The National Youth Commission together with funding partners from United Nation Development Program (UNDP) has on the 1st November 2022 commemorated African Youth Day in Bo.
This event is geared to breaking the barriers of meaningful participation and inclusion in advocacy for young people across the country. Amidst this event, a policy dialogue and a capacity building training for youths on advocacy was also held.
Commissioner of the National Youth Commission Ngolo Kata, has said that the celebration of the African Youth Day was as a result of the resolution of African Youths charter adopted in 2006 throughout the month of November. Commissioner Ngolo Katta noted that Africa Youth is a resounding call not only for youth development but for stakeholders, governments, international organizations, development partners, private sectors, civil society and all African youth on the continent and Diaspora.
He continues that the government of Sierra Leone is making sure to tackle the challenges the youths are faced with when it comes to youth unemployment, education radicalization, violent extremism and its consequences as we approach the 2023 National elections.
Thus, the Commission’s strategy on youth engagement aims to strengthen its relationships with youth and equip them with the space needed to amplify their voice to audiences of influences since they are the heart of Africa’s development agenda. Ngolo Katta also noted that ” A National Youth and Entrepreneurship fair (NYEEF) which is a networking and learning event has been organized by the government of Sierra Leone to connect Sierra Leone’s youth both women and men aged 18 to 35 years to employers, recruiters, tertiary institution, Entrepreneur and Customers for the purpose of Employment, entrepreneurship and skills development”.
Resident Minister South Honorable Mohamed E.K Allie, in his keynote said that the celebration of youth day is very timely as “it no secret that the challenges Africa faces, especially in education, Employment, health, climate change, environmental and natural disaster and governance are most acutely felt by Africa’s youth and young people, who are likewise are supposed to lead the transformation and positive changes to the challenges, if only they are given the required space and support to actively participate in the processes”.
Resident Minister Mohamed E.K Allie emphasized that ” the government strategy and programs emphasize on active youth participation and engagements that aims to strengthen the relationship with youth and government, development partners, private sectors and all major stakeholders concerned and to further equip them with capacity and space needed to amplify their voices to audiences of influences while confronting the barriers that undermine and compromise meaningful youth engagement”. He ended by admonishing youth leaders to ensure they immediately embrace and champion issues as that PR system reduces the blame on youths for previous electoral violence, reduces unnecessary expenses on by-election, unhealthy electoral competition, promotes nonviolence electoral processes and most especially it guarantees and provides space for the voices of vulnerable groups, including women, youths and persons with disability to be fairly represented without favor.
Regional Police Commander Southern Region, Harold Hanciles said that the Sierra Leone Police is a Force for good that is charged with numerous responsibilities such as the protection of Life and property, maintenance of law and order especially to upkeep the internal security of the state. Harold Hanciles noted that the Police are not averse to the ides of breaking the barriers to meaningful Youth participation and inclusion in advocacy as it is prudent to give young people the opportunity to meaningfully participate, I’m advocacy which he defined as the ” process of identifying, understanding and addressing issues that are of importance to young people”. He continued that “when that platform is given to them, they will be empowered to play vital roles in their own development such as helping them to learn new skills, improve their knowledge on human rights and citizenship, and to promote positive civic actions, not only knowing their rights but also their responsibilities, roles and obligations as cites to our beloved country”.
He concluded by thanking the National Youth Commission for organizing a timely event of such and for the theme of discussion which borders on bridging the gap for meaningful youth participation and inclusion in advocacy. He considers the theme of the event very important because we are now on the verge of electioneering period and a good percentage of youths will inculcate the senses of good citizenship by promoting and portraying positive civic actions not only in the Southern Region but in Sierra Leone as a whole.