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It was all smiles as 102 persons with disabilities and special needs who are beneficiaries of the World Bank Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project -Women and Youth Empowerment Programme completed their training activity at the College of Agriculture, Kabba.

The beneficiaries were trained along their chosen value chains of Rice, Poultry, Aquaculture and Cassava, Cashew.

Representing the APPEALS National Project coordinator at the graduation ceremony, the National Women and Youth Specialist Madam Heather Akanni said that people with disabilities and special needs constitute 5 per cent of the entire beneficiaries under the women and youth empowerment programme of the project.

She said it was done to compliment the policy of inclusiveness of the Federal Government of Nigeria for people with disabilities and special needs to contribute their quota towards the economic improvement of the country.

She noted that the APPEALS project is among the few projects in the country creating the opportunity for people with disabilities and special needs to be partakers and urged them to take the empowerment process serious.

She appreciated the state government for providing the enabling environment for the project to thrive in the state.

The APPEALS state project coordinator, Dr Sanni Abdullahi Ozomata told the beneficiaries that the project has provided them with the opportunity to become employers of labour, and to improve their livelihood and cater for the wellbeing of their families.

He said the state Ministry of Women Affairs has graciously provided space at the Ministry’s rehabilitation centre for beneficiaries in Lokoja to establish their Agribusinesses.

He assured the beneficiaries that credible mentors will be attached to them to provide technical support that will improve their farming business. He said the idea is also to ensure the sustainability of their business.

The Women and Youth Livelihood specialist for KOGI APPEALS, Umar Odekina appreciated the state project coordinator, Dr Sanni Abdullahi Ozomata for his prompt attention taking to issues bordering on people with disabilities and special needs in making their empowerment process a reality.

He advised the beneficiaries to play their part by ensuring that the knowledge gained from the training programme is adequately applied to their agribusiness.

Mr Arome Daniel Ibrahim on behalf of the beneficiaries appreciated the APPEALS project for giving them the opportunity to express their talents.

He said the APPEALS project has succeeded in removing a barrier and taking some of them out of the street begging through the empowerment programme. He said the beneficiaries will utilize the opportunity accordingly.

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