By Lansana Fofanah.
Two hundred youth have been in-cooperated into the National Youth Service of Sierra Leone at the Peace Mission Training Center at Yams Farm in Freetown where they will be trained for three weeks.
The Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh said that four days after assuming office, the ED of NYS visited him with the aim of realising the program. He said that the launching of this program has shown a fulfillment of another promise made by President Bio for the youth.
The Vice President said that the Sustainable Development Goals can only be achieved with the inclusion of youth who are the Ambassadors of the New Direction in every aspect of development.
VP Juldeh Jalloh said that the Youth Service scheme was a dream of late Sir Milton Margai but successive governments never took it serious. He expressed his confidence that the NYS will go a long way in developing youth so that they will not be crossing to other countries in search of greener pastures.
The Vice President called on all MDAs to promote and support the products of this program as annually, there are thirteen thousand graduates and they all cannot be employed by the government alone but every stakeholder in the country.
Giving his opening remarks, the National Youth Commissioner, Thomas Ngolo Katta said that this is a historic moment in the history of Sierra Leone for the recruitment of the first batch of two hundred youth that will be national leaders in the country.
He said that these youth will be acquiring leadership capacity that will prepare them for any leadership challenge in the future be it private or civil service. He said that youth employment is key in national development and that has been demonstrated by President Julius Maada Bio as he is the first President to employ the highest number of competent youth graduates.
The Peace Mission Training Center Manager, Colonel G.M Bangura said that the center has been instrumental in training international peace keepers, counter terrorism and other technical services which has made the center to be recognized internationally. He said that the three weeks orientation training that the volunteers will be taking outside their families cannot be overemphasized as it is the gateway to prepare them for whatever challenges. He called on the Youth Corps to implement the disciplines they will be learning and the true mandate of the NYS.
The Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, Luseni Kallon said that this day would serve as the dawn of a new era in the empowerment of youths. He said that the seventy five female and one hundred and twenty five male graduates are expected to champion community development in their areas of postings.
Giving an overview of the NYS, the Executive Director, Mohamed Pateh Bah said that when they launched the application, they received about one thousand five hundred applications but they only needed two hundred. He said that they were able to take the best two hundred applicants that will be volunteering as teachers, working in the local councils, and they will also be opportune to go through competent lecturers that will prepare them for the task ahead.
He called on government to consider the volunteers for employment after their service as they would have been equipped to deliver national services.
The Resident Coordinator of UNDP, Samuel G. Doe congratulated the NYS who have come forward to volunteer for the development of the country. He said that citizenship can best be described by the way of sacrificing for the country instead of demanding from the state. He said that youth service programs around the world have been instrumental in creating good human resources through skills acquired, knowledge and capability to serve countries.
He said that in the past, lucrative positions had to be advertised several times because there were no candidates with the required skills but through such program, the volunteers will be suitable for any job opportunity available.
The Country Director for UNFPA, Dr. Kime Dickson said that UNFPA believes in a world where chances are given to every young person to grow and that motivates them to develop the NYS framework. She said that thirty nine percent of Sierra Leone population are young people, but statistics show that they lack the requisite skills to take advantage of the country’s potential. She expressed her delightfulness for the turnout of women that came up for volunteering but hope that the first batch of female volunteers will keep increasing. She said that the NYS seeks to address every problems encountered by youth to ensure that no one is left behind in building the nation and reiterated the commitment and support of UNFPA.
Country Director of Voluntary Service Oversees, Rajeer Vishwakarma said that volunteers are ordinary people with extra ordinary action, and help others without expectations. He said that VSO and Sierra Leone government has a working relationship since 1961. He said that he felt good for the program as he volunteered in 2007 to work in Sierra Leone.
The Minister of Youth Affairs, Mohamed Orman Bangura said that for far too long youths have been marginalized but yesterday, the unveiling of two hundred youth Corps shows that there is a light at the tunnel. He said that the space and avenue have been created for youth to take the center stage of development.
The Chief Justice, Abdulai Cham while administering oaths called on the volunteers to serve as an inspiration to others so that the society will be proud of them.