Today’s young people – who make up an unprecedented 1.8 billion of the world’s 7 billion population – face extraordinary economic, social, and cultural challenges making it difficult for them to actualize their potential and/or make meaningful contributions to society.
Considering that youths make up 42% of Sierra Leone’s population and most of them are either in school, unskilled, or unemployed, it is in the interest of Sierra Leone’s government and private businesses to invest in young people to increase productivity, improve standards of living and human capital investments and curb social ills including crime rates. Moreover, preparing young people for employment will benefit local and regional economies, increase security, advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improve the well-being of millions of families and communities.
Generation Unlimited (GenU) is a global multi-sector partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training, and employment opportunities for young people. Generation Unlimited creates public-private partnerships – globally and in countries – to co-create and support large scale investment opportunities, programs and innovations and to help young people become productive in life. Generation Unlimited prioritizes young people as partners in the development agenda.
The partnership platform will focus on three key areas: (1) secondary-age education; (2) skills for learning, employability, and decent work; and (3) empowerment.
To promote the ideals of GenU in Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoYA) in partnership with the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Sierra Leone is hosting an exhibition on 4th March 2022, to showcase the impact of various projects implemented by the Government, Private Sector, Development Partners and Youth across the country to improve opportunities for employment and sustainable livelihoods for young people within the ages of 10-24.
The exhibition will take place at the Occasions in Freetown and will feature representatives from the public & private sector, development partners, youth as well as beneficiaries from the various projects implemented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Restless Development, DSTI, UNDP, Plan International , One family People, NAYCOM, EU, USAID and Orange Foundation Sierra Leone.
The Government in partnership with the Private Sector and Development partners have undertaken several projects to demonstrate their commitment to youth empowerment initiatives to help young people lead in the development of a new Sierra Leone. To achieve this, the Ministry of Youth Affairs in collaboration with Partners has 1) provided funds to young entrepreneurs whose businesses suffered major setbacks because of Covid-19; 2) created employment for 7000 youths living in coastal areas in the seven districts through the Youth in Fisheries projects; 3) constructed car wash facilities to help capacitate low and unskilled youths in urban areas; 4) established a Digital Learning Hub at the Institute of Public Administration and Management accessible to young people across different demographics,5) provided support to 250 girls through the UPSHIFT mentoring program implemented by Restless Development. Through these interventions, several young people have been provided with sustainable livelihoods and are better placed to contribute to the development of their communities.
The exhibition will bring together 200 guests including young people from all walks of life to highlight the impact of these interventions on beneficiaries and their communities. The exhibition will create public awareness on existing skills acquisition programs, learning and employment opportunities for young people; provide network opportunities for Public-Private-Youth partnerships to further highlight the government’s commitment to empower young people to be decision makers at community and national level.