The Lagos State Government has handed over Araromi Youth Centre at Gbagada to serve as Youth Hub for the USAID Youth-Powered Ecosystem to Advance Urban Adolescent Health (YPE4AH), also known as TEENSMATA.
YPE4AH, a five-year programme, May 2020 to May 2025, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and supported by the Lagos State Government seeks to improve the health and well-being of out-of-school youths, aged between 15 and 19 years old, in select urban slum communities of Lagos and Kano States. The project will focus on Life Skills, Leadership and Livelihoods.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Dr. Olugbemiga Aina, stated that the Youth Hub will provide an enabling environment for adolescents and youths to access credible information that will impact their lives and wellbeing in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
His words: “The adolescents and youths constitute about 65 per cent of our population and this is why we have partnered with YPE4AH to facilitate an ecosystem that will ensure their meaningful engagement. Our slogan in the Ministry is: Build the Youth, Build the Nation”.
Dr. Aina charged the traditional leaders and residents of Araromi Community to take ownership of the hub and encourage their youths to participate in the programme.
Also speaking at the event, the representative of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Director, Family Health and Nutrition, Dr. Folasade Oludara, described the project as a major step towards ensuring that the adolescents grow up to become total youths, admonishing those present to serve as advocates of the Hub among their peers.
The representative of the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board and Assistant Director, Reproductive Health and Planning, Dr. Veronica Iwayemi, highlighted adolescent health challenges in thematic areas such as Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Family Planning, affirming that the creation of the Hub will allow the adolescents and youths to access dedicated facilities like their counterparts in advanced climes.
The representative of the Country Director, DAI and Executive Director, Mrs. Juliet Ogedengbe advised adolescents to make good use of the Hub because the services provided would guarantee a better future as designed by DAI in partnership with the Government of Nigeria, Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI), Women Friendly Initiative (WFI), Yellow Brick Road (YBR) and Grassroots Soccer (GRS).
Celebrity Champion and Youth Advocate, Gbenga Adeyinka I, expressed great delight at the provision of the Hub and enjoined the youths to utilise the facility judiciously.
The representative of Baale Araromi and Eletu, Mr. Ope Odo, conveyed the community’s gratitude to the government and YPE4AH Partners for the Hub, pledging to sustain the project.
The Chief of Party (COP) and Coordinator of USAID YPE4AH, Mrs. Boladale Akin-Kolapo, was full of excitement at the inauguration of the Youth Hub, which she described as a milestone in the life of the programme.
According to her, the YPE4AH programme fosters an ecosystem that centres around Youth Hubs to provide safe spaces to access sexual and reproductive health, the right information and referrals. It also empowers young Nigerians to think meaningfully about their future and access the skills, social capital and resources needed to realise their aspirations.
Few beneficiaries of the programme – Sarah Akintubuwa, Yetunde Ajisegiri and Toyibat Bello – confirmed that it has helped to reverse their ignorance about reproductive health issues, boost their confidence to speak up and imparted knowledge about gender equality and financial management.
Meanwhile, a Programme Advisory Group, (PAG) comprising Government representatives and key stakeholders has been inaugurated for the programme with objectives to provide technical input, operational support, communication and advocacy functions towards ensuring successful implementation of the programme.
Working as partners on the project are Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) which include Youth and Social Development, Health, Information and Strategy, Local Government and Community Affairs and Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) among others.
Pix: (L-R) Director, Lagos State Family Health & Nutrition, Ministry of Health, Dr. Folasade Oludara; Executive Director, DAI, Judith Ogedengbe; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development (MYSD), Dr. Olugbemiga Aina; Chief of Party, YPE4AH, Boladale Akin-Kolapo; representative of MYSD, Rashidat Umar; and Director, Reproductive Health and Planning, Dr. Veronica Iwayemi at the hand over of Araromi Youth Centre to YPE4AH as Youth Hub. PHOTO: Adewale Akodu for YPE4AH.