REPORT OF DEVELOP FOR DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

 The emerging trends of the knowledge economy of the 21st Century places high demand on knowledge-based competence which translates to practical and technical efficiency. This was the major driver of the effort of AfriGrowth Foundation towards establishing a platform with focus on empowering young people in Nigeria with requisite skills in Enterprise Development and Project Cycle Management through an intensive training and internship engagement. This resulted in the establishment of Develop for Development Initiative (DDI) as sponsored by TY Danjuma Foundation (TYDF).

The project design had its basis on the baseline study conducted by AfriGrowth Foundation on the state of unemployment and unemployability among the Youth demographic segment which results primarily from the dysfunctional nature of the educational system where the young generation are so rigorously trained to become masters of the world that no longer exists. DDI is meant to be a remedial intervention for capacity building that will place its beneficiaries in the context of the 21st century where they will be more relevant to the demands and emerging trends of the business environment.

By its nature, DDI Cycle One (DDI-1) was designed to empower 100 young unemployed graduates in Nigeria with requisite skills in the areas of Enterprise Development and Project Cycle Management with a segment of Leadership and Employability Soft Skills Training cutting across. It was designed to run in 4 batches of 25 participants each for the purpose of effective engagement of participants.

Implementation of DDI-1 commenced with the preliminary activities of Stakeholder engagement and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) consultation for the purpose of developing a beneficiary responsive and best practice compliant system.

 

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Series of meetings were held with prospective institutional partners with an expected end of building a team of partners that would deliver services in the various project phases. As a result, partnership terms were agreed on with Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA), Eco-ways Nigeria Limited, Data Smith and Modern Business Solutions as major training providers.

The call for applications for batch one was publicized on various online and physical platforms, including the NYSC Orientation Camp, 19th September – 5th October 2011. The application timeline lasted for 3 weeks.
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There was a massive response to the call for applications as 112 young people applied for the program across the country and from five other countries including Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda and India.

The selection process was guided by a set of selection criteria developed by the project team in consultation with SMEs. A 4-member selection committee drawn from the civil society, academia, UN system and public sector was constituted to spearhead the selection process as to ensure objectivity and fairness. After passing through the selection process, 25 applicants emerged as the successful participants of the program with a wide coverage of the Geopolitical Zones in the country including North Central, North West, South-South, South West and South East. The selection process also reflected gender balance as there was a respective representation of 13 males and 12 females.

The training commenced on the 9th of November 2011 amidst some challenges associated with securing a good venue at a cost that could be borne by the Foundation considering exclusion of venue cost from the budget. This resulted in frequent change of venue (up to thrice) in the course of the three-week training.

 

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The participants were trained in Leadership and Employability Soft Skills and Basic Enterprise Development Skills as facilitated mainly by Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA), Guardians of the Nation International (GOTNI) and Modern Business Solutions. Post training assessment results recorded 80.5% and 82.6% average performance for Leadership and Employability Soft Skills and Basic Enterprise Development Skills respectively.

Preliminary activities for the next phase of the capacity building exercise, internship, commenced prior to the conclusion of the training as relevant institutions were sought and approached for internship space for the participants. On conclusion of the training, participants’ profiles were reviewed and used in attaching them to different institutions. Progress of participants was monitored through weekly activity reports submitted by them with the end-of-program performance appraisal completed by their institutional supervisors. The following were the host organizations for batch one internship program:

  1. Hotel Rosebud
  2. Modern Business Solutions
  3. Mudock Fashion
  4. Oladele Construction Company Ltd.
  5. Fatima Balarebe Foundation
  6. Aliyu Automobile Engineering Enterprise
  7. Icentra and
  8. Damos Integrated Farms

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 The participants were taken through two weeks of internship experience where they were exposed to the practical application of the Leadership and Enterprise Development Skills they were taught during the training phase.

The activities of the first batch constituted the framework on which most of the activities in the subsequent batches were based. By design, the program was sustained by a set of iterative activities most of which were recycled in successive batches. However, certain unique approaches were employed in unique circumstances, taking into consideration the peculiar situation.

The second batch was focused on capacity building in the areas of Project Cycle Management and Leadership/ Employability soft skills. The change of subject matter required corresponding adjustment in the team of resource persons/ institutions. To ensure proper delivery of training, key competence assessment was conducted on shortlisted institutions and 4 out of the shortlisted were selected including:

  1. Eco-Ways Nigeria Ltd
  2. Datasmith
  3. Modern Business Solutions and
  4. Guardians of the Nation International

From the 13th to 24th of February 2012, meetings and consultations were held with 17 development focused institutions to discuss partnership for the internship exercise. 10 out of the 17 institutions were enlisted as partners based on their institutional competence areas and participants’ needs. Organizations selected were:

  1. Management Strategies for Africa
  2. Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA)
  3. African Women and Youth Organization (AWYO)
  4. Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development
  5. Fatima Balerebe Foundation
  6. Youth Empowerment Education Initiative
  7. Global Educators
  8. Eco-Ways Nig. Ltd
  9. Modern Business Solutions
  10. Eden Solutions and Resources

On selection of participants, there was a reshuffle of the already constituted selection committee to involve new hands from the various sectors of relevance. 73 applications were received from across the six Geopolitical Zones and reviewed by the selection committee based on the already existing selection criteria. 25 applicants were drawn from the six Geopolitical Zones were selected out of which 10 were males and 15 females.

