Maryam Aminu

The National Senior Citizens Centre and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria have signed a memorandum of understanding on capacity enhancement and entrepreneurship development for senior citizens towards poverty reduction and job creation.

According to Mr.Omini Oden, Head, Corporate Affairs, Media and Communications the partnership  will enhance sustainable livelihoods for senior citizens in Nigeria.

The ceremony held in Abuja at the corporate headquarters of SMEDAN featured the declaration by the Director General of SMEDAN, Olawale Fasanya of a special rebate to Senior Citizens who desires to use SMEDAN facilities.

Mr. Fasanya said the Partnership with the National Senior Citizens Centre shall be taken to the later.

Director General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro at the ceremony said, the partnership with SMEDAN is a purpose vehicle that will change negative stereotypes and discrimination against persons aged 60 and above, in the discourse of business development and financial inclusion in Nigeria. Omokaro said that the MoU will promote financial independence and autonomy of older persons and also encourage healthy and active life style and psycho social harmony for Older Persons as well as reduce poverty among senior citizens and technical support to enable senior citizens access human development services and micro-finance for livelihood development programs.

She said, “To achieve this, the two agencies must promote positive change in perception, attitude and paradigm about ageing and old age and the economic development opportunities in investing in enhanced capacities of senior citizens as well as develop and maintain a National Database Management System on older persons, conduct of researches for evidence-based policies to strengthen NSCC multi-sectoral intervention planning, implementation and coordination capacity.

“The MOU entered into by NSCC and SMEDAN Today marks the beginning of a forward leaning partnership where parties will apply the best of their abilities respectively to deliver on; Build parties capacities to understand commonality and intersections in mandates and their delivery and to set up focal desk officers Identify, collate and summit details of potential senior citizens beneficiaries To develop livelihood programs that align with already existing SMEDAN Programs Mainstream senior citizens in relevant SMEDAN Programs Include senior citizens in SMEDAN Business Development Schemes (BDS); Conduct entrepreneurship training for beneficiaries Facilitate linkages to finance, workspaces, equipment and markets; Engage beneficiaries in focus group discussions; Develop monitoring, evaluation and reporting frameworks with Key performance indicators.

“Above all, the nationwide spread of SMEDAN offices and personnel with their carrying capacity in small and medium enterprise business development gives us hope that senior citizens in the hard-to-reach places would be reached and included.Dr Omokaro commended SMEDAN for the commitment to be a critical partner along with the National Directorate of Employment and other stakeholders in ensuring the engagement of capacities of senior citizens towards enhancement and poverty reduction and job creation.”


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