International Youth Day in Sierra Leone: Kolhat Barray Project Accompanying Youth-Led Advocacy Actions
In Sierra Leone, despite tremendous efforts by the government and development partners over the years, youth participation, active inclusion and representation in critical decision-making processes affecting their lives remains daunting and the situation is worse for especially young women and girls. Youth lacks the education and required life skills that makes them productive and hence many are found on the street unemployed and unproductive. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the problem by increasing the proportion of young people especially adolescent girls not in employment, education or training.
To contribute to changing this narrative, the Youth Partnership for Peace and Development through the Kolhat Barray Project worked collaboratively with the National Youth Leadership Summit Committee and the Ministry of Youth Affairs among other institutions to mark the 2021 International Youth Day event in Sierra Leone with the theme “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”. Organized in the confines of the Sierra Leone House of Parliament, the Kolhat Barray Project utilized the advocacy opportunity to support the IYD 2021 commemoration as means build effective alliance and advocate on the need for affirmative actions on the UNSCR 2250 as specifically mentioned in the recently revised National Youth Policy.
Two major activities
were carriedout during the IYD 2021 commemoration including a press briefing and a National Youth Leadership Summit that brough together 250 young people from across Sierra Leone. Happening at the very moment when the revised National Youth Policy was approved and and launched, a hearty congratulations to the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Youth Affairs for facilitating such a golden process. The National Youth Commission’s work in fully implementing and delivering on the policy provisions cannot be overstated in addition to allowing every Sierra Leonean youth to fully reach their potentials as means to be sure there is no one leaving behind.
The Hon. Vice President, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh who gave the keynote address via video, informed participants of H. E. President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction Government’s commitment to supporting youth empowerment. The Vice President expressed delight in the steps taken so far in terms of addressing youth empowerment in the country; recognizing the need to sustain and actions for creating the spaces for inclusive and meaningful youth engagement.
“And today, when you look around Sierra Leone, we have dynamic young Ministers; Ministers that are young. You talk of the Minister of Youth, to Education, to Mineral Resources. Several of our Ministers are youth,” the Hon. Vice President, Mohamed Juldeh Bah noted.
We convey our appreciation to YACAP for facilitating this Year’s Youth Summit, as part of the support that YPPD and Cordaid provided to this event was made possible through the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UNPBF) as part of the Inclusive Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Project which is dubbed as the “Kolhat Barray project.”