The three-week training phase was an intensive engagement on the principles and practice of Project Cycle Management, Leadership and Employability Soft Skills. The training was guided by participant-friendly training timetable and manuals developed in consortium with the resource persons. The classes were quite interactive as the participants were closely engaged and exposed to practical cases of relevance.

 

 

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The three-week internship exercise was another platform for direct involvement of the participants in real life practice of the principles they were exposed to within organized settings. The participants at their various organizations of internship were attached to supervisors who directly mentored them through the process so as to ensure they come out stronger in practical terms.

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The result was remarkable as some of the participants got instant job offers; subsequently many more of them launched into their private endeavors while some others already involved in jobs had their delivery capacity scaled up.

The participants were successfully graduated and enrolled into AGF Alumni Association as a system for impact sustainability marking the end of batch two.

 

 

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The same iterative process was sustained for the implementation of the third and fourth batches of the program, however not without some peculiar circumstances and outcomes. The team of facilitators for Enterprise Development and Project Cycle Management was maintained for batches three and four while slight reshuffling occurred in the team of internship organizations. In batch 3, the following organizations made the list of partnering organizations for internship:

  1. Icentra
  2. Hatlab Ice Cream
  3. Hope Eden Farms
  4. Baldon Clothier
  5. Christabelles Ltd
  6. Hotel Rosebud
  7. Modern Business Solutions and
  8. Eden Solutions and Resources

Meanwhile, the Foundation had the following as internship partners in batch 4:

  1. African Leadership magazine
  2. Digital Peers International
  3. Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development
  4. Eco-Ways Nigeria Limited
  5. Guardians of the Nation International
  6. Modern Business Solutions
  7. Eden Solutions and Resources
  8. Almond Glory Nigeria Limited
  9. Lawyers Without Boarders
  10. Data Smith
  11. Management Strategies for Africa
  12. Young Stars Foundation
  13. Monitoring and Evaluation Management Services II

Training for batches 3 and 4 took place 23rd June to 8th August and 31st October – 16th November 2012 respectively while internship exercise took place 13th – 31st August and 19th November – 6th December 2012 respectively for 3rd and 4th batches. 25 participants completing the program for batches 3 and 4 were graduated on 4th September and 7th December 2012 respectively.

MOST IMPORTANT RESULTS

  • Efficient delivery of DDI-1 marked a good start for management of major donor-funded projects in AfriGrowth Foundation
  • 100 young graduates from across the six Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria had the opportunity of building their capacity in Enterprise Development, Project Management and Leadership and Employability Soft Skills through practical exposure to the relevant subject matters
  • Object and standard selection process adopted in the selection of participants for the program
  • A good number of the participants have already advanced their acquired skills to starting up their own enterprises while a good percentage of the others are already gainfully employed both in local and international organizations
  • AGF through the project has built a network of development partners for tutorial delivery and internship programs that will be of benefit to the Foundation in future
  • The Foundation through DDI-1 has built a stronger Alumni body that will serve as a platform for cohesion and impact sustainability among the mentees of the Foundation.

WHAT CONTRIBUTED TO SUCCESS

  • Well motivated and competent project team
  • Effective cooperation from TY Danjuma Foundation Programs unit
  • Standardised planning and implementation procedures
  • Standard and objective measures in selection of facilitating institutions and participants
  • A resource base of committed development partner institutions for tutorial delivery and internship
  • Cooperation and commitment on the side of the participants

 

SHORT FALLS

  • Untimely release of quarterly disbursement thereby delaying planned activities for the quarter
  • Unavailability of accommodation arrangements for participants coming from outside Abuja thereby resulting in limited concentration among affected participants
  • A few of the partner institutions for internship were not committed as required to the success of the program
  • The duration of the internship exercised was reported by both participants and internship organizations as being too short for significant result

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The implementation of such projects in the future will run more smoothly if TYDF will remain committed to releasing quarterly disbursements within schedule
  • Better results will be achieved if considerations are made for providing accommodation for participants coming from outside Abuja and have no accommodation alternatives in future cycles of the program
  • AGF will achieve better results if it improves on the internship monitoring process for better performance accountability
  • The duration of the internship exercise should be extended to achieve better result.

 

 

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