Upon assuming office, the Minister of Youth Affairs, Mohamed Orman Bangura thought it fit that in order to adequately address the challenges facing young people in Sierra Leone there is the need to have an all-inclusive National Youth Policy.
It is on that light that the Minister assured the people and the youths in particular that the new policy is one that will be owned by young people themselves as it will reflect their views.
Noting that the number of young people in the country has increased over the years which is people within the age bracket of 18-35 years, the Minister disclosed that young make up of about 49% of the population workforce in the country.
He highlighted that as a government they have made some progress in addressing the concerns of young people by creating skills development trainings, start up kits among others in order to ensure that young people are self-reliant.
This is the most inclusive youth policy ever that this country has put together considering the fact that the process of consulting young people in order to generate their view was not only done electronically but also physically, Minister Orman stated.
He noted that all regions, chiefdoms, districts were reached to make their input into the new National Youth Policy, adding that people who have are previewed to the You Report which is a platform hosted by the UNICEF had the opportunity to make their view known on the policy, adding that over 30,000 young people made their contribution to the development of the policy.
“It is our belief as a ministry that when you talk of a document such as the Youth Policy, it should be a boardroom decision neither a management decision or one which some group of people just sit together and develop,” Minister Orman stressed.
That the process which led to the development of the National Youth Policy that will be launched on 10th June 2021 was very participatory and consultative in nature as every partner with an interest in the youth sector was reached for their view.
“The policy is no longer a policy of the Ministry of Youth but a policy of the young people and government which is the reason we all came together to create it,” he affirmed.
That during their consultation right across the country about 40,000 young people and partners highlighted 10 major challenges affecting young people that need fixing such as migration, skills development, substance abuse, education which is not only limited to the formal aspect among others.
He noted that there is an aspect in the policy which is geared towards addressing some of these challenges which talks about: Access to livelihood opportunities through education, trainings, entrepreneurship and agriculture. The Minister highlighted several other moves that have been made and now being made to address the challenges as captured in the National Youth Policy