From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Incentivized Pilot Sewing Schools’ Championship 2023 (SSCP23) has provided a platform for establishing and equipping sewing workshops in three selected schools in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Dr. Nimota Akambi, Board Chairperson of the organisation made available to Our Correspondent, the positive impact of the programme which is part of its empowerment scheme.
The SSCP23 was initiated by a non-governmental organisation, Ladi Memorial Foundation (LMF), supported and sponsored by UNESCO, FCT Education Secretariat and other relevant partners.
The essence of the Incentivised SSCP23 was to strengthening stakeholders and governments’ support for Vocational Education and Training (VET) through the establishment of workshops in schools.
Over 1000 youths majorly from Junior secondary schools(JSS), Senior secondary schools (SS) and out of school youths from ages 12 to 20 participated in Sewing competition across the six (6) Area Councils in the FCT at the second stage of the competition.
The third stage, tagged: “Championship Finals & Up-skilling Sewing Boot Camp”, was a 5-day fully residential workshop for the 54 best contestants from the Six FCT Area Councils which took place on April 23-29, 2023, where winners of various categories emerged.
Speaking at the award ceremony in Abuja, the Board Chairperson of NSSEC, Dr Nimota Akanbi, shared experience on skills development in other countries, saying skills remained the bedrock of sustainable economic growth.
He emphasised the need for the initiative to be sustained and promised that NSSEC would support scale up in 2024 as a national championship event for all 36 states and FCT.
Also speaking, the FCT Education Secretary Hon. Sani El-Katuzu appreciated all the supporting partners and LMF for the impactful initiative which had brought together all FCT Education Secretariat Departments.
He noted that the SSCP23 had kept everyone fully engaged over the past five months project implementation with the 5-Day championship finals and Up-skilling Sewing Boot Camp and Awards ceremony as climax.
El-Katuzu, who also received the Championship Award, noted that the SSCP23 was supported as a FCT budgetary activity in 2023 and assured of sustainable repeated implementation by the FCT.
El-Katuzu stressed that the SSCP23 would complement government efforts in the achievement of TVET actualization of job creation to significantly alleviate poverty in the society.
He called for more collaboration with the private sector to promote and complement government efforts in the achievement of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).
“This programme will be sustained to encourage the youth to use their leisure time wisely to learn marketable trades and skills that will provide economic support and lifelong educational development and poverty alleviation,” El-Katuzu stated.
On his part, the Secretary General, Nigerian National Commission (NATCOM) for UNESCO, Dr Olawale Olagunju, said the organisation was happy to be part of the project and hoped that more of such initiative would come on board to empower the youth.
According to him, when LMF first presented the concept note for the SSCP23 initiative he observed it was lofty, out of the box initiative with far reaching impactful benefits with rippling effects.
Hence NATCOM UNESCO buying into it and recommending it for UNESCO funding under the UNESCO 2022/2023 Participation Programme.
He said that the SSCP23 had delivered fully on the pledged outcome, stakeholder engagements, promised equipping of schools workshops and Student-preneurship equipment’s, TVET sensitization, advocacies, among others.
Olagunju applauded stakeholders support across various sectors and reiterated NSSEC view on the need for scale up in 2024 as a national event.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education (FME), Mr Andrew David Adejoh, received the SSCP23 Star Award for the FME and the SSCP23 Star Individual Partner Award.
Adejoh, who was represented by Mr Osinaike, Department of Science & Technical Education, FME, assured the LMF of federal government support to sustain the championship.
On his part, the Conservator General National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni, said the SSCP23 was a remarkable Initiative with impactful results, describing the initiator, ED LMF as been very resourceful.
Goni encouraged partners to sustain the gains of the SSCP23.
In her remarks, the LMF’s Executive Director, Mrs Rosemary Ojochenemi Osikoya, said three schools got over 30 sewing machines and workshop equipment.
According to her, schools that won Gold, Silver and Bronze in the championship got 15, 10 and 5 Sewing Machines respectively which include industrial, manual and special purpose sewing equipments
Osikoya added that Other categories include most Distinguished contestant Award, ThankGod Bitrus, 12 year old learner at LEA Narai primary school, who came overall 10th and got industrial sewing machine.
She said the Gold champion individual student-preneurship Prize was won by Susan Audu who completed Secondary school two years ago and went to learn sewing.
She added that Audu got one industrial sewing machine and one industrial weaving machine as championship gold prize, and one manual sewing machine as the overall best for AMAC area Council.
“We also have about 20 individuals that got sewing machines, so if you put all together, we have donated over 50 sewing machines and equipment to different schools and individuals”, Osikoya said.
She, however emphasised the need to sustain the sewing schools’ championship through the support of the relevant government agencies and partners to make it a yearly and national competition.
She emphasised the inter-sectoral participation to bridge the current gaps in policy implementation across all sectors.
She stressed the need for statutory government agencies such as NBTE, NMEC, NSSEC, UBEC, NABTEB and others to give more support to NGOs such as LMF to help achieve the promise of functional education with tangible and verifiable results which contribute to the economy as the SSCP23 had done to garment sector.
According to her, the role of NGOs in driving good practice and positive policy implementation and development cannot be overemphasized
“The National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC) has promised to give support for this to become a national competition in 2024.
“We want to encourage that every other persons support them. FCT have also promised they will continue with this; that is promising.”
“For sustainable impact, there should be buy in- state levels to emulate the FCT Education Secretariat which saw opportunity for public private partnership and drove that with commitment”, Osikoya said.
The executive director thanked the members of the SSCP23 Coordination Committee who were representatives of the Supporting Partners Organizations.
The overall best student, Susan Audu, said all the people put in their best, for that best dress to come out just after three hours, which showed that youths have skills and talents.