News / Africa

Sierra Leone Publishes First-Ever Status of Youth Report

A boy stands on a road at dawn in Freetown, Sierra Leone, November 2012.
A boy stands on a road at dawn in Freetown, Sierra Leone, November 2012.
— Imagine living on less than two dollars a day. That is what 70 percent of young people in Sierra Leone do, according to the United Nations. A new study is the first to focus on the status of the nation's youth.
 
Ibrahim Bangura wades through the water with a fishing net, hoping for a good catch. This is how he makes his living, though not by choice. Bangura, who is 20 years old, said he had to drop out of school because he could not afford the fees of approximately $125 a year. He said selling the fish he catches helps him just make ends meet. Normally he makes about $2 to $3 a day.

That is the sad reality for the majority of Sierra Leone's young people. The country's unemployment rate stands at 60 percent, one of the highest in West Africa, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The U.N. organization helped finance and write a report on the state of Sierra Leone's youth.
 
UNDP analyst Marbey Sartie said the report not only points up the problems, but it also looks for solutions. He said the report recommends the government look at industries, such as tourism, to help alleviate youth unemployment.   
 
"It has about 360 kilometers of very clean beach, which can attract tourist investment. It is the hope of the development plan of this country, and the report brought it out clearly, that that is one area, if explored properly, it can create a lot of jobs for youth," said Sartie.
 
Anthony Koroma is the commissioner for the National Youth Commission, an organization that also was involved in writing the report. He said agriculture is another area where young people can be employed. "We are also targeting rural youth, to be able to process cassava, oil palm and rice and also to provide post training and employment support."
 
The report also noted that young women find it even more difficult when it comes to education and job opportunities, with their wages often one-third of their male co-workers.
 
Fatmata Mansaray works as a waitress in the downtown area of Freetown. She said her salary sometimes is under $100 a month and is not enough when she is only breadwinner of a small family. "We are really straining in Sierra Leone. Things are not going good for us," she said.
 
Mansaray wants to expand her horizons to one day having her own catering company, but said she has not had the proper guidance to pursue her dream.
 
Sierra Leone Ministry of Youth Affairs Information Officer Musa Conteh said the ministry is looking at new ways to encourage and empower the nation's youth. Conteh said providing role models may be one way to encourage women and show them they can be as successful as men.

"We are trying to put in place where we can see role models, visit certain youth groups all over the country, talk to them, tell them about their success story so that they can share the same experience and copy the same positive things,” said Conteh.
 
The Status of Youth report is expected to now be issued annually, and it can be used to map progress toward giving Sierra Leone's young people more employment and opportunity.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid