The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on the media to play a more active role in supporting Nigerian youth in exploring opportunities in the digital space to address the escalating unemployment rate.
During a two-day media dialogue organized by UNICEF in collaboration with the Lagos State Directorate of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Program Specialist Joannes Yimbesalu emphasized the need to raise awareness among young people about the potential benefits and avenues available to them in the digital realm.
The media dialogue was attended by journalists from various print, broadcast, and online platforms, as well as fresh graduates undergoing the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program and students from prominent universities such as the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, and Lagos State University, Ojo.
Yimbesalu highlighted that many young individuals, both in Nigeria and elsewhere, remain unaware of the abundant opportunities within the digital space that could help them thrive and become economically active. He also noted that policymakers often overlook the voices of youth, depriving them of access to government policies and programs that could significantly impact their lives.
Despite the resilience and innovation displayed by Nigerian youth, Yimbesalu stressed that many lack the necessary support, including funding and capacity development, to achieve their ambitions. He mentioned several UNICEF initiatives, such as the Youth Agency Marketplace (YOMA), U-Report, and Nigerian Learning Passport (NLP), which provide platforms for empowerment, skill development, employment opportunities, and enhanced teaching and learning experiences.
Yimbesalu urged the media to educate and inform young people about these digital platforms, highlighting their benefits and encouraging their utilization. By amplifying the voices of youth and attracting the attention of stakeholders, particularly the government, the media can drive necessary actions to address the concerns and needs of young Nigerians.
Adetola Adegboyega, the Director of the Lagos State Directorate of National Orientation Agency (NOA), emphasized that reducing youth unemployment to its minimum or even eradicating it entirely is possible if young people embrace opportunities in the digital space to create meaningful and legitimate paths for themselves.