This year’s batch of trainees on Cosmetics and Household items production came from Kolo Creek Cluster. They all attended the compulsory general training on Business Management, but chose to specialise in Cosmetics. SACA provided the kits for them to practice what they had been taught, and they produced various items, showcasing some of them here.
Last year, SACA trained 43 persons from Okordia-Zarama Cluster in Entrepreneurship. This year, 50 more from Kolo Creek Cluster were trained. These general training sessions were on Business Management, including Startup, Personnel Management, Book Keeping and Marketing. Like last year's, the instructors are professionals from BIODEC at Odi.
One of the trainees in mobile phone’s repair receiving his starter kits from SACA’s staff. This trainee, Azibanason Sample, said SACA had opened his eyes to some hidden treasures and financial independence through this training. Recall that SACA had, last year, also got 2 other persons from Kalaba community in Okordia-Zarama trained and equipped in this business.
SACA has extremely meagre funding for the alternative livelihoods program. But, with much frugality, it has still offered several incentives to individuals and groups who did well in practicing their skills. One of them is building a snail pen for them. This is Ukamaka of SACA and the paramount ruler of Kalaba community inspecting one such pen built by SACA.
Mobile phones repair is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria at the moment, especially for low income earners and unemployed youths. This is obvious because almost everyone has a mobile phone or more. These devices breakdown from time to time and Nigerians don’t easily discard a piece of equipment that is broken. They would always want it fixed than shell out another N50,000 to N200,000 for a new one. Mobile phone technicians earn an average of of N5,000 daily (N150,000 monthly). So, SACA thought teaching some of the youths to repair mobile phones might help them regain their livelihoods and dignity, rather than bursting oil/gas pipelines.
Cosmetics are also in high demand, especially among the women folk. But besides cosmetics for beauty, there are also antiseptics and other disinfectants needed daily by every home. SACA gets some of the indigent women and youths trained on how to produce these items. The low cost of production, low-level logistics and consequently low time-to-market and low market price help the trainees to beat the competition especially in local communities where many people cannot afford imported products.
Snail farming is a business that many people undermine. Yet some individuals in Nigeria are smiling to the bank because they are quietly making a lot of money from it. Snails, according to experts from BIODEC and Phico Farms, are in high demand in large quantities in Europe, Asia and even in Africa, because of its value not only for consumption but also for manufacturing of various products. But they are relatively easy and cheap to rear, and don’t require a large area of land or polluted rivers. So, SACA trains some of its beneficiaries on it, as an alternative to their destroyed livelihoods.
Communities in the Niger Delta complain of deaths and mass migration of fishes and other aquatic lives from their waterways to distant parts of the world not polluted by oil spills. This, they say, has led to the loss of their traditional livelihoods which are predominantly fishing and farming. This fuels anger against the oil companies. But SACA does not believe that bursting pipelines to ‘punish’ oil companies for not listening to their complaints would solve the problems. This only worsens the situation as it destroys more livelihoods. But SACA trains the people on other ways of fishing such as new methods of hatching and fishing in artificial ponds. SACA currently does these in small scales, looking forward to when the oil companies themselves, especially Agip, would fulfil their promises of stepping in to scale up the alternative livelihoods programme for the impacted communities.
There is a weird saying in the Niger Delta that “Shell says development is in the pipeline [meaning "relax, development is coming"]. But we have waited for too long and it's like development is stuck inside the pipeline. So we have decided to go and cut the pipeline to bring out the development.” This aptly describes what they youths say they feel when an oil company worker or contractor comes to them suggesting that they go and hack a pipeline so they share the cleanup contract labour and make money. SACA campaigns against this, both actively and through alternative livelihoods, urging the companies to join this movement with full sincerity and commitment. To do that, SACA started training the victims on modern Business methods to enable them make the most of the practical trainings they receive also from SACA. This is one of such training workshops.Details
SACA celebrates the graduation of its trainees upon graduation. The staff often wish it was possible to fully equip the trainees. But due to paucity of funding, only a few kits are procured for some of them. But the trainees do appreciate SACA’s efforts in the first place, and thank Misean Cara and St. Patrick’s Missionary Society for thinking in that line. From the post-training surveys/feedbacks SACA has got from them, the trainees generally believe that the alternative livelihoods program works better for them than plain advocacy with oil companies who they say are difficult to bend. Click to see one of the reports on this.Details