As the elections draw nearer the Centre for the Coordination of Youth Activities (CCYA) organised a national youth dialogue conference to keep youth informed about the electoral process; their role in democracy and post-war Sierra Leone.
At the just concluded conference, youth zoomed on how youth issues were addressed in various political manifestoes.
Looking at the All People’s Congress (APC) manifesto, youth discovered that it addresses youth issues under the subheading: Youth and Sports.
According to a CCYA’s statement, “the APC manifesto highlights pressing problems such as youth unemployment, a failure to foster a culture of civic responsibility, school underperformance and high dropout rates, stressing the need for the cooperation between the public sector, national and international non-governmental organisations”.
The APC manifesto recommends for the creation of the National Youth Training programme; the revision of existing National Youth Policy and also calls for a greater coordination in programming that support youth activities.
The strategies the APC manifesto believes would achieve these aims include: providing greater support for sporting events; expanding the youth policy with the creation of youth executives in all district councils; and the introduction of a National Youth Service Crops.
For the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), “section (g) of its manifesto” looks at youth issues. It forwards strategies for addressing youth issues in this section looks at youth employment and development.
Strategies highlighted in the manifesto are: to increase state allocation to youth activities as an arm of the local government; mobilize external support to address youth empowerment and employment; establish a National Youth Commission to better coordinate and mainstream youth concerns into policy making, and a Youth Trust Fund to finance the commission’s work; stimulate the private sector to generate employment and improve the capacity of the young by providing training for unskilled or semi-skilled and to support local councils to mainstream youth employment and participation issues into public policies at the chiefdom and district levels.
The People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC)’s manifesto places youth empowerment as a major commitment in its core objectives.
According to the PMDC manifesto, section 6.2 seeks to ensure greater participation of the youth in governance; prepare the youth for job opportunities; engage in skill training, and augment the capacity of the youth.
As for United National People’s Party (UNNP) manifesto, it has acknowledge youth as a great asset, as it makes reference about the youth “the youth of any country is their greatest asset and we need to find a way to help educate and train our youth so that we can give them the opportunities they deserve.”