Entrepreneurship and Waste Management in Sierra Leone to fight Unemployment and Clean Cities

With a 60 percent rate of youth unemployment, Sierra Leone suffers among West Africa’s highest levels of joblessness. One result: youth migrate, often irregularly.

To address this, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Sierra Leone, in partnership with the Freetown City Council, organized a 5-day training on entrepreneurship and sustainable waste treatment for 200 youths from Freetown in early October.

The training aims at providing youth with skills to collect and manage domestic waste while providing them with money to meet their daily needs.

“This will not only help in cleaning the city, reducing health hazards associated with waste but also contribute to generating the much-needed income, and sustainable livelihoods for youth,” explained Dr. James Bagonza, Project Coordinator at IOM Sierra Leone.

Participants were divided into groups to manage 20 different door-to-door waste collection businesses. As part of the process, IOM and partners will also provide them with a 15-months business development support, as well as waste collection equipment and motorized tricycles.

“I am interested in the waste management business. The knowledge gained through this training will empower me and help us combat the problem of waste in our community,” said Lovina Margret Moseray, one of the trainees.

The youth groups will move from door to door to collect household waste including plastic, water sachets, empty bottles and miscellaneous garbage, getting less than a US $1 per bag collected.

Using motorized tricycles, members of these garbage brigades transport wastes to collection points within their communities, where employees designated by the Freetown City Council move the material into recycling or disposal channels.

“Our Ministry is prepared to support young people in the coming months get the appropriate training and skills that will enable them to tap local opportunities rather than risking their lives to go to Europe through irregular means,” said Hon. Luseni Kallon, Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs.

This training was organized within the framework of the project ‘Reducing the Risk of Irregular Migration through Promotion of Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone’ implemented with funding from the Government of Japan. IOM and the Government of Sierra Leone through this youth empowerment project have plans to roll out other programmes to provide employment and more job opportunities for youths in the country.

At a graduation ceremony here, His Excellency Tsutomu Himeno, Japan’s Ambassador to Sierra Leone, said “You will be looked at by other people, and you are showing by doing your work-. Sometimes it may be tough, but you should take pride in the attention you get, and share your knowledge with others.’

IOM’s Dr. Bagonza added: “Today’s certification ceremony is a step towards creating entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, through doing waste management as a micro-business.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Sierra Leone: Youth attending Don Bosco Center Lungi have the nutritional and social support to engage in studies and sports programming

By Reliefweb.int (Salesian Missions)

Youth attending the Don Bosco Center in Lungi, a small coastal town in the Port Loko District of the Northern Province of Sierra Leone, have access to better nutrition thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” In addition to its feeding program, the center also focuses on providing socio-sports education for youth which is bolstered by the nutritional support.

Lungi is a poor community and the demand for nutritional rice-meals is at an all-time high. Most youth participating in activities at the Don Bosco Youth Center are malnourished and underprivileged. The feeding program ensures they have the nutrition needed to improve their concentration at school, participation in sports programming and interaction with peers while at the center.

Youth at the Don Bosco Center receive support that includes nutrition, sanitary items, educational/training materials and medical assistance that’s been made possible with the help of donations through Salesian Missions.

A 15-year-old boy at the center, Joseph Kamara, noted that since receiving the rice-meals he has been able to spend more time with his friends instead of working to pay for something to eat. He notes, “The feeding program at the Don Bosco Center every Saturday is helping us greatly. We used to go and work for farmers so that we can get something to eat. However, when we started receiving the food, we would no longer have to do odd jobs for people on Saturdays. The food gave us the opportunity to be together not only to share the meal but also to have a football team in our vicinity. The rice is helping us to develop our skills in football and to bring us together as a team.”

As Kamara indicated, the Don Bosco Center places an emphasis on socio-sports activities as a way for youth to connect with their peers and develop skills. The center offers structured training and learning programs in basketball and football as well as hosts various competitions. In 2018, there was tremendous growth in participation and results.

