Lagos, UNHCR to collaborate on empowering refugees through skills acquisition

Lagos State Ministry of Women Development and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has declared readiness to strengthen its collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to alleviate the plight of refugees by empowering them through its Skills Acquisition Centres in the five divisions of Lagos State.

The Honourable Commissioner for WAPA, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, spoke while welcoming the UNHCR’s delegation on a courtesy visit to her office in Alausa, Ikeja, reiterating that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration would continue to protect vulnerable residents and displaced persons as well as equip them with vocational skills towards financial independence.

She said: “Under the current leadership, Lagos has created various programmes and policies of inclusiveness, especially for vulnerable residents and refugees, in various areas, including education, health and social services, to ease their integration into the society as well as ensure their wellbeing”.

Mrs. Dada further explained that the 19 Skills Acquisition Centres across Lagos State offer various tuition-free training spanning six to 12 months, encouraging residents to take advantage of the programmes.

The Commissioner informed the delegation that refugees in the State can enroll for any skill acquisition training programme at any centre of choice.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation and Head of the Field Office, UNHCR Lagos, Mr. Ephraim Kabura, said that the plan to strengthen its collaboration with WAPA is part of the proposed strategies to reintegrate refugees into society and ensure that they feel secure in their new environments.

Ephraim applauded the Lagos State Government for its exemplary strides in the empowerment of women and youths, noting that the Ministry had previously trained some refugees who are now doing well economically.

“On behalf of my office, we are grateful for how responsive WAPA is to the plight of refugees in a bid to transform them from a state of dependence to financial contributors to the economy. So far, 29 refugees previously trained by WAPA are already doing well for themselves. We want a strengthened relationship with the Ministry for the benefit of other refugees”, he stated.

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