ABOUT Ifaki Youth Empowerment Fund (IYEFUND) – By Sesan Obe, IYEFUND BOT Chair

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Ifaki Youths Empowerment Fund (IYEFUND) is a non-governmental organization, a brainchild of the Ifaki Day 2014 Planning Committee of which I was the chairman.
It is a remarkable new initiative to increase capacity building, entrepreneurship and education for Ifaki youths and adolescents.

IYEFUND was formed with the mission to Inspire, empower and mentor Ifaki young people towards realizing their full potential.
We were very glad to announce this initiative in 2014 in partnership with the Ifaki Progressives Union (IPU) to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Ifaki Day.
This initiative will continue to be one of the most viable organizations and we commend everyone’s dedication to the humanitarian work and anticipated support.

It is a dawning reality that government cannot cater for the need of all, especially the larger population of the young people.
Today, we are experiencing the fastest world population growth in history. Approximately, 1.8 billion people are between the ages of 15 and 24, and the number of people under the age of 15 is even higher. The majority of these under-15 youths are concentrated in developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa; though they are frequently referred to as “future leaders” in whichever region they live, access to quality higher education is often difficult for them. Those who graduate from universities struggle to find jobs; economic crises “recessions” are making it difficult for young people across the world to contribute their quota to their communities.

In today’s world, the youth is facing the most of hardships and lack of belongingness within the society.
Thus, there is special need for new impetus to be given to the design and implementation of youth policies and programs at all levels, livelihood of future generations.
The aforesaid and more gave us reasons to work out modalities to better the lives of our youth, thereby giving birth to IYEFUND.

IYEFUND was officially registered in 2018 with the Corporate Affairs Commission as an incorporated trustees, with its organizational structures.

The main objectives of IYEFUND are to arrange soft grants/loans to empower our youths who have business acumen and interested in entrepreneurship but no fund to execute their ideas. Also, to have a data-base of Ifaki youths as they will be attached to mentors to help develop and guide them through life.

At IYEFUND, we believe our young people have the potential to lead if given the opportunity, and the leadership skills can be developed through both formal and informal processes. Even more importantly, we believe that leadership is about developing and inspiring the next generation. The project seeks to inculcate the social norms and values in delinquent youth group by developing a sense of responsibility and good conduct amongst them. The organization here is focusing on the most underprivileged youth, surviving on meagre of resources and constantly seeking out a purpose for their life. Through this partnership, we have a great transformative promise which in turn leads to lasting impact across generations.

IYEFUND will work towards enhancing the chance of employability as well as promote self-employment and entrepreneurship amongst them. The youth empowerment initiative is mutually agreed plan of implementing agency, community members and other stakeholders. The project is highly beneficial not only for the youth of the community but for the community as a whole. It envisages the development in the community which the inhabitants had been dreaming of since the time of our settlement here. The project has the capacity to turn the non- productive youth of the community into the responsible citizens who will work towards holistic development of himself as well as his society. IYEFUND initiative will empower our youth through Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and give them the confidence to amplify their own voices and increase their economic and civic participation. Today we are taking our first step.

This initiative took the first step on 25 May 2019 when all the opinion leaders, crème-de-la-crème and youths of Ifaki gathered at the Khadilat Event Centre, Ifaki-Ekiti to formally inaugurate the initiative, and disburse funds to eleven (11) successful applicants who have scaled the rigorous screening of the committee set up, peopled with seasoned administrators and business personalities.

The beneficiaries have undergone a training and sensitization program with the Premier Hub, an innovation hub set up to give Nigerian entrepreneurs the kind of knowledge and exposure they need to scale their businesses from one generation to other. The training held at their Innovation Center located in Akure, Ondo State on 12 and 13 June 2019.
The aim IYEFUND seeks to achieve by embarking on this training for all its beneficiaries is to further broaden the horizon and approach of the beneficiaries to entrepreneurship and business management, and the initiative to record great success rate.

The initiative has since disbursed the funds accrued to the beneficiaries to kicks start their various businesses.

On sustainability of this laudable initiative, we have been approaching well-meaning, up and doing Ifaki sons and daughters who will be IYEFUND PARTNERS to help through mentoring, funding, contributing ideas to sustain this noble idea.
IYEFUND wants to be making the sum of ₦10m (Ten Million Naira) available annually to be disbursed biannually to duly applied Ifaki youths in form of a reinvestment loan, interest free. Potential beneficiaries seeking to assess the fund will have to strictly follow the procedures set out in the organization’s constitution and refund as and when due so as to allow others to benefit, and the said beneficiaries will also be good ambassadors and committed to the development strides of the initiative so as to keep waxing stronger.

Our collective dream is to see this initiative sustained in the next decade which will ensure that Ifaki youths are better positioned among their peers in Ekiti State, and in the county at large.
We are not unaware of the fact that accountability is key in any organization. We have promised to maintain frugality and fidelity in handling the fund. We also promised the audit of the fund periodically, which will always be made public.

However, on a final note, we call on stakeholders, opinion leaders, and the likes, to emulate and inculcate this kind of initiative in their various towns and villages, with a view to better the lots of their young people. Ekiti youths across boards need to be empowered, inspired and financially free. It is undoubtedly a dawn reality that government cannot cater for the need of all, hence the need for them to know that politicians they follow about during electioneering cannot be their messiahs. The time to curb Ekiti youths being “political jobbers” is now, which will make our values to be truly restored through this kind of gesture.

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