President Koroma launches National Youth Service Scheme
By State House Communication Unit
The National Youth Service (NYS) was launched today (Wednesday December 14, 2016) by His Excellency President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at the Sierra Leone Bank Complex in Kingtom, Freetown. The event was organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs in collaboration with the UN System and Volunteer Organizations.
The scheme, which was launched under the theme “Global Applause – give volunteers a hand”, aims to provide young people with opportunities to gain valuable work experience, promote self-discipline, expand their knowledge of Sierra Leone’s social and cultural diversities and help to bridge ethnic divide.
President Koroma had first announced the initiative in his State Opening of Parliament address in 2013, where he dedicated his administration to the service of Sierra Leonean youth.
In his keynote address, the president described the move as a catalyst for youth development in fulfillment of his pledge to address the challenges of youth employability and empowerment. According to President Koroma, the National Youth Service will not only help the youth to nurture and cultivate positive work ethos which is a major challenge affecting their career development and attainment of their professional goals, but also enhance their sense of patriotism and promote national cohesion.
He urged all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); development partners as well as the private sector to “rise up to the occasion and embrace this unique opportunity to promote the productivity of our young graduates”.
The president stressed on the need to provide the institutional framework to actualize his commitment to the country’s youth, saying that the Agenda for Prosperity, the National Youth Programme 2014-2018 (A blueprint for Youth Development) and the revised National Youth Policy of 2014 constitute his development vision and programme of action for youth development and transformation in Sierra Leone. “The creation of a separate Ministry of Youth Affairs, establishment of a National Youth Commission, the appointment of a Presidential Youth Aide, the formation of a National Youth Council with its affiliate youth structures at district and chiefdom levels, and today, the establishment of a National Youth Service”, President Koroma said, explain his commitment to the youth of Sierra Leone.
Minister of Youth Affairs, Bai Mahmoud Bangura, said the launching of the National Youth Service will create more opportunities for young people and recalled the president’s commitment to empowering the youth as captured in his 2013 State Opening of Parliament address. He said that the payment of fees for all college and university students, enhancing the opening of the Limkwoking University, the commencement of the National Youth Village are testimonies of President Koroma’s strides towards youth empowerment. The minister noted that the NYS will create a new arena that would prepare the youth for the job market as well as foster the demonstration of nationalism, patriotism, loyalty, national service and integration. He disclosed that his ministry is hoping to establish a national youth empowerment fund as they are assiduously working on projects that will target the educated, the uneducated and a productive engagement of the youth across the country. He also registered his ministry’s commitment to supporting the Agenda for Prosperity.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner of the National Youth Commission, Anthony Koroma, said the National Youth Service is the first of its kind in the Mano River Union and will serve as a platform of transformation of the youth, provides a reserved force, provides jobs and job experience and a competent national workforce. He informed that the NYS includes a National Youth Service Scheme, Youth National Award Scheme and a National Community Service Volunteer Scheme, adding that university and college graduates will not be serving in their districts of origin. He went on to state that young people in the service will be given a three week orientation and also provide midterm training on entrepreneurship, management among others.