty (WAP) is an initiative of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) with support from the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs) geared toward achieving goal 1 of the MDGs leveraging on agro-enterprises.  WAP which was later introduced by the NYSC MDGs Advocacy Project (NYSC MAP) scheme is an economic empowerment programme which focuses on MDG 1 and targets the Corps members. It seeks to equip them with agro-enterprise skills and empower them with interest free loans to generate employment, eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The areas include banana sucker multiplication, Fish farming, Animal husbandry, Poultry production, Grass-cutter rearing, Snailery, and Bee keeping. The programme which was launched on October, 2009 is open to all serving Corps members.

 

Prospective beneficiaries are chosen based on the selection criteria. Applicants are to obtain a Form of Intent from the WAP Schedules officers or from the NYSC official website; www.nysccds.org fill the form and submit either through the schedule officer or to the email address on the form. The loan facility ranges from ₦200,000 to ₦300,000 (depending on enterprise) with zero per cent interest charge having a repayment period of 30 months with first 6 months of moratorium. The amount loaned to beneficiaries was formerly between ₦150,000 to ₦250,000. The only collateral required is the Certificate of National service to be held in trust. However, a Letter of Reference would be given to enable beneficiaries sought opportunities. Prospective beneficiaries would be required to fill a Memorandum of Understanding to be guarantee by two guarantors of not less than grade level 12 officers in Federal, state and local government civil service or the equivalent in the military, Para- military or a registered member of a government approved professional body with ten (10) years of working experience. Selected beneficiaries would be trained by experts drawn from Government agencies, Research institutions and private consultants on the listed areas of agro-enterprises provided for by the programme. The training exposes beneficiaries to entrepreneurial skills.  Beneficiaries are required to train at least 5 beneficiaries of the host community, preferably youths. 

 

How Far, So Far

From inception till date, the programme has successful trained a total of 3811. Out of this figure, 2691 has been empowered with loan facility amounting to ₦629,700,000. In 2011, 7 beneficiaries of WAP were among the young Nigerians selected for the Young Entrepreneur Programme (YEP) and were trained in USA by Barry University. The training was a partnership between the Barry University’s Andreas School of Business and the Miami-based Africa-Diaspora non-profit, ADPED, Inc. They attended advanced entrepreneurship education at Dr Inez Andreas School of Business, Miami, Florida, USA. These young entrepreneurs were later furnished with loan of ₦5 million by National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) processed by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

 

The sum of ₦676,938,597 was appropriated to the War Against Poverty programme for 2012 fiscal year as captured by the National budget.

 

Some Challenges confronting the War Against Poverty programme

The programme is however not without challenges. It was observed that the Letter of Reference given to beneficiaries has been rejected by some employers insisting on the Certificate of National service during job interviews.

 

The delay in cash backing the programme by the government owing to the budgeting process has cause delays in loan disbursement to selected beneficiaries in years that these occurred.

This delay has at some point cause anxiety and cast doubt in the minds of some of the beneficiaries.

 

While the policy stand of the programme ensures that selected beneficiaries are trained and granted loan facility, others are of the opinion that the training should be mandatory for beneficiaries while the loan be an option and not compulsory.

 

The envelope appropriated by the National Budget to the programme fall short of the numbers of applications received. The amount allotted to the programme is not enough to provide for the number of Corps members applying to be advance the loan facility to enable them take advantage of the agro-businesses toward contributing to food security in the country.

 

Steps taking by NYSC So Far

 

Learning from experience, the NYSC has taking some steps to address some of the identified challenges in the following ways:

Develop a WAP ICT tool to facilitate communication between NYSC WAP management and beneficiaries and prospective beneficiaries:

 

WEBSITE: www.nysccds.org

FACEBOOK MAIN PAGE: www.facebook.com/nysccds

FACEBOOK WAP GROUP: NYSCMDGsWAP Project

 

MDGs Advocacy Project Facilitators help to sensitize corps members who are interested in the programme during the orientation camp training. Also, the state schedule officers of the Programme are available to provide further information on the programme.

Beneficiaries are given the concession to situate their projects anywhere they can find facilities that support the success of the business. They are given the leverage to site their business in places other than the place of primary assignment where necessary. This concession is provided for in order to avoid losses owing to inadequate facilities in their places of primary assignment. 

 

Access to the Form of Intent has been enhanced by the electronic copy that can be down loaded from the official website. Collection of the Form of Intent from the schedule officer of WAP is free. The form collected from the schedule officer is to be return to the officer after been filled for onward transmission to the headquarters for processing.  

 

 

 By:

 

EJEWULE, Emmanuel

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