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Submitted by Tonbofa on
Onno, Your analysis on the post election violence is spot on. Unemployment amongst the Nigerian youth is one of our greatest problems in Nigeria as most of our crises can be traced to the youth being idle and as such tools for evil. In Bayelsa State, the Governor, His Excellency, Chief Timipre Sylva, rightly determined that the unemployment and general hopelessness felt by the Niger Delta youth was the cause for the security crisis the State has currently exited. In order to prevent the next generation from falling into the same problems, the Governor embraced a Child Development Accont (CDA) project (an offshoot from the Mexico Opportunidades project) introduced to the 36 Nigerian State Governors by the World Bank, Columbia University and New America Foundation (the Partners). The CDA is based on the asset theory which says when children know they have assets kept for them, they tend to perform better. The CDA has been successfully tested in Uganda and a similar model is being employed in Bayelsa State. In Bayelsa, the project is called the CDA Savings, Training and Rewarding Savers, (CDA STARS) and is piloting with just 1,000 (J.S.S.2/ Year 8) students from the 8 local government areas. The State Government is the sole sponsor of the project, with the Partners providing technical advise. The State Government will open bank accounts for these randomly selected students with an initial sum of money, hoping that the students will increase this initial sum by saving any money they get. Where the students so save, the Government will double their saved amount. The project has a financial education aspect, where the children will be taught financial responsibility in a child friendly manner by Lynx Nigeria (a Nigerian NGO). The project was launched in November 2010 and the accounts are currently being opened. The financial education commences this month. I am the co-ordinator of the project and I tell you that the response from the students, their parents and the Bayelsa people has been amazing. The Governor's goal is that when the students graduate from senior secondary school, they will have a nest they can use to pay their university tuition or start a business. This knowledge should encourage them to put in their best in school, aim high and struggle to attain their dreams. If we can influence the mindset of these young ones in such a positive manner, we will avoid the crises uninspiration amongst the youth has encouraged. Visit www.bayelsacdastars.com.ng for more on the project. Tonbofa