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The National Youth Commission together with the National Authorizing Office (NAO), have ended a three days tour of the Bandajuma-Liberia border road construction sites, as it looks into opportunities for skills development of 125 youths along the route.
The Bandajuma- Liberia border road leads to the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia, thereby linking the two countries.
Establishing the essence of the tour, Ambrose James, Deputy Director of NAO said the NAO works with government institutions and also aims at providing skills for young people.
He said “the Bandajuma- Liberia border road is one opportunity we want to leverage with the National Youth Commission NAYCOM to provide skills in road construction for young people.”
Mr. James added that, the project will have two levels, Civil and Off Works (mechanical) for community youths.
He described the community level to be ‘unskilled youths that could be trained on site in various skills available in the Work sites including either masonry, carpentry, machine operations, steel bending or any other required skill. The civil works level he said “areyoung people who have graduated from Universities as civil, mechanical engineers, Surveyors, Geologists and Laboratory Technicians,” who will be attached to various departments to work with the community youths.
BockarieKallon member of the Chiefdom Youth Council in Sorogbema Chiefdom, Fairo town said “motorbike transportation is our only means of employment, we believe the road work will help a lot if we have an opportunity to be employed.”
He said, some of them have training certificates in different skills work but don’t have a means to employment.
Ass DiagneNdiaye, Deputy Project Manager and Site Engineer for CSE said the 100km road includes three main bridges including the Moa River, 125 culverts, and new roads onto the Liberia border.
He said “under civil works there is a lot of opportunities for young people”, adding that they will rotate the teams in different categories ranging from earthwork, lab technicians, surveyors, civil and mechanical engineering amongst others.
Communities along the road sites from various Focused Group discussions applauded the road project. Among other benefits they see an opportunity for trade and development of their communities.
More critically, they raised concerns over compensations for their plantations and houses demolished for the construction of the road.
The Commissioner Ngolo Katta, commended NAO and EU for the novel project design. He said, this will help create a sustainable environment,as, community youths trained in those villages and towns will have technical knowledge n roads construction.
He added that “these young people will help protect the roads and makes it for the Sierra Leone Roads Authority to mobilize them for maintenance over the years.”

Mr. Katta said the project resonates with the government’s New Direction objectives on youth Empowerment and development and if successful, can then be replicated in other road construction projects in the near future.


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