Nigerian youth are creating a brighter future

Victor Uzodife had put his ambitions of owning a flourishing poultry farm on hold when he realized he didn’t have the required business or financial skills. Then he heard about Cuso International’s YouLead project, and it changed the course of his life.

Uzodife is one of more than 9,000 youth who have received entrepreneurship training through Cuso International’s YouLead project in Cross River State, Nigeria. With help from YouLead, Uzodife and four other farmers were able to secure a micro-finance loan to rent the land needed to start the Cuso Eagles Heaven Cooperative.

Through the project, Cuso International volunteers travel to Nigeria to teach the concepts, principles, and methodologies of business development and what it takes to be successful. Since taking the training, Uzodife said business has been great.

“I started my business with 250 chickens and reared them for two months,” said Uzodife, who now has a flock of more than 600 birds. “With the profit I made, I was able to start paying back my loan.”

Cuso International CEO Glenn Mifflin and Jacques Rajotte, Senior Director of International Programs, recently visited Cross River State to see the programs in action and meet with the region’s Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu.

The deputy governor said the impact of Cuso International’s support and assistance has been felt over many decades. He spoke about Cuso International volunteers who taught at his school in the 1960s, and how he remembers he always looked forward to their arrival and was happy when they extended their placement.

The YouLead project has resulted in the creation of more than 3,000 micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses by youth entrepreneurs, leading to reduced unemployment. For Rajotte, it’s all about ensuring the young generation has the tools and skills to succeed.

“I’m very happy to see the continued success of our YouLead program and to meet some of the amazing young entrepreneurs who are doing great things in their communities,” he said. “These youths are leaders. They are enthusiastic, passionate and an inspiration to future entrepreneurs.”