As part of their support to the government of Cameroon in cushioning the socioeconomic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP has trained 500 young people and women on entrepreneurship and job creation.
The trainees of the UNDP-sponsored project dubbed “to mitigate impacts of COVID-19” were drawn from the four zones of the country –Littoral, Centre, West and the North West/South West Regions following a competition launched October 2020.
Speaking Friday 12 February 2021 during an official ceremony to hand over the gifts to 100 of the beneficiaries from the Centre region retained for their performance and quality project, Alasssane Ba, Deputy UNDP Resident Representative said the project was designed as part of their response to assist government tackle the socioeconomic impacts of the health crisis in the country and to help empower those who were severely affected by the pandemic.
He explained that out the 500 selected, 300 were retained to benefit the gifts based on their performance and projects after undergoing 12 days training on project development, financial management, sales/marketing, leadership, packaging, networking, team building, and leadership among others to benefit the equipment to start their own businesses.
The items including agriculture, transport, construction, health equipment comprised grinding machines, motor cycles and tricycles, fertilisers, trucks, other farm inputs and agriculture equipment, health and sanitary kits, plastic water tanks, gas cookers, construction equipment among many others.
Alasssane said aside the project to assist youth and women, the UNDP has equally assisted government from the outbreak of the health crisis in sourcing funding from the World Bank, assistance through NGOs to vulnerable persons and those living with disabilities.
Centre Governor, Naseri Paul Bea who chaired the ceremony thanked the UNDP for assisting government to offer something to relief unemployed youth who had no jobs and nothing to live on.
“This one now has given the hope and this hope is that there should make good use of it. If they have given to 100 beneficiaries, know that each family has at least ten people and so we know the largess is going to benefit at least 1000 people,” he said.
He equally hailed the cooperation between UNDP and Cameroon and other international partners supporting government within the health crisis. Minister Marie Therese AbenaOndoauof Women’s Empowerment and the Family used the ceremony to laudthe initiative and called on recipients to make good use of the items and become their own bosses.
Worth noting is the fact that a total of 5 883 applications were received for the competition and after examination, 500 best files were retained including 151 in Yaounde, 150 in Douala, 99 in Bafoussam and 100 for the North West and South West regions.
The project was piloted in collaboration with the ministries Women’s Empowerment and Family and that of Youth Affairs and Civic Education and that of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Social Economy and Handicraft, a competition was launched to select and train 500 youth and women in four regions.
Prior to the Yaoundé ceremony, outstanding trainees from West and Littoral regions were also handed their equipment to support them start up their businesses. Those from the North West and South West regions will receive theirs as per the UNDP programme this February 19 in a ceremony to hold in Buea.