By Auta Justina
Minister of Youth Development, Jamila Ibrahim, on Monday urged beneficiaries of the 2024 Grant Cycle of the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF) to maximise the 1.6 million dollars for national development.
Jamila gave the task at the unveiling of the NYFF grant, a collaborative effort spearheaded by LEAP Africa and funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Luminate Group.
According to her, the initiative, with a budget of six million dollars over five years, showed the unwavering commitment of the partners to invest in the leadership and potential of Nigerian youths.
“This fund is not just a financial commitment; it is a resounding vote of confidence in the leadership capabilities of our youths.
“It is rooted in the belief that by empowering our youths with the right resources and opportunities, we are shaping the architects of our nation’s medium and long-term developmental plans.
“The NYFF seeks to go beyond conventional approaches, focusing on outcome-driven policy engagements and inclusive resourcing that paves the way for meaningful contributions to the development of our beloved country,’’ she said.
The minister recalled that LEAP Africa in 2022 disbursed $600,000 grants to 130 individuals and organisations for their dedication to youth engagement, advocacy and the NYFF.
“This year, LEAP Africa’s commitment grows even stronger. The plan will double the impact by allocating $1.2 million to 160 grantees nationwide.
“This significant increase in funding is not merely a numerical expansion but a bold move to catalyse wave of change, encouraging our young citizens to play active roles in shaping the Nigeria we envisioned.
“We believe in your power to innovate, lead and drive the progress we all aspire to witness,’’ she said.
The minister explained that the initiative would equip youths with knowledge and skills in critical sectors, and the creation of youth-centric platforms to project the voice of the Nigerian youth.
“For us, the NYFF’s significance goes beyond financial support; it is about igniting a national conversation and inspiring collective action toward achieving a future where all Nigerians can thrive.
“The fund covers key sectors such as good governance, sustainable development and infrastructure, and addresses fundamental questions of unity, empathy and patriotism,” she stated.
Mr Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, stressed the need to harness the potentials of youths to achieve the transformational agenda of the government.
“These grants awarded to youths movements represents a strategic investment in the future of Nigeria.
“We are not just distributing funds, we are sowing the seed to a new era, where the voices of young Nigerians are amplified and their dreams are realised,” he said.
Also, Kehinde Ayeni, the Deputy Director, LEAP Africa, said: “For the first year we saw a lot of progress and growth and aspirations of young Nigerians, who responded to the fund and its purpose.
“Now, we are unveiling two categories out of three, which is the development and individual plan.
“We are giving out 1.2 million dollars over the next 12 months to almost 200 organisations or individuals,” she said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)