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23.03.2004 Regional News

70 apprentices in Bongo acquire skills under SIF package.

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Bongo (U/E), March 23, GNA- The Social Investment Fund (SIF) in partnership with the Bongo District Assembly has sponsored 70 young people to acquire various vocational skills under its Skill Development Programme at the cost of 36 million cedis.

At a ceremony to pass out the beneficiaries who received a two-year training in basket weaving, dressmaking, carpentry, hairdressing and masonry at Bongo at the weekend, the acting Upper East Regional Director of SIF, Mr. Wilson Benneh said poverty is prevalent in the country, because most people do not have the requisite skills to enable them acquire jobs to make a living.

He deplored the manner in which most unemployed youth migrate to urban areas in search of work when they could make life worth living with little support to acquire vocation, and said the programme basically is to enable young unemployed people acquire trade to earn a living.

Mr. Benneh said the programme was designed to encourage the beneficiaries to stay and work in the district, adding, "we don't want you to desert the district and send the skills we have supported you to acquire to benefit other districts elsewhere".

The Bongo District Chief Executive, Mr. Clement Apikiya observed that the district had a large population of unemployed youth, and said the opportunity given the beneficiaries to acquire skills has the potential of bringing jobs to the people in the district.

Mr. Apikiya said the SIF has provided a number of social amenities including infrastructure development, the construction of school buildings, provision of water and sanitation facilities, agriculture inputs for farmers and the skill development programme. He added that the assembly would compliment the efforts of the SIF in its quest to bring development to the area.

Mr. Apikiya indicated that the training would reduce the perennial migration of the people from the district to urban centres to look for jobs, which sometimes puts them into troubles, and expressed the hope that the skills acquired would divert the attention of the youth from engaging themselves in vices such as prostitution, drug abuse, and stealing.

He re-iterated government's commitment to ensure that pragmatic measures are put in place to reduce the level of unemployment in the area and urged the beneficiaries to put the skills acquired to good use. One of the trainees, Madam Janet Amurogo, who spoke on behalf of her colleagues commended the SIF and the District Assembly for the support and said the training they had received would make a positive impact on their lives.

The beneficiaries were presented with certificates. 23 March

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