In 2018, GPI (with funding from Lafarge Africa) launched the Better Life Options and Opportunities Model Plus (BLOOM+) project in 6 Lafarge host communities: Mbobui, Mfamosing, Akwa Ikot Efangha, Abiati, Ekong-Anaku and Akansoko. The project benefitted 134 adolescents (87 girls and 47 boys) and was a non-formal education program that delivered life transformation skills and empowered adolescents and young people to live better lives.
The project followed the Choose a Future! curriculum which covers 15 modules that expands youths’ knowledge on goal setting, career planning, rights and responsibilities, reproductive health, gender, and more. These are all topics that are not addressed in the formal school system.
In addition to this, there was a vocational skills training aspect to the project. Beneficiaries took part in hands-on training about the production of confectionaries, detergent, hair cream, Vaseline, bleach, shampoo and liquid soap.
The training was conducted by 12 local facilitators in the communities who were supported by a local Project Support Committee (PSC), comprised of respected locals such as community leaders and school heads.
One critical goal of the BLOOM+ project was ensuring that beneficiaries had a mind set to return back to school. As a result, over 60 young people indicated their willingness to return to school after the end of the project. Consequently, some of the beneficiaries were recommended for scholarships to help them get back in the classroom. After thorough verification of information provided by the beneficiaries, Lafarge Africa granted 21 scholarships to those had completed their primary education and were about to begin secondary school. The scholarships covered JSS 1 -SS 3 (a 6 year scholarship).
While some of the BLOOM+ beneficiaries wanted to go back to school, others wanted to be trained in entrepreneurship and life skills. This gave birth to GPI’s current Skills Training program that is seeing 50 youth in 10 Lafarge host communities trained in fashion design, Alumaco, electrical and welding and fabrication.