By Mustapha Momoh, Communications Volunteer Sierra Leon YMCA
YMCA Sierra Leone with support from Comic Relief UK on Monday, 30th April 2018 officially launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Hub in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone.
Giving an overview of the project, the Program Manager for the Queen’s Young Leaders (QYL) project simply called “Fostering innovative resilience and socially responsible youth entrepreneurship program in Sierra Leone, Mr. Joseph Aiah Kange said that the project is aimed at benefitting 1,230 beneficiaries across Freetown, Pujehun and Makeni for a period of three years which started in January 2017 and will end in December 2020 that will provide training to young people in computer skills, entrepreneurship, Literacy and numeracy.
He went on to highlight that the program will provide psycho-social support to beneficiaries in order to build their confidence and to restructure their mindsets in ICT and Business for development. “Six (6) National and International partners will be implementing this initiative”, Joseph Kange concluded.
Explaining the purpose of the launch, the National Secretary/CEO of YMCA SL, Mr. Christian Martyn Kamara stated that the Youth Entrepreneurship Hub is a space created for young people to be empowered using the transformative concept of our Subject to Citizen Philosophy.
Mr. Kamara further went on to thank the donors and implementing partners for their support and also thanked the beneficiaries for chosen to be part of this program in the next three years. He said nothing good comes to a man easily and hence called on the beneficiaries to be focused, determined and resilience in the quest for them to become entrepreneurs in the years to come. “They will at the end of the day be able to support themselves, families, communities and Sierra Leone at large”, Mr. Kamara reiterated.
Whilst passionate about the initiative, Mr. Kamara however called on the beneficiaries to consider them for being part of the selected few noting that a lot of their colleagues who applied weren’t selected.
Vanessa Thomas, the Partnership manager at Comic Relief UK who is working with the QYL Program further noted the QYL program is a partnership between Comic Relief, the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Trust, the World Commonwealth society and the Cambridge University. She stated that the program seeks to empower and support young people to transform their lives and communities through entrepreneurship and leadership support.
Ms Vanessa and her team were overwhelmed by what YMCA SL has been able to do through this program as beneficiaries recounted their testimonies.
In her statement on behalf of the people of Makeni, the Mayor Elect of Makeni City Council who also doubles as the keynote speaker, Her Worship Madam Sunkarie Kabba –kamara thanked YMCA SL and her donors for such a worthy venture and reaffirmed her continued support in ensuring the program achieve its desired goal.
Though excited by this initiative, Madam Mayor called on the beneficiaries to take full ownership of the program so that it will both benefit them and the people of Makeni.
Representatives from the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Traditional authorities were all thrilled for the program as they lavished praises on the work of YMCA Sierra Leone.
The program ended by the cutting of the tape for the official opening of the Youth Entrepreneurship Hub by her Worship, Madam Sunkarie Kabba –kamara, Mayor of Makeni City.