Last year, 125 young people (80 boys and 45 girls) received football training twice a week and 10 boys and 15 girls were trained in basketball twice a week. There were four friendly matches and three trophy competitions.

The Don Bosco center also provides additional academic and financial support. During 2018, 150 students received remedial classes in five subjects, 10 students received scholarship support and 150 students had access to free educational materials. In addition, three seminars were organized with close to 150 participants at each.

Salesian missionaries have been serving in Sierra Leone since 2001 when they began working to rehabilitate former child soldiers through the organization, Don Bosco Fambul. In the years since, Don Bosco Fambul, located in the country’s capital city of Freetown, has become one of the country’s leading child welfare organizations—offering food, clothing, crisis intervention services, shelter, educational opportunities, long-term counseling and family reunification.

Food security in Sierra Leone is undermined by chronic poverty. The UN World Food Program reports that over half of the population lives under the national poverty line of earning approximately $2 per day. According to the 2016 Global Hunger Index, Sierra Leone also faces an alarming level of hunger with nearly 38 percent of children younger than 5 years of age suffering from chronic malnutrition.

Young people, especially, face significant challenges in accessing education. With too few teachers and school buildings destroyed in the war, resources are thin. And persistently high illiteracy rates mean that an estimated 70 percent of Sierra Leone’s youth are un- or under-employed.

Sierra Leonean Youth Minister Receives Recognition from Africa Armed Forces.

By Elkass Sannoh

The Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Mohamed O. Bangura has today received an outstanding recognition from visiting Armed Forces from Ghana, Zambia, Niger, Togo and Nigeria.

Receiving thirteen (13) students and six (6) instructors from the rank of Major, Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel and General, the Minister said he inherited a huge challenge in the youth sector but his focus was to change the thinking pattern of the youth towards governance and their country in particular.

“With my team, I have been able to design and develop a lot of programmes and projects that will help address the problem of youth unemployment,” he said, whilst describing the situation as a ticking time bomb.

Outlining his Ministry’s vision in line with the UN Youth Strategy, he said the Ministry has the Youth Commission and National Youth Service (NYS) designed to empower and capacitate the youth to be self-reliant in society. He said even those who are not graduates will be absorbed in the Car Wash and Youth In Entrepreneurship Projects.

He used the occasion to urge African leaders to see African youths as partners in national development and not bag carriers.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs-Andrew Lawrence Sorie heartedly welcomed the team and said most of those projects have just been developed.

He described some of the projects as quick impact projects intended to have an immediate effect on reversing the growing unemployment rate and to bring back dignity to youth.

The Permanent Secretary emphasized that President Bio’s focus on youth uplift mentality is geared toward empowerment today and positioning for the future.

“This is what visionaries do,” he concluded, and assured that they will fully implement those projects in line with the President’s New Direction administration.

Speaking on the need to foster inclusive and sustainable development agenda for Africans, the team leader from Ghana, Moses Kwadzo Beick-Baffour, said, “I am very much impressed with your leadership style and I am sure if these projects are well implemented, it will be able to cushion the unemployment gap in your country.”

He admitted that Africa is faced with a lot of challenges and those challenges would continue to have security implications if left unattended. That, according him, needs vibrant political will from African leaders.

Commending President Julius Maada Bio’s leadership, Major Souleymane Ousmane Salifou from Niger said their stay has been successful with an impressive hospitality from the host country.

Source Critique Echo Newspaper

Sierra Leone youths to benefit from Japan and IOM Partnership

By Abdul Rashid Thomas

At least 2,000 Sierra Leonean youths facing chronic unemployment or underemployment will receive market-driven vocational training over the next three years, under a project funded by the Government of Japan.

“IOM has a long-standing experience addressing issues related to youth, migration and employment,” said Sanusi Savage, Head of the IOM Office in Sierra Leone.

“We hope that through this new initiative, we can unlock the entrepreneurship potential of Sierra Leonean youths and help them contribute to the development of the country.”

More than 60 per cent of Sierra Leonean youths are unemployed or underemployed.

