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Sierra Leone News: PaRD-SL Certifies 175 Youth Entrepreneurs in Pujehun

Cross section of the trainees with their certificates after the graduation in group photo with PaRD-SL OfficersPaRD-SL on Wednesday 5th February certified 175 youths trained in value addition of cassava and rice processing in Pujehun district.
The certification ceremony marked the end of the first phase activity in the implementation of the Youth Employment Support Project (YESP) ‘’ provision of skills development and employment support to rural youth’’ funded by the World Bank and Government of Sierra Leone.
The youth received skills training in value addition of cassava and rice processing, business entrepreneurship, banking processes, basic book keeping and accounting, basic literacy and numeracy and cross cutting issues in the Pujehun Growth Centre.
In his opening statement, the chairman of the occasion the Deputy Chairman of Pujehun district council Mr. Kalilu Fofanah thanked the World Bank for the support and the government of SL for such a laudable venture in addressing the youth unemployment problem facing young people in Pujehun district and the country at large. He promised the Pujehun District Council unflinching support to the YESP as he called on youth in the district to emulate their colleagues.
The Director of PaRD-SL Mahmoud B. Kargbo in his statement outlined that PaRD-SL signed a contract on the 27th February, 2012 between IPAU, MoFED and PaRD-SL as the lead implementing agency for the Provision of Skills Development and Employment Support to Rural Youths.
A total of 3000 rural youths are to be trained in eight districts of which Pujehun is among.  The project principally targets youths within the age bracket of 18 – 35 years and need no specialised educational requirement to enrol for the training.
He informed his audience that the project has three key objectives to provide employable skills development in Value Addition of cassava, rice and oil palm processing and to also help trainees to establish and start-up businesses in cassava, rice and oil palm processing and linking the trainees to employment opportunities.
During the training, these youths received stipends and upon completion, these beneficiaries were formed into cooperatives and provided with start-up capital and packaging kits. Machines procured like rice mills, De-stoners, Cassava Graters, Pressers, Plastic sealing machines, Bag sewing machines, weighing machines, patching trays & sticks, 2kva generators, Hammer Mills, oil palm milling machine were installed at various processing centres in each district.
He briefly explained the selection process which is through balloting and preference is only given to people with disability and women after meeting the registration requirements of being between the ages brackets 18-35 and must be a resident of the district and most importantly a Sierra Leonean with the willingness to learn.
He called on the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity so that they will be able to make a difference in their lives and their  communities. He concluded by calling on NGOs/CBOs implementing youth programmes to partner together in building synergies for better coordination of youth related activities in the district. He thanked the Manager of Growth Centre Pujehun District, Solomon Massaquoi and his institution for a successful training.
The keynote speaker who is the Regional Coordinator of NAYCOM, Kabba-Sesay who represented the NAYCOM commissioner referred to the young beneficiaries as the chosen few, out of many young people who have not access such opportunity in Pujehun district.
He emphasised the commission’s relentless efforts with its partners in addressing the key challenge of youth unemployment and under employment in SL through the astute leadership of its Commissioner. He challenged the youth of Pujehun of their immense potentials if only they are ready to utilise these potentials.
Representative of the Dist. Director of MAFFS Pujehun district Philip Rogers also commended the efforts of NAYCOM and PaRD-SL in complementing the work of the ministry and promised to support the cooperatives who have already registered with the ministry as FBOs.
Various statements were made by key personalities including the district youth chairman Mohamed Fullah,  Solomon Massaquoi of Growth Center, Saidatu Leigh NGO representative. PC Samuel A.S Gbonda gave the welcome address whilst various cooperatives made exhibition of their products which attracted a lot of interest from guests and well-wishers within the Township of Pujehun and its environs.
Tuesday February 11, 2014

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