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Sierra Leone News: Technical skills develop a country faster-Kono Mayor

The Mayor of Koindu, Kono, Kumba Mathew Sam, has said with enough technically skilled people, a country will develop faster. She said this while addressing 250 recent graduates from the sustainable skills and empowerment project for youths organized by Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) with support from Turning Foundation through Christian Aid Sierra Leone. The project targeted youths from Gbense, Fiama and Tankoro Chiefdoms working in partnership with Agriculture and Youth Ministries, District youth Coalition, Government Technical Institute and the local Council. According to the Kono NMDJ District Manager, Joseph Ansumana, before the out break of the deadly Ebola disease, it was estimated up to 70% of youth were unemployed lacking essential skills, literacy and numeracy. “It is also to improve livelihood needs of youth in Kono” he said, explaining that among the 250 beneficiaries, 45 engaged in driving skills, 50 on Information Communication Technology, 32 electricians, 15 refrigeration mechanics, 22 carpentry, 44 auto mechanics, 12 welders and 30 on IVS Development, swamp cultivation, vegetable gardening and marketing. According to Mayor Sam, the skills acquired by the grandaunts, if put into use, will create employment, which will in turn reduce lawlessness and crime. She said there are no readily available jobs for everyone but with their knowledge on technical skills their chances of employment are very high. “The ambition of the youths does not match the country’s status,” he said, explaining in most cases after completion of university or college youths intend to secure lucrative jobs but in reality that’s not the case in Sierra Leone. He called on the 250 grandaunts to replicate their ideas to others by encouraging their friends, brothers or even neighbours to go and acquire technical skills, which they will use to contribute towards the development of the country. According to Hon. Rebecca Yei Kamara, representing Constituency 029, Kono, she is aware of the fact not everyone will use the skills acquired but believes the vast majority will make the people of Kono proud within the next 2 years. She urged beneficiaries to go and complete the apprenticeship process with their various tutors. “We politicians are tired of using the youths of Kono. We want to see the best of you in terms of development,” she said, calling on the beneficiaries to stay away from violence and not to replicate the actions of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) beneficiaries who failed the nation after several training and empowerment. The Country Manager of Christian Aid, Jeanne Kamara, expressed appreciation to the beneficiaries especially the women who thought it fit to show interest in the project, stating, “You have made yourself useful and independent in life.” According to her the beneficiaries should make use of the opportunity and not to throw their certificates or sell the tools that will be given to them as start up kits. “You are now seen as agent of change in Kono. Go and make your district and people proud,” she urged, disclosing they have the intension to replicate their ideas to other districts based on the performance of this first batch of beneficiaries. According to one of the beneficiaries from the carpentry department, who is also a fashion designer in Kono, Lansana Tarawally, before joining the project life was tough as not always there will be sales on his business, but with his technical skills he can earn money on a daily basis. Victoria Piticoy, another beneficiary from the refrigeration department, said one of her greatest achievements is the completion of her training as a technician to repair air conditioners, fridges/freezers, among others. She said she can now look after her family with her savings and also support other young women in society. The Director of Finance and Administration NMJD, Khalidu M Abu, expressed appreciation in working and supporting the youths of Kono, assuring if the beneficiaries continue to demonstrate results NMJD will continue to seek funds to support them All the 250 beneficiaries were given start up kits in their various areas of specialty with valid certificates from the Technical Training Institute in Kono.

AMK/3/12/18

By Alhaji M. Kamara

Tuesday December 04, 2018.

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