In 2021, the Ochima foundation, in collaboration with the Barrister Sam Otoboeze foundation (BSOF), empowered Nigerian youth entrepreneurs with seed grants ranging from 100,000 to 350,000 Naira to start or expand their existing small and medium enterprises through the Poverty alleviation training to Curb insecurity in Nigeria (PATCIN Project).
We began this Project with the intention of doing our part to alleviate poverty and curb insecurity in the country.
The Beneficiaries were chosen on merit after attending lectures and writing tests on subjects such as Social Vices & Insecurity in Nigeria, Drug abuse and its implications, The role of skill acquisition in curbing insecurity in Nigeria, business mindset & the role of women in curbing insecurity in Nigeria.
Because it is mandatory that we keep a close eye on the beneficiaries of the seed grants to ensure that it was put to good use, the monitoring and evaluation (M & E) team of the Barrister Sam Otoboeze foundation embarked on a Monitoring and Evaluation exercise to assess the extent to which the PATCIN Project met or did not meet its objectives.
Our first stop was in Azuba Bashayi, Nasarrawa State, to see Katsa Elijah Phillip, an ICT consultant and CEO of D’rising Sun Foundation from Nasarawa State.
Katsa finished third in the PATCIN Project training program and received a seed grant of 250,000 Naira.
According to Katsa Philip, he got into the ICT business because he saw an opportunity to share his ICT knowledge with others, particularly the youths in his community, while also earning a living.
So far, he has trained over 20 students – 15 of whom are students of Nasarrawa State University, Keffi – in computer skills, graphic design, and ICT/Cafe business management.
Katsa stated that he has received a lot of support and patronage from his community, and that he had to give a day off to some of his students because of our impending Monitoring & Evaluation visit.
He was grateful to the Barrister Sam Otoboeze Foundation for the seed grant, which enabled him to purchase printers to increase productivity in his business.
Our next stop on our Monitoring and Evaluation exercise trip was Lafia, Nasarawa state, to see Janet Akolo, a rice farmer and CEO, Janny Rice Mill from Nasarawa State.
Janet came in sixth place in the PATCIN Project training program and was awarded a seed grant of 100,000 Naira.
Janet walked us through the rice milling process. When the M & E team arrived, the winnowing process, which involves removing chaff from the rice grain, had already been completed.
According to Janet, after the winnowing process, the rice is washed and transferred to a drum filled with water for steaming (parboiling).
She explained that it is a lengthy process that includes re-washing the rice on the second day, steaming it a second time before sun drying it, and finally taking it to the mill for the final stages of processing.
She stated that she learned about the PATCIN Project from a friend, and she expressed her gratitude to the Barrister Sam Otoboeze Foundation and the Ochima Foundation for supporting her business and allowing her to empower other youths in her community through her rice milling business.
After our visit to Nasarawa state, we traveled to Lugbe, Abuja, on day two of our monitoring and evaluation exercise to meet Tise Bernard Gondina, a fashion designer and CEO of Notti couture from Plateau state.
Bernard came in first place in the PATCIN Project training program and received a seed grant of 350,000 Naira.
Bernard was in a good mood as he demonstrated how the seed grant had benefited him greatly.
He told us that the seed grant allowed him to purchase branded bags and labels for his company.
He also stated that he can now travel interstate to Aba, Abia state, to purchase raw materials for his business.
He thanked the Ochima Foundation and the Barrister Sam Otoboeze Foundation for the opportunity to be a beneficiary.
We paid a visit to Chinaecherem Ellyn Onyeforo, at Nurses Estate, Karu, Abuja, on the third day of our monitoring and evaluation exercise.
Chinaecherem Ellyn Onyeforo, a fashion designer and CEO of Blossom by Ellyn, is an Abia state indegene who came in second place in the PATCIN Project training program and received a seed grant of 300,000 Naira.
She stated that fashion design is something she is passionate about, and she has a lot to offer in terms of originality.
Essentially, she has carved a niche for herself by designing only female clothing, but she is open to expanding her brand to include the design of male clothing.
Ellyn stated that a lack of financial resources was a barrier to her starting a fashion design business after completing her NYSC.
She was able to acquire a brand new industrial sewing machine, a manual sewing machine, a mannequin, and a set of chairs thanks to the intervention of the Ochima foundation in collaboration with the Barrister Otoboeze foundation through the PATCIN Project.
She also mentioned that she has an apprentice whom she is currently coaching, and that she is open to collaborating with the Barrister Sam Otoboeze foundation in terms of skill acquisition training for those interested in pursuing a career in fashion design.
She lauded the PATCIN Project initiative and thanked the Ochima and Barrister Sam Otoboeze foundations.