The Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR), together with Mastercard Foundation, has formally activated a research policy project targeted at aspirations and resilience of young Nigerians as it affects their livelihoods and employment opportunities prior to, during and after Covid-19 pandemic. The formal activation, which was tagged “Nigeria Utafiti Sera Inception Convening”, held in Ibadan, Nigeria with stakeholders drawn from government representatives, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, civic society groups, development agencies, academia, among others.
After introducing the objectives of the inception workshop to the invited stakeholders, the Project Principal Investigator, Dr Babatunde Ojebuyi, presented the methodological framework his research team had chosen to investigate the resilience, aspirations, livelihoods and employment opportunities of young men and women before, during and beyond the global pandemic in Nigeria. Being a programme for co-production of knowledge where the stakeholders could review the methodological framework together with the research team, Dr Ojebuyi appreciated the participants for being actively connected with the objectives of PASGR and Mastercard Foundation on young people.
In his message, the Executive Director of PASGR, Dr Anthony Mveyange, stressed that the Mastercard-funded project spans two and half years investigating different youth-related nuances in seven African countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal and Ghana. According to him, the project is “to generate evidence on how Covid-19 has affected youths and what youths want to do in terms of response to Covid-19 in Africa. He added, “The idea of the project is to try to bring out the voices of the youth during the pandemic and post-pandemic- how do they survive, how do they thrive, what do they need to thrive, and be able to deliver to achieve their aspirations.”
In his earlier remarks, PASGR’s Head of Research and Policy, Dr Martin Atela, expressed delight at the Nigerian team, their research approach as well as the active participation of the invited stakeholders across Nigeria. According to him, it is only through decolonisation of research methods that African researchers can practically solve many problems peculiar to Africa. It is also through decolonisation of methods that youth involvement in research uptake and their voices can speak to government policies, thereby empowering young men and women on their aspirations.
Also expressing his happiness at the timeliness and relevance of the workshop, the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde represented by his Special Assistant on Students’ Affairs, Honourable Victor Olojede, emphasized that with high population of young Nigerians, unity of purpose and youth-focused policies in action, young Nigerians will find it easier to reach their aspirations and attain better life. He then advocated a synergy between private and public organisations on regular capacity development for youths.
The representative of Mastercard Foundation in Nigeria, Professor Ayobami Ojebode of University of Ibadan, highlighted the plans of Mastercard Foundation to create 30 million jobs for young African men and women by 2030, and one of such approaches is the project on “Young women and men’s aspirations and resilience: Prospects for livelihoods, employment and accountability before, during and beyond Covid-19.” Professor Ojebode therefore congratulated the Dr-Ojebuyi-led research team and PASGR on a successful inception workshop.
Other speakers at the event were 8-man panelists, Dr Hannington Odame of Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE), Mrs Oluwabusolami Oluwajulugbe, Mrs Aminu Oluwafunmilayo, among others.