Over 300 internally displaced persons and other women from Adamawa State, on Thursday graduated from the American University Nigeria, AUN’s six-week vocational training in recycling plastic bags.
The program was co-sponsored by the United Nations High Commissions for Refugees, UNHCR, the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, ASEMA and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.
The training enabled the participants produce household items and fashion accessories from discarded plastic bags.
The women were presented with certificates by a representative of the Adamawa State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Aliyu Bello.
The UNHCR representative in Nigeria, Angele Dikongue-Atangana, was represented by the head of sub-office Bauchi State, Cesar Tshilombo.
“Protection is not only a legal responsibility and an objective, it is an activity. Self-reliance empowers a person to be independent, a contributor to society, an agent of change and responsible citizen,” Mrs Dikongue-Atangana said.
“Today’s graduation ceremony is a proof that together we can make and together we can improve IDPs self-reliance, support the Government of Nigeria to address the root cause of the displacement in the northeast.”
Mrs. Dikongue-Atangana noted that conflict and displacement destroy livelihood mechanisms, weakens protection capacity and can lead to negative coping strategies.
She expressed optimism that the training of 300 IDPs and host community women on plastic bag recycling and knitting would generate income for and make the graduants self-reliant.
Mrs. Dikongue-Atangana thanked the government and people of Nigeria and the international community for their efforts to address the humanitarian needs and protection of IDPs.
To the women, she said, “It is a new life you will be starting,”
The project coordinator, Jennifer Che, lauded the women for their dedication to the program and urged them to continue to apply the skill learnt to better the lots of their families.
“You are very courageous women,” Mrs. Che said and commended them for coming out for the training in spite of the trauma they faced.
Mrs. Che also expressed gratitude to the UN for the initiative, while hoping that the IDPs would soon return to their communities to harness the skills they acquired to better their lives.
A beneficiary, Ladi Jacob, thanked God and the AUN for conceiving the program which she said has offered life skills to women within and outside the state.
The mother of five said the training has spurred her and other women to seek ways of turning some of the items discarded by the people into marketable products.
Josephine Alex, another beneficiary from Madagali Local Government Area, was happy for being a part of the training and thanked the AUN community for initiating the project.
“There are many of us who are still in Madagali without skill. We need to help them too,” she said.
By Cletus, Wadi, Zamiyat, Georgina, Aisha, and Precious