BACKGROUND AND PROBLEM ANALYSIS
The population of Sierra Leone grew by 3.2 per cent between 2004 and 2015 from about 5 to 7 million people. The majority of the population is young, with eight out of ten people being under 35 years old. About 41 per cent are under the age of 15 and 62.5 per cent are under 25 years old.
Analysis of the socio-economic situations of youth both males and females in Sierra Leone reveals that due to various socio-cultural factors, they do not often benefit from the fruits of economic growth. Rather, economic growth often impacts their situation adversely. General socio-economic deterioration which was occasioned by the 11 year civil war exacerbated the circumstances of these marginalized groups.
The Sierra Leone National Youth Policy defines youth as young men and women between the ages of 15 and 35 years. Youths form the skeletal framework of the economy of the country and according to the 2004 National Population Census. It is contended that a large proportion of youth are marginalized. The worst affected groups include:
- Youths with disabilities
- School dropouts
- The unemployed
- Rural youth
- Commercial sex workers
- Drug addicts
- Youth living with HIV/ABCS
- Victims of sexual abuse
- Pregnant girls
- Teenage mothers
Various estimates indicate that unemployment is the highest among youth especially between the ages of 18 and 35. The poverty profile affirms that young adults – especially between the ages of 15 and 24 are among the poorest of the poor.
It is widely claimed that economic inequity as a major factor in the recently concluded rebel war: many youth joined the ranks of the rebels in the hope of economic benefits and future security. This explains their active involvement in diamond mining, and in the widespread looting that characterized the war.
Youths have undergone violent and profound changes in the last two decades, with serious consequences for any meaningful attempts to reduce poverty in Sierra Leone. The pre-war years were characterized by exclusion and very low investment in youth development and education and by hardly any real opportunities for youth employment. The war worsened this problem because it exposed them to physical violence as (combatants and as victims of war), rape, looting and drug abuse. In the post war period, direct consequences of their poverty and widespread lack of opportunities for productive engagement have included drug peddling, prostitution and theft. Owing mainly to commercial sex, which has been adopted by many youths as a means of survival, the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases – including HIV/ABCS is on the increase.
Another consequence of youth poverty since the war has been accelerated by the pace of rural-urban migration in search of elusive opportunities – a fact which depresses production potential in the rural areas, and also leads to increased frustration of such youth in their urban destination areas.
Many people who were children during and immediately after the civil war have since turned into youths. These lost the opportunities of education and family life, and still carry with them the trauma of their war experiences. Youths are generally explosive in behavior and difficult to control because of their varied wants. Many of them are illiterate, school dropouts, unemployed and idle, living in deplorable conditions in rural as well as urban settings.
Numerous such youths have psychosocial problems. They are social misfits and today swell the ranks of the unemployed and unemployable. Their problems also need to be addressed urgently.
Promote the socio-economic status of youths through capacity building for job opportunities and livelihood sustainability.
The specific objectives of this project include
- To support 50 youths in small-scale enterprise development and provision of start-up grants.
- To train 100 youths in marketable vocational skills and provide start-up kits.
Duration of the Project
The project will be implemented for a period of 24 months.
Project area and Target Population
The project will be implemented in the targeted communities within the Western Rural Area. The project will specifically target female and male youth between the ages of 15 – 35 years. The target group will include vulnerable and other youth and will cater for 150 youths (75 female youth) over a one year period.
Main Component and Activities
Consistent with the above background, problem analysis, objectives and coverage, this project will utilize previous experience acquired by organization over the years in the implementation of similar project activities.
Small-scale enterprise development:
50 youths will be organized to undertake the following main activities for this component. This will include: financial and management support to existing local artisan within the communities; remedial education for trainers and trainees; payment of stipends to trainers and trainees; providing training tool kits and organizing youths into co-operatives based on skills acquired and establishing parent committees for policy making and monitoring of training.
Vocational Skills Training:
100 youths will be trained in a cluster of skills identified with existing opportunities and needs in specified locations. Overall, the following disciplines will be considered as options: Auto mechanics, Carpