Ijaw professionals residing abroad under the auspices of the Ijaw Diaspora Council have expressed their readiness to partner with the Bayelsa State Education Development Trust Fund, on the execution of some projects in the state’s public schools.
The president of IDC, Professor Seledou Gold, who stated this in a Zoom conference with BEDTF, said the council was pleased to work with the Bayelsa agency to actualize its lofty goals, as government bureaucracies often hindered the process of attracting diaspora projects back home.
Seledou noted that Ijaw professionals cut across several countries of the world and were eager to contribute their quota to the development of their land.
He promised to use the IDC’s wide network to attract more development partners to the state as well as members’ commitment.
Also speaking, the vice-president of the IDC, Antonia Garner, said the group had the capacity of attracting more philanthropic organisations to Bayelsa, as it serves as the nexus for living in the United States of America, Europe and other continents of the world.
She lauded the BEDTF for articulating projects that would impact the lives of young Bayelsans, noting that it was standing in the gap for the state government, to provide grants for projects that would be used to better the state’s educational sector.
In her remark, the chairman of the IDC, Gesiere Brisibe-Dorgu, said with proper synergy the proposed projects were feasible, adding that the success of the proposed projects would bring fulfillment to the IDC, the state and Ijaw nation at large.
Speaking on water and sanitation issues, she urged the Bayelsagovernment to formulate laws that would prohibit open defecation and waste disposal in the river which remains a major source of potable water.
Brisibe-Dorgu noted that Ijaws were lagging behind in the comity of tribes in the nation, stressing that any effort geared towards tackling the problem should be given the needed attention.
The chairman of BEDTF, Professor Turner Isoun, applauded the IDC for embarking on numerous projects in several communities of the Ijaw nation.
Isoun, who was represented by Professor Francis Sikoki, said the quest for partnership with development partners, groups and philanthropic organisations was in line with the law establishing the BEDTF.
He said the challenges confronting the state education sector were enormous for any government to shoulder alone and requires collaboration from well-meaning bodies and organizations.
He maintained that the vocational trainings being proposed were fashioned according to the required skill sets for companies, industries and the labour market, adding that building, plumbing, carpentry, welding and fabrication for the oil and gas industry, tourism and hospitality are some identified skills needed to make youths to be meaningfully engaged to check social vices and unemployment.
In her presentation, the executive secretary of BEDTF, Alice Atuwo, said the proposed projects included the construction of science and technology laboratories, water sanitation and hygiene programmes, sick bays and capacity building for Technical, Vocational and Education Training programmes, which were designed to complement existing structures in the education sector.
While lauding the IDC for demonstrating genuine commitment to support the programmes of the BEDTF intended to improve the standard public schools in the state, she stated that the agency was committed to providing counterpart funding for projects to be sited in the schools.
Atuwo pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had further exposed the need for e-learning and the establishment of e-libraries for schools in remote communities in the state.
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