First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has partnered with Enactus Challenge to organise a youth empowerment programme which brought together 35 tertiary institutions nationwide for a national competition that held in Lagos.
FCMB, in the past six years, has supported projects in various states including Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and Rivers States.
Through these projects, the bank has impacted over 900 women and young people and empowered them with viable skills that help them earn a living.
Enactus Challenge is a global initiative, established to harness and celebrate dexterity and novel ideas of young people especially students. During the competition, the students present their various initiatives and projects which they executed in their host communities, across the country. The participating students formed teams on their university campuses and applied business concepts to develop these outreach projects that improve quality of life and standard of living.
Addressing guests and participants at the competition, FCMB’s Group Head, Marketing and Communications, Mr. Ikechukwu Kalu, said the bank’s support and sponsorship of Enactus is part of its contribution towards encouraging students and youths to discover their potential, align their initiatives with visible projects which they implement, thereby contributing more to national development.
Ekiti State University, which made its seventh appearance at this year’s competition, won the trophy by presenting a mat weaving project which it tagged Eni-Riran. According to the team leader, Miss Dolapo Odupele, the project took her team members to Ogotun-Ekiti, a rural community near the university, where the people’s traditional business, mat-weaving, had been abandoned a long time ago due to poor patronage.
She disclosed that during the course of the project, her team discovered and used traditional mat making materials to produce hand bags and mobile phone pouches. This knowledge and awareness inspired the Ekiti team to engage the people of the community through training and engagement.
The leader of Ekiti State University team further explained that, “in the process we introduced modern ways of producing mat and other items. This resulted in increased mat production in the community. This new window of socio-economic empowerment of the people has led to a boost in both their income and their standard of living”.
FCMB’s 2014 projects, collectively themed, Project STEEL that is Skills That Empower and Enhance Lives aligned with the bank’s CSR pillar of economic empowerment. Adopted projects include a women empowerment programme for ‘Iru’ (locust beans) producers in Ondo State and a capacity building scheme for disadvantaged women in Eastern Nigeria.
The projects, targeted at assisting less privileged women in the society with the aim of breaking poverty cycles, are strong reinforcements of the bank’s philosophy which is perfectly articulated by the well known adage, ‘teach a man to fish and he will feed for life’.
Ekiti State University will represent Nigeria in the world cup which comes up in China in October this year.