By Chima Osuji
A group of volunteers under the aegis of EduTrust Foundation has concluded a sensitization and skills acquisition programme for members of Iyana Shaare Community in Ifelodun Local Government Area, Kwara State.
The Project, also known as Grassroots Education and Empowerment Scheme (GEMS) kicked off on 15th August 2020, at the northcentral Nigerian community. Prior to the kick-off date, the GEMS team embarked on a consultation and familiarization visit to the Iyana Shaare community leader on 8th August 2020, to promote ownership and cooperation.
Excited at the opportunity, the Ba’ale of Iyana Shaare, Alhaji Mashood Amoo, happily mobilized women and youths in the community to participate in the project and also provided a venue for the project implementation at the community school.
The 4-day event which held from 15 August to 5 September, 2020, featured an orientation programme on Covid-19, while participants were taken through practical sessions on liquid soap making, hair cream making, beads making, production of disinfectants, and makeup.
In his remark, the initiator/co-ordinator of the grassroots-based initiative, Barrister Chima Osuji, stated that the project was one of the winners of the just concluded challenge organized by EduTrust Foundation in which winners were giving tokens to implement relevant projects for the education sector.
Speaking on the rationale behind the project, Chima stated that the project is intended to be an intervention scheme designed to bridge the wide gap created in the education sector as a result of the outbreak of Covid-19.
In his words: “GEMS is an intervention which promotes education, entrepreneurship and empowerment in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is both a shield and a sword used to shift mindsets, boost immunity and promote informed action to cushion the adverse effects of COVID-19; empower the rural poor especially women and youths with entrepreneurial skills and training; and facilitate access to seed capital for small business startup for selected beneficiaries”.
According to Mr. Osuji, the GEMS project has benefitted 120 women and youths in Iyana Shaare. In addition, the GEMS team has embarked on a fundraising exercise for shortlisted participants to start their own businesses.