By Alfred Fornah
The United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) in Sierra Leone, BabatundeAhonsi has described the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Youth Empowerment project as a dream initiative because it is based on a robust partnership between the UN, the Government of Sierra Leone, the community and the private sector.
He made this statement last Tuesday during a visit to IOM’s Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) project sites in Sumbuya, Southern Sierra Leone. The visit was part of the RC’s tour to familiarize himself with the work of UN agencies in the rural parts of the country.
MrAhonsi said that the IOM project in Sumbuya is a good example of an intervention geared towards sustainable development as it addresses key social, economic and environmental challenges at the same time.
Addressing community stakeholders in Sumbuya, the RC assured the community and the Government of the UN’s continued support to address youth unemployment related challenges in the country. “I want to thank the people of Sumbuya for providing a piece of Land to IOM to construct a Technical Training Centre”.
Head of Office IOM Sierra Leone, James Bagonza said, “already we have signed a memorandum of understanding with Sierra Tropical Limited (STL), an agribusiness Company based here in Sumbuya.” The Company is a grower of tropical fruits especially pineapple. He added that IOM’s agreement with STL emphasized the need for youth to acquire demand-driven skills through technical training, especially in agriculture and machine maintenance.
The Member of Parliament of constituency 078, Engineer Habib Fabbah, acknowledged the importance of the project to empower young people. He said, ‘the relevance of the skills training project in Sumbuya cannot be overemphasized as it would help reduce the high rate of youth unemployment’. Hon. Fabbah called on IOM to expand the project to include more young people from other chiefdoms within his constituency.
22- year-old Lucinda Sam, the only female applicant and participant of the Grader Operation and Maintenance Training program expressed joy for being part of the training. ‘I feel very proud and excited to participate in this training. I am learning a lot, as I aspire to become a Senior Grader Operator’ she said.
In April 2019, IOM launched the project entitled: ‘Reducing the Risk of Irregular Migration through Promotion of Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Support for the Youths’ with funding from the Government of Japan. The project which is being implemented by IOM and the Government of Sierra Leone is contributing to youth and women’s empowerment through technical and vocational training and entrepreneurship support. The ongoing Grader and Tractor Training program in Sumbuya is part of the IOM’s initiative to train 2,000 young people by April 2022. IOM is also working with private companies to provide on the job training and internship opportunities for the trainees