Impacts of Poverty Reduction Programmes in Nigeria: The Case of the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) in Cross River State
The study examined the impacts of the Youth Empowerments Scheme (YES) on poverty reduction among youths in Cross River State, Nigeria. Data were collected from 140 respondents using structured questionnaire. The respondents were selected from two out of the three senatorial districts in the state through the multi-stage random sampling technique and grouped into two - 80 beneficiaries and 60 nonbeneficiaries. Data collected were analyzed with the aid of simple percentage scores and chi-square statistics. The results showed that the YES has performed fairly well by providing trainings and credit facilities to several youths in the state which impacted positively on their income level. The trainings provided by the scheme include tailoring, soap-making, hair dressing, photographing, IT training, etc. Loans were also given to successful trainees after the training to establish their workshops and other businesses. However, like most past poverty alleviation programmes in the country, the YES Scheme was constrained by several factors which impacted negatively on its activities. Factors such as inadequate funding, trade drop-outs, family problems, corruption, loan defaults and many others, impeded the activities of the scheme and its overall success. However, based on the positive impact of the scheme on some selected indices of poverty such as income level, accommodation, access to health services and personal assets, we concluded that the YES scheme is an effective and sustainable strategy for poverty reduction, and should be sustained with increased government support to address problems impeding the activities of the scheme. Also, the scope of the scheme should be expanded to cover more programs and replicated nation-wide to curb the rising level of poverty in Nigeria.
Keywords: Youth empowerment, poverty alleviation, impacts, Cross River State, Nigeria.