The Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has empowered 20 youths drawn from the disputed oil rich communities of Nembe in Bayelsa and Kula in Rivers State, with life-sustaining skills as part of measures aimed at boosting capacity and increasing wealth portfolio in the Niger Delta.
The oil giant also helped the beneficiaries, who are mainly young women, to establish small scale businesses that would enable them cater for themselves and their families for life. Receiving their certificates of merit and business starter packs in Yenagoa, the beneficiaries of the LiveWIRE Business Enterprise Training for “Swamp 2” host communities of SPDC Eastern Operations were full of joy and excitement as they commended the company for engineering a turn-around in their lives.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, SPDC Manager, Government and Community Development Relations Bayelsa/Delta, Mr. Evans Krukrubo , said the scheme was designed in line with the company’s philosophy of contributing to economic empowerment and job creation for youths and women in its area of operation.
He said, “The LiveWIRE programme, which has trained over 5000 youth and women entrepreneurs since 2003, aims to provide access to entrepreneurship training, business development services as well as start-up capital to establish and expand youth-driven businesses.”
According to him, “the beneficiaries of the scheme have now created employment opportunities for thousands of youths across the region, thereby contributing to the reduction of youth unemployment in the region.”
Also speaking, Mr. Hope Nouka, Manager, Sustainable Development and Community Relations, described the programme as a critical step towards the qualitative empowerment of the youths in the region.
He urged the participants to utilize the skills acquired by putting starter packs given to them into good use to improve their individual lives and the advancement of their families and communities.
In his remarks, the state commissioner for Energy, Mr. Francis Ikio, thanked SPDC for empowering the youths and charged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity to excel and empower others desperate to acquire similar skills, own and manage their independent businesses.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Prekake Gede, the commissioner however noted that the oil giant cannot achieve sustainable development in the region without the active collaboration of other actors in development. He, therefore, charged other major players to fashion viable partnerships aimed at delivering on the needed social performance commitments to achieve the desired impact and sustainability.