Lagos Nigeria: August 2, 2017 – Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI) has launched the 5th edition of its annual summer holiday camps, tagged Skillz Holiday Camp (SHC); which offers adolescents in disadvantaged communities an opportunity to learn healthy living habits and life skills during the holidays.
The Skillz Holiday Camp which kicked-off in Lagos on July 31st, is a non-residential free holiday program, sponsored by ExxonMobil and M.A.C AIDS Fund, with the goal of creatively engaging 4,000 adolescents (boys and girls) in disadvantaged communities in Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Ogun State through a weeklong immersion in health and life management skills sessions across multiple campsites. According to YEDI’s Executive Director, Oje Ivagba, participants at the various campsites will be provided safe spaces to learn about Sexual and Reproductive Health, have vital conversations about HIV and AIDS, malaria prevention and develop critical life management skills, while using non-competitive soccer, games, and other fun activities in an interactive environment. "The camp will also offer the participants an opportunity to acquire basic knowledge on crafts that can enhance their ability to create livelihoods,” he added.
Mr. Ivagba stressed the importance of positively engaging young people during the long holiday, a period where youths are most ‘vulnerable’: “This is a period where youths are most vulnerable; because they have a lot of idle time and are exposed to negative peer pressure that increases their likelihood of engaging in risky behaviours. Our approach, therefore, has been to deploy the proven Grassroot Soccer curriculum (GRS) which, over the decade, has successfully used the power of football to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV, malaria and other diseases and provide children and youth in disadvantaged communities with life and coping skills”.
YEDI’s staff and trained volunteer-coaches facilitate the GRS curriculum delivery and coordinate activities on campsites with the support of dedicated representatives of the Red Cross Society of Nigeria who provide first-aid support to participants during the weeklong sessions. All participants are served breakfast, light refreshments and lunch daily. Only participants who successfully complete a minimum of seven practices are issued certificates at the end of the camp.
Following the Lagos SHC, the Akwa-Ibom Camp (Eket and Onna) and Ogun State Camp (Itele and Ijebu-Ode) will kick-off from August 7th – 18th. YEDI has empowered over 12,000 young people since 2013 through the Skillz Holiday programme.
Locations and specific dates are available HERE.