The West African country has been slowly recovering from the devastation caused by an 11-year civil war (1991 – 2002) and the recent Ebola crisis (2013 – 2016), which has led to massive rural-urban mobility, especially among young people.

This population growth in urban areas has impacted infrastructure and essential service delivery, including housing, schools, jobs, water, health, electricity, and sanitation.

Funded by the Government of Japan, the project – ‘Reducing the Risk of Irregular Migration through Employment Promotion and Entrepreneurship Support for the Youth’, will be implemented over three years from 2019 to 2022.

This new project will contribute to youth and women’s empowerment through vocational and entrepreneurship skills training.

A partnership will be developed with Sierra Tropical, a Sierra Leone-based juice manufacturing company, to provide internships and on-the-job training to young people and women across the country.

Two hundred and forty youths will also receive entrepreneurship training, business start-up kits, and long-term mentoring from industry professionals to ensure the sustainability of their ventures.

Mohamed Orman Bangura, Minister of Youth Affairs for Sierra Leone, said that this new project will support the country’s National Development Plan.

“[The project] will help provide young people with the skills in areas relevant for the job market, reduce rural-urban and irregular migration and contribute to economic growth and development,” he explained.

Since 2017, more than 950 vulnerable Sierra Leoneans have returned home with IOM’s assistance.

The project will also develop activities to raise awareness about the risks and dangers of irregular migration and human trafficking.

“Over the years, the Government of Japan has been very committed in providing support to Sierra Leone, and we are very happy also to support this wonderful project,” said Tsutomu Himeno – Japan’s Ambassador to Sierra Leone.

Source TSLT

Deputy Youth Minister of Sierra Leone Strengthens Bilateral Ties With Kenya

Sierra Leone’s Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Lusine Kallon, has in line with President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction vision strengthened the bilateral ties between Sierra Leone and Kenya in preparedness of the review of the National Youth Service (NYS) Act of 2016.

Minister Kallon who returned over the weekend from Kenya on a study tour travelled with the main opposition Member of Parliament, Hon. Abdul Kargbo-Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Youth Affairs, NYS Board Chairman Sahr Nyaama and the NYS Deputy Executive Director Onanah Jalloh.

The NYS study tour to Kenya and Ghana is to inform the review of the 2016 NYS Act, as proclaimed by President Bio during his inaugural speech at the official State Opening of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone.

Addressing corps members, staff of Kenyan NYS and state officials in Nairobi, Minister Kallon said, “I feel honored to be here and to be a beneficiary of your good hospitality. I have heard so much of your beautiful country and how nice the people are, so when the opportunity for the study tour came, I had no option but to grab it at once.”

He went on to say that, “we are here to get the Kenyan experience. An experience that has made Kenya the hub for youth development and entrepreneurship. Let me commend you for this giant move. An impressive move that has placed you in in a very good position to have a productive youths in the Continent in terms of technology and innovation.”

As the Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs of Sierra Leone, he continued, “I am here with my delegation to learn from the best practices of the Kenya National Youth Service. Our own National Youth Service is still in its developing stage and currently faced with a lot of challenges just like your own National Youth Service when it was first established in 1964.”

The Deputy Youth Minister informed his audience that the idea of the National Youth Service in Sierra Leone was first nurtured in 1961 by our first Prime Minister, Sir Milton Margai.

He noted that fifty years down the line, the late Prime Minister’s idea was legislated in April 2016.

He said the actual implementation only started in 2018 when his government under the leadership of His Excellency Rtd. Brigadier General Julius Maada Bio, decided to kick-start the dream of our forefathers into a visible reality.

The Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs-Hon. Rachel Shebesh said they are ready to support the NYS in Sierra Leone as a way on strengthening the bilateral relationship. She said they started the Kenyan NYS amidst challenges but today they have a lot of success stories Sierra Leone will learn from.

The APC Member of Parliament, Hon. Abdul Kargbo, assured that they will support the process and ensure that he lobbies around colleague MPs to support the review to stand the test of time.

He commended the Kenyan government for the reception and hospitality during their one week stay in the country.

Source Concord