In the weeks leading up to yesterday’s celebration of International Youth Day, IOM Niger with its partner Terre Solidali, organized five training sessions in three cities for close to 250 migrants and community members, delivered by young entrepreneurs from IOM’s “Initiatives for the Development of the Enterprise” (IDEE) project.
Launched in early 2018, IDEE is designed to curb irregular migration by encouraging youth to believe in themselves as self-employed businesspeople who can create employment for others.
Between 6-7 August, local entrepreneur Rachidatou Abdou organized a two-day training on homemade skincare products for more than 40 young girls and women at IOM’s transit center for migrant women in Niamey, as they waited for their return to their country of origin through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
Rachidatou, 29, decided to create her enterprise Foyer Annour Aicha in 2016 when she had a hard time finding a job in Niamey. Since she had always been passionate about cosmetics, Rachidatou opened a business selling homemade skincare products such as soaps, body lotions and perfumes.
Since becoming an IDEE beneficiary in January 2019, Rachidatou has improved the packaging of her products and her marketing skills, and delivered training sessions for women in Niger, Gabon, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Once back in their countries of origin, the women at the transit center can use their newly acquired skills as a starting point for an income-generating activity.
Last Thursday, more than 30 unaccompanied migrant children at IOM’s transit center in Niamey, received a one-day training on textile printing from Digital Mind, a local communications agency that is the product of three young entrepreneurs from Benin and Niger, with support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
Thanks to the IDEE project, they have been able to widen their client base and buy new printing machines. At the end of Thursday’s training, the migrants were able to print their own Youth Day t-shirts with a serigraphy machine, as a fun and creative way to end the day.
To refresh the children’s knowledge during summer holidays, on August 10, local enterprise Niger Digital delivered two training sessions on math and French for the 40 children enrolled in IOM’s summer art camp, in the neighborhood Karadjé, in the outskirts of Niamey.
Niger Digital is a start-up specializing in digital marketing, including the creation of websites and mobile applications, which focuses on current social issues and the development of IT tools that can respond to the needs and specificities of the local context.
The sessions were delivered using the newly developed and solar powered box School+. This innovative tool can be particularly useful in rural areas, where there is no electricity or internet connection to provide students with high quality interactive content. Thanks to the headsets provided by the enterprise, the children were also able to experience virtual reality for a few hours while learning about science, the human body and marine life.
“I took a lot of notes; it's important to listen and watch carefully,” said Mariama, 25, from The Gambia. “Once I get back home, I would like to make my own products and sell them – but only the best quality for my customers!”
Between 5-9 August, local start-up Sonete in Zinder organized a one-week training on photo and video editing for 26 young men and women with limited educational backgrounds. These newly acquired skills will help them obtain contracts in the local market, for events such as weddings or other celebrations.
In Tahoua, Sadit Technologie provided three weeks of computer trainings for 100 young people active in local associations.
“A lot of companies in the region require their employees to know Microsoft Word and Excel, but most young people in Tahoua are lacking these basic skills,” says, Ibrahim Maman Sani, founder of Sadit Technologie. “Through these trainings, the participants can not only gain valuable job skills, but also network and find new business opportunities.”
International Youth Day coincided with the religious holiday Tabaski (Aïd-El-Kebir) and was celebrated at IOM’s six transit centers across Niger with feasts, concerts, dance shows and debates.
“The five training sessions organized this month highlight this year’s theme for International Youth Day, Transforming Education,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “Youth today are our leaders of tomorrow, and thus it’s crucial to encourage them to acquire news skills or showcase the ones they have already.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).