Silver Lining for the Needy Initiative (SLNI), a nonprofit established in 2009, has focused on maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health in Nigeria. The team has designed and delivered programs, which have demonstrated unprecedented success in community mobilization, service delivery, and advocacy in Northern Nigeria. Since inception, the organization’s programs have survived with the power of a large volunteer network. Many participants started at the brink of hopelessness, unemployed, and unskilled but through SLNI they gained skills, built their capacity, and became employable. Many have gone onto attend University and complete their degrees. Those who were graduates are now employed as paid staff or exploring further studies.
In view of our initial successes with reaching out and improving lives, the SLNI is committed to advancing on these feats through the SLTA (Silver Lining Training Academy). It will be a place where youths 18-35 years old, both male and female, are equipped with diverse skills, such as metalwork, woodwork, and electrical installation that enables them to become economically free and help them provide values that improve their lives and society. The administrative structure of SLTA across the country shall work in a collaborative environment to create rich, engaged learning and field/practical experiences. The Academy shall increase trainees’ chances for success in their careers and general life skills, build vital community and state partnerships and invite young people through a competitive recruitment process to become trainees and volunteers in an intellectually diverse, active learning community. The Academy will provide a safe space and increase the volunteer culture in Nigeria.
The SLTA is born out of the passion to build a culture of volunteerism in Africa by providing a safe environment with access to reliable and affordable connectivity, develop human capital, promote rural community development, and provide a sustainable solution to the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
The Silver Lining Training Academy will have the capacity to:
Leverage, establish and maintain long-term, sustainable, mutually transformative partnerships across communities and states
Provide free and seamless support for trainees beyond those specified in the Academy curriculum; in areas such as offering career advice, financial advice, counseling, administrative skills, problem-solving and critical thinking skills etc.)
expand into new, relevant programming areas like personal development & connect systematically with related initiatives
It is no news that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria has risen to about 23.1% according to the NBS (Nigerian Bureau of Statistics). That is, the number of persons in the labor force increased from 85.1 million in the third quarter of 2017 to 90.5 million in the third quarter of 2018. As unsettling as the statistics are, it is a sad reality that Nigeria with her population of over 200 million people and about 165 accredited universities including Federal, state and private has not successfully created an inclusive program for youths into the work force.
The SLTA therefore, would not only be a driving force to tackling the realities on ground but also create a labor force that has the ability to deftly move into the workforce and also create employment opportunities through goal-driven vocational training and skills acquisition.
It is imperative at this juncture for a deep reflection into our future. The Nigerian youth by every means should not only be regarded as an age bracket but torch-bearers to light up our paths and as such the SLTA (Silver Lining Training Academy) should be a reference point for the Global Youth development index which has employment and opportunity of young people as one of its five critical domains. Providing access to digital literacy can not be overemphasised.
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