In the quest for a positive change of attitude across the country, the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat has started a five day youth empowerment training at the WAGA (War Affected Girls and Adult ) Hall Gbaiima Road, Southern Region Bo City from 16th June to 20th June,2014 with the theme:” Working towards Prosperity: Youth Empowerment and Positive Attitudes.”
At the opening session of the program, the Chairman Mr. Gibrilla Kamara who is also the Provincial Secretary South in his opening remarks lured the effort of the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change Secretariat and informed the gathering that he was very happy for this venture taken by the Secretariat as lawlessness and other negative attitudes like gangstarism, cultism and drug abuse have become the other of the day in the country. He also advise the different youth groups to treat this workshop with all the seriousness it deserves. According to him, the aim of this workshop was to imbibe and inculcate in the minds of youth groups the values of positive attitude for self- actualization of their potentials.
Members of the high table
The Mayor of Bo City Council His Worship Harold L. Tucker, in his key note address informed the participant that prosperity means happiness, health and wealth including public perception about the individual. He went further to explain the success stories of the Bo City Council Waste Management. He said that youths have been employed by the Council to collect garbage which is transformed to compost and sold at Le 50,000 per bag.
Mayor of the Bo City, His Worship Harold L. Tucker addressing
the youth during the Opening ceremony
The Mayor advised the youths to deviate from negative attitudes and cited the fracas between the police and the commercial bike riders (okada riders) stressing the youths should avoid chaos and atrocities. He acknowledge that youths are very important in our societies thus the nations assets. The Bo Mayor encouraged youths to start reacting to community issues in a positive manner. He warned strongly that commercial bike riders should not be used as political tools to foment political instability through violence but as partners in community and national development. He praised the proprietress of WAGA that she started her business on a very small scale and has now expanded it due to determination and entrepreneurship.
The Assistant Inspector General of Police Southern Region, Mr David Sesay in his statement informed the youths that the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) is faced with lots of challenges in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities and that most of these challenges are coming from youth groups who are unemployed. As a result they are always vulnerable to commit crimes either consciously or unconsciously, when the crimes are committed, the SLP is left with no other option but to apprehend perpetrators and prosecute them before the court of law. The SLP is with the conviction that if youths are engaged in various training programmes tapping talents, it will reduce the numerous challenges of the police as a result of negative behaviours of the youth.
The Executive Director of the ABC Secretariat Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas in declaring the purpose and intent of the training explained to the youth groups that this project is regional, as it will be replicated in all the regions of Sierra Leone in the first instance and later in all the 14 District of the Country. He explained that youths are very important in society and that is the reason why the Secretariat have come closer to the youths to empower and develop their potentials. Dr Thomas outlined other youths intervention in the country such as working with Okada Riders and Attaya Base Youths country wide”. The ABC Executive Director emphasized that the training targeted unemployed youth who have special skills that could be developed for production and industry. He maintained that youths should work towards prosperity with positive attitude. Dr. Thomas encouraged the youth for paradigm shift from negative to positive behaviour through empowerment and comportment.
Executive Director ABC, Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas delivering the intent and purpose of the Programme
The Regional Coordinator National Youth Commission South, Mr. Kabbah Sesay summarised his Institution’s aim, vision and mission in the region. He was very happy with the theme chosen by the ABC Secretariat which is ”working towards Prosperity : Youth Empowerment and Positive Attitude”. He believed that prosperity is achieved through positive attitude and hard work. He encouraged the youths to treat the training seriously and to apply lessons learnt in real life situations”, he added.
The Gender Desk Officer from the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender & Children’s Affairs, Mrs Jeneba Koroma remark that she sympathised with the youths who are unemployed and thanked the ABC Secretariat for taking the venture of empowering them stressing that in their engagement, the youths should develop self-confidence and self -esteem. She stressed that through training, the youths will be able to develop their talent and become productive in future. She expressed her happiness of seeing a large number of female participant in the training and she encouraged them to participate very well in order to add more value to their skills.
In the Technical Session, the National Coordinator and Second in Command, Madam Nanette Thomas who presented on the topic ”The Importance of Youth Empowerment and Positive Attitudes” told the youths that they should have confidence in themselves and that they should always work towards their goals. According to her, attitude is a combination of your thinking, your emotion, your way of viewing events and circumstances around you and your perception. She further went on to say that there is power in positive attitudes; according to her ”the power of positive attitudes allows you to adapt to change and evolve” .
National Coordinator and Second-in Command during her presentation
The lecturer from the Department of Performing Arts Njala University, Mr. Albert Tyre presented on the topic ”finding your Niche in the Performing Arts; how to identify and develop your talents”. According to him, talent identification is key in promoting ones desire. Youths should be able to broaden their horizon for the fulfilment of their potentials, they should think outside the box and live their comfort zone in search of knowledge and skills to publish their talent .”With skills such as Gara-tie-dyeing , Film Production and others, you will become self-reliance”.
Cross section of youths during the programme
The Regional Coordinator South, Mrs Alice Hawa Fatorma presented on the topic: Leadership, Budget Management and Project Proposal. According to her, leadership is the social process of influencing the behaviours of others without posing any threat. She further told participant that project proposal and budgeting are key document in determining the success of any business venture .