“Unemployed and marginalized young people are… seriously compromising the stability of the country,” said the UNDP’s Country Director, Bernard Mokam, at the ‘turning of the soil’ ceremony for the Yanatol Youth Resource Centre, in Kamala, Fourah Bay in Freetown, on Thursday.
The youth population, he noted, “is estimated at about one third of the total population, with more than 60% of them unemployed. This represents one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world,” he said.
To address the issue of youth unemployment, he maintained that, “UNDP – through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Youth Employment Scheme (YES) – aims to create a level playing field for the youth to use their potential to contribute to the development of the country.”
Mr Mokam explained that the Yanatol Resource Centre would develop the skills of its participants so that they would be ready for productive employment on completion of their courses.
“I hope that the youth who participate in this facility make good use of the opportunity of self-development available to them through the training courses organized. In addition to the technical training skills provided which are necessary for employment, the centre will also promote behavioural change; to ensure that the development of these technical skills are accompanied with positive moral values – a truly holistic approach to educational training,” he said.
He explained that the Yanatol Centre would serve youths from all over Freetown, and in particular those living in the eastern parts of the city, which is widely recognized as one of the depressed areas in the Western Area.
The Country Director stated that the support to the Yanatol Resource Centre clearly demonstrated the strong commitment of UNDP to the advancement of youths in Sierra Leone.
“It also demonstrates once again the support of UNDP to the Government of Sierra Leone’s efforts to alleviate youth unemployment in the country,” he noted.