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Sierra Leone Inaugurates 200 Graduate Youth Corps

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Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on Thursday 20th September, 2018 inaugurated the firstbatch of 200 National Youth Graduate Corps at the Peace Keeping Military Facility at Robgangba, Hastings in the eastend of the capital.

While giving the inaugural statement marking the official induction of the first batch of the National Youth Service Corps, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh re-echoed His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio’s commitment to fully implement the National Youth Scheme which according to him, is one of the government’s several plans to tackle challenges faced by youth empowerment in the country.

September 20th 2018, the Hon. Vice President said, would be gallantly written in the country’s history as the day the Government of His Excellency President Bio fulfilled one of his pledges and as a day the dream of the late Dr. Sir Milton Margai has come to reality. Dr. Sir Milton Margai was the first politician who mooted the need for a Sierra Leone National Youth Service as a tool for national integration, unity and development.

Sierra Leone, the Vice President furthered, is a nation of young people whose growth depends mainly on the attentiveness of youth to gain the mandatory skills, experience and positive mental attitude.

Speaking on the importance of the scheme, the Hon. Vice President explained that the National Youth Scheme is a platform created to increase youth participation in governance.

He added that the scheme also provides opportunities for young people to develop lofty and priceless qualities in areas such as discipline, industry, patriotism, loyalty, integrity, professionalism and dedication to national cause.

“It is a rite of passage into a world of citizenship and responsibility.” VP Jalloh reiterated.

He maintained that, the National Youth Scheme is a catalyst for youth and national development as it will provide youths with opportunities to gain valuable work experience, develop their self-discipline and expand their knowledge of the country’s cultural diversity.

He said, as a government, they are confident that the scheme will no doubt augment the sense of patriotism of the youths of this nation, promote national cohesion and help nurture and cultivate a positive work ethic, which is pivotal to their career development and realization of professional goals.

Hon. Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh called on all Ministries, Departments and Agencies including the development community and private sector, to embrace such a distinctive opportunity to uphold the efficiency of the country’s young graduates by creating spaces and resources needed to budge the scheme further. He applauded UNDP, UNFPA and UN Volunteers for their contributions to the Ministry of Youth Affairs in enabling the rolling out of the scheme.

In administering the pledge, the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Abdulai Charm congratulated the Corps and advice that as they are the pioneers of the scheme, the success of the scheme depends on them. If they succeed, he went on, they will inspire the government to do more and their colleagues to be part of the scheme.

The Minister of Youth Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Umar Bangura in his statement said that the government of His Excellency promised to empower the youth of this nation by conquering youth unemployment in order to fight against poverty and to consolidate peace. He said in the New Direction, youth problem was their topmost priority, as it was viewed as a human development and security challenge. His Excellency, he said, applied a holistic approach by prioritizing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and National Youth Scheme among others to fight the war on indiscipline.

The Minister of Tertiary Education, called one the Corps to be humble and friendly with those they are going to be working with as they are representing the nation. He also encouraged them to be disciplined while performing their respective functions. ‘We are expecting a positive feedback after your volunteerism that you are great people, humble, friend and above all you are productive’, he added.

The VSO Country Director, in his remarks, congratulated the Government of Sierra Leone and the 200 Corps for making the NYS Scheme a reality. The scheme, he said, is a good opportunity for the Corps to be part of the nation building process. He reaffirmed VSO commitment in supporting volunteerism for development and youth empowerment in Sierra Leone through national and international volunteerism.

In her address, the Country Director of UNFPA, Madam Natalia Kareem on behalf of her organization said that the inaugural ceremony of the first batch of 200 National Youth Service Corps is a dream come true and that they at UNFPA believed in a world where every person’s potential is realized.

She said, ‘to access a country’s demographic dividend and it potentials for economic growth, the country’s working population must be larger than the non- working population with an increasing number of young people’; Sierra Leone, she said, is not an exception.

She assured the Government of Sierra Leone of her organization’s continuous commitment in supporting the scheme and welcoming some of the Corps to work in her organization with their wealth of skills and experiences and to contribute to the development of the nation.

The Resident Coordinator of UNDP, in his statement, spoke about the benefit of the scheme which he said, will impact values, principles, skills of service and volunteerism into the Corps.

He admonished the Corps to have love for their country and the people and to share the knowledge with the people they are going to work with and in turn learn from their good potentials. He reminded them of the core values of the scheme which is, to develop their attitudes and skills to become good employees.

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