The Ford Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to spend N3.6 billion over the next two years for skill development and employment in the Niger Delta region.
Signing the agreement yesterday at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, the Head of West African office of the Ford Foundation based in Lagos, said that the MOU would advance skill development and employment of young people in the nine states of the Niger Delta.
According to him, the foundation identified a number of areas of convergence of interest and willingness to work with the NDDC. He said that those areas informed the drafting of the MOU and explained the rationale for this partnership.
Chukwuma said, “The reasons for this partnership are to leverage on our resources, not just financial but knowledge. For instance, we don’t know the terrain of the Niger Delta as much as the NDDC. As an organisation based in Lagos, we don’t know the terrain well enough. But with the NDDC on the ground in the nine Niger Delta States, its depth of knowledge of the area will be brought to bear on the work we plan to do.
“Another interesting area where this leveraging comes to play is that Ford Foundation has partners and guarantors all around the world. We have developed the technical know-how for equipping young people to face the world of work and life in the society. NDDC will benefit from those partners of Ford Foundation that are working in these areas. Were NDDC to go it alone, it may not be able to tap into these resources.” he said
Chukwuma stated that the Ford Foundation had footprints around the world. He added: “Outside New York, where we have our headquarters, we have regional offices in 10 key countries around the world. In each of these offices, we work as a network. With this partnership, all our offices around the world will key in and we will be drawing from them. We have already contacted our partner in South Africa to organise a learning exchange involving NDDC officials and South Africa to understudy how they are able to involve the private sector, the City Council and civil society organisations in the development of youth programmes,” he said