On Tuesday 2nd February 2021, the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL) launched the Skills for Empowerment Project at their Rapid Engagement Activation of Practical Skills (REAPS) Vocational Training Institute at A. J. Momoh Street, Tower Hill, Freetown.
The $22 million World Bank project granted under the Skills Development Fund (SDF) to be supervised by the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and the Government of Sierra Leone and implemented by REAPS Vocational Institute will target youths to acquire various technical and vocational skills.
The Chief Executive Officer- EFSL, Rev. Jonathan T. Williams said the project is an opportunity for youths to be holistically developed in body and spirit. “At EFSL, we help youths to discover skills, develop and deploy them,” he said. “The skills learned will earn them employment in relevant sectors that will help contribute to national development.”
For his part, Hon Bangalie, giving an overview of the SDF project said, its goal is to reduce the youth dependency syndrome in the country noted by the saying: ‘Bra you borbor dae o!’
“The government of Sierra Leone in a bid to solve the high youth unemployment rate asked the World Bank to fund their project, which they did. Its lifespan is five years running from 2018 – 2023. After their training, 68-70 percent of them are expected to be gainfully employed and boost the Small Scale and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector,” he averred.
The team leader for the EFSL Skills for Empowerment Project, Gadiru Bassie, said REAPS will target 288 participants – 173 females and 115 males, with the potential to increase the scale. “The training will focus on seven areas such as Solar Installation, Maintenance, Agro-business, Dress Making, Catering and Hotel Management, Metal Work and Construction. The goal is to improve the capacity of young people to acquire decent jobs,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Ngolo Katta, National Youth Commission (NAYCOM), said: “Seven out of 10 people in this country are youths. Empowering them will boost the local economy. That is why the project is targeting 17,000 young people nationwide. We want the youths to be the drivers of change in their communities.”
On behalf of the REAPS Institute Board of Trustees, Detective ASP Joan Bull Esq. expressed gratitude for the project and quoted William Shakespeare’s “some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness trust upon them” line, adding that the training has the potential to make the trainees great.
The Head of Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) at the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education (MOTHE), Dr Victor Massaquoi, said the project has the capacity to make the youths efficient, independent and productive, reduce crime among youths, make them entrepreneurs and give them self-esteem.
He urged the REAPS Institute to put emphasis on the training objectives and quality delivery, comply with the SDF standards for recommended outputs and be accountable and transparent with effective communication.