Nina Mbah – Global Youth Ambassador October 2020

Nina Quote Card Green
Green quote card of Nina Mbah

Global Youth Ambassadors, GYA of the month

Theirworld's work would not be possible without our network of nearly 1000 Global Youth Ambassadors from around the world. Each month, we highlight the work of one or two of them and the amazing work they do to get every child into school.

For Nina Mbah, education means an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills acquired to lead a successful life. 

Through the Nigerian Youth Chamber of Commerce (NYCC) and Developing Talents Initiative, she has focused on entrepreneurship education and employment skills training. Here, she trains young people and startups in employment and entrepreneurship skills to help young people and small/medium income businesses thrive. Her aim is to help reduce and prevent the adverse effects of covid-19 on businesses and work opportunities for young people.  

How did you get into entrepreneurship and employment skills training? How did you discover the need?

My peers were job hunting but I was focused on personal development training. Personal development programs seemed to be more valued than academic qualifications for businesses. A lot of people focus on their academics, thereby neglecting skills and experiences. You leave school, and the job you thought was waiting for you is not there. I started training my siblings and then more students any skills I thought they would use in the future. For me that is how the journey started.

How are the challenges different for young people living in urban or rural areas?

For most young people, after going to school, they don’t want to live in rural areas because they feel what they’ve learnt at school is not needed there. There are so many rural opportunities yet untapped but a lot of young people are not aware of them.

In urban areas, the resources to accommodate the population coming in is not enough: the major problem now is resources versus the people. The opportunities are there but the challenges are too.

What do you think businesses and companies should do to help young people develop their skills?

First of all, we need to start getting creative with how businesses and companies make their investment. We need to develop sustainable options like sponsoring organisations who focus on training youth skills. Businesses should also invest in venture capital firms that invest in young people’s businesses. These two options are not explored adequately yet.

What are the unique challenges that young people are facing in the time of covid?

So many businesses, institutions weren’t prepared for drastic change. We are used to gradual change. Most of those infrastructures were not in place to cope with covid-19. So many young people don’t even have access to a computer or to a phone that would help their businesses or even learn. Economy of the individual, economy of business, economy of the nation has been affected. Young people make up the workforce. So when we say job losses, we are talking about young people.

You mentioned helping to reduce and prevent the adverse effects of Covid-19 on business and work opportunities for young people - what does this look like? What steps can be taken?

Two major things that have to be put in check, economy and education, I don’t think we can easily separate these two any more. For most people going to school the goal is knowledge and economic benefit. It is already a challenge to get a job after school and covid is an added hardship. When it comes to education we need to look outside normal, traditional education systems to solve the present needs of the people.

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