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Sierra Leone Celebrates International Youth Day in Kambia


Sierra Leone on 12th August 2016 joined other nations around the world to celebrate the annual International Youth Day (IYD) at a colorful and well-attended event in Kambia, northern Sierra Leone. The IYD celebrated every year is to raise awareness around issues and policies that affect young people in the world and strides taken by the various governments to address these issues. The domesticated theme for 2016 was “Engaging Youth in Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness for Poverty reduction.”

 

The Chairman of Kambia   District Youth Council Hamid Kamara thanked the sponsors and the Ministry of Youth and National Youth Commission for hosting the event in his district. He said in order to achieve food security within the shortest possible time the government of Sierra Leone and donor partners should support young people engaged in agricultural activities in their districts. He however noted that have been having support from NACSA, UNDP and Action Aid for youths in Kambia. The DYC Chairman also appealed for the release of the Chairman of the Kambia Bike Riders Association who was arrested and detained by the police in riot that took place in the township. He said because of the high unemployment rate in the country young people are engaged in various self-employment activities. He said these jobs do not only provide livelihood for young people but also help them to be good citizens.
Dr. Michael Gboun UNAIDS Country Director read a speech on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator. He said the scale of unemployment and underdevelopment amongst youth is a serious development concern. He said about 70% of young people in Sierra Leone were either unemployed or underemployed. The absence of adequate productive jobs in rural areas induces many young people to migrate to the capital.  The UNAIDS Country Director said the situation can be managed if a link is created between rural activities to large urban markets. He said more can be done to create opportunities for young people in rural communities such as investing into added value to agricultural produce through better processing, packaging and marketing that will create jobs for rural youths.
Vice President Hon. Victor Bockarie Foh delivered the keynote address that highlighted government’s strides in addressing issues of young people. He said policies have been put in place to allow young people participate in the governance through their representation in different sectors of government. He encouraged the youth to embark on self-employment especially in agriculture and come up with agribusiness proposals which can be funded. He also urged the youth to be law abiding so they can be better citizens.
The event was climaxed by a symposium focusing on the theme. On the panel were; Fatima Sesay speaking on “Entrepreneurship and Poverty Reduction”, Mrs. Sadiatu Marrah speaking on “My background does not define me, Does Yours?” and Kelvin Doe speaking on “Youth Innovation and Poverty Reduction”.

 

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