Employment is essential to every adult who have needs and responsibility to cater for. It is what makes one self-reliant and help reduce or completely eradicate poverty in the society.
Skill acquisition is the art of learning to do something in order to earn a living and or to survive. There are different types of professionals e.g. fine artists, mechanics, potters, vulcanizers, etc. from whom one can learn trades in order to earn a living. Learning to read and write is a skill you acquire at school.
Unemployment rate in Nigeria has increased to 33.30 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 from 27.10 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, according to the National Bureau for Statistics.
The unemployment rate refers to the share of the workforce that is currently not working but is actively searching for work. It does not include the economically inactive population, such as the long-term unemployed, those aged fewer than 15 years or retired persons.
It is in this vain that a group of entrepreneurs from the northern part of Nigeria, named Entrepreneurs Connect (EC) organized and conducted skill acquisition training for over 1,500 women across Nigeria using the WhatsApp social media platform.
The co-founder of the group, Mrs Inna Mamman-Bukar, said the training was organised to arrest the high number of when and young ladies sitting idle at home doing nothing due to either lack of skills, motivation or poor finance.
“Well, the initial or rather main purpose of the group was to support each other’s business by patronizing, sharing and creating awareness of other business vendors.
“So along the line, we were discussing in the group of how a lot of Arewa women are into business nowadays, yet a lot are sitting idle at home doing nothing due to one reason or the other, maybe due to financial constraints, maybe lack of inspirations and motivations.
“One of our members suggested, why don’t we organize a free online skills acquisition programme for women, at least the little we give might make a very big positive impact in someone’s life.
“We all agreed to teach what we know and decided to teach 16 different skills such as incense production, baking, make-up, soap and detergent production, skin care products among others across the nation.
“Many women are interested in running or starting a business, but lack the basic knowledge of business and online marketing as well, while others are already doing the business but lack motivation and inspiration to carry on.
“We believe that skill acquisition will help a lot, and bring out the hidden talent in them and we executed the plan which has recorded success as many have started running their businesses with the little they have”, she said.
Tackling the challenges of participants access to the programme
Mrs Mamman-Bukar, who reside in Abuja and an incense and perfume dealer, said the challenges recorded from the training was from the participants as most of them complain of lack of capital to start a business.
She said that others complained of available data to download video tutorial for the class, adding that text, images and videos were used to teach and illustrate a given skill.
“Despite the fact that we have non capital intensive skills like graphic design, but you know there are some certain businesses that are not environment friendly, there are businesses you need to run them based on your audience.
“Initially we planned to train 500 women, but we ended up training 1500, which is a huge success to all EC members, and a lot among these women have already started running their businesses from the skills they learned, others are motivated, inspired.
“The cooperation we got from the participants, the prayers and well wishes is just overwhelming. What success could be better than this to the entire members of Entrepreneurs Connect, because it gives us joy to see others benefitting from us for free.
What criteria were taken by the group to select participant?
The training was done online using the WhatsApp social media app with links of the group broadcasted for any interested female to join.
” The criteria was very simple, we just ask any interested woman from our contact to repost the flyers containing details of the training, so as to give room to other interested women to join.
“We adopted the one to tell 10 approach, and before you know it, it cut across, went viral and a lot joined, and even after the training, people are still joining due to the valuable trainings they received at no cost.
” Even though the training is free, a token of N300 is paid for certificate ; which is optional for any interested participant”, she said.
Some Participants share their experiences
Shamsiyyah Yunusa, a married woman residing in Gombe state, stated that she had learnt how to produce local cologne known as Humra along with making other perfumes and incense.
“Immediately after the online class, I went to the market and bought N4,500 worth items for the cologne production just for a start as well as to see the outcome.
” Since I live in a suburb area where people prefer cheap things, I decided to sell the Humra at N200 per small bottle and to my surprise I sold half the products in few days.
Another beneficiary, Nafisa Sani-Daneji, from Kaduna state, said she joined the training group because it was free, saying she had been looking for such opportunities to learn a skill as she was a student who cannot afford paid trainings.
“I was viewing a friend’s status on WhatsApp one day and I saw a flyer stating skill acquisition for free, so I clicked the link which directed me to the group.
” We were taught many skills but I only tried the budget friendly and locally made perfumed body cream known as Kulleccham in which the outcome was great; I sold two creams in a day.
” I plan to add body mist and other locally made perfumes as the business prosper; I appreciate the EC group for this selfless service in empowering women and I pray God uplift them more.
“Skill acquisition training like this would assist greatly in reducing poverty and dependency on spouse among women because many women are tired of being idle, but have no idea of what business to engage in,” she said.
Zainab Haruna, another resident of Gombe and a student, said she had learnt graphic design from the group, adding that it was a skill that does not require much capital.
” With a smart phone and data, I was able to design invitation cards for friends and family where I charged them N1,500 to N2,000; I hope to improve in the skill so that I can start earning high,” she said.
On her part, Fatima Gambo, a married woman residing in Azare, Bauchi state, said she had gained knowledge and experience with regards to business, marketing and sales in the group.
“We were trained on different skills but I chose to venture into skincare business due to the passion I have for skincare; now I know how to produce different skin product.
“I thank God, I have made N12,000 sales in few days and I am getting positive feedback from my first customers who tried the product.
” I started with N30,000 only and I hope to expand on the business and teach other women interested in skincare products”, she said.
Making the programme a sustainable point for the women
”We are looking at a bigger and better entrepreneurs connect in the nearest future,” Mrs Bukar-Mamman said.
“We are planning to conduct the training twice a year, that is after every six months. Because, after the success of the first training, we got to realize that a lot of women in Nigeria, particularly Northern Nigeria, need to be empowered and enlightened on the importance of been financially independent.
“While some just need emotional support, others still need financial support which is the key to starting any business.
“Already some foreign partners are interested in partnering with us in this our initiative. We are planning on training as many women as we can in the future.
” Not only train them, but also support them emotionally and financially if need be. Even as of now, the group is still actively engaging the participants with so many activities,” she said.