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Sierra Leone News: Addressing gender gaps in the labour force

Young people aged 15-35, make up one third of the population of Sierra Leone and youth unemployment was a major root cause of the outbreak of civil conflict in Sierra Leone. According to the UNDP, approximately 70% of youth are underemployed or unemployed and an estimated 800,000 youth today are actively searching for employment. The UNDP pointed out that unemployment is the greatest threat to the stability of our country and to our democracy. The UNDP concluded that finding solutions as to how to grow the country economy so that it can produce jobs is the biggest single issue confronting our country. In an effort to harness the dividends of Sierra Leone unemployed graduates, UNICEF on Wednesday 26 September 2018 offered nine female graduates from the University of Sierra Leone a six month internship programme. The internship programs, Fatou Taqi, Head of Career Guidance and Counseling, noted is an initiative geared towards enhancing the employability of our graduates and also to expose graduates to first-hand experience with the real world of work. This opportunity, Taqi stated, will equip inexperienced graduates to work under pressure, getting along with colleagues and working in remote places. Taqi deliberated on the challenge of most university graduates seeking job pointing out the issue of working experience as a major challenge. With such an initiative, Taqi added, “We believe that our graduates will be absorbed into the job market as we are also deliberating with other UN institutions to replicate this same initiative which UNICEF is taking the lead.” Deliberating on the gender gap in the labour force in Sierra Leone, UNICIEF representative, Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim said young African women are even worse off, he pointed out, noting that it is estimated that gender gaps in the labour force cost Africa $105 billion in 2014 alone so UNICEF positive discrimination in selecting only female graduate is to address such loss. The selected graduates, Munda Rogers said, will serve in different fields in UNICEF’ operation across Sierra Leone.

SV/26/9/18

By Sylvia Villa

Thursday September 27, 2018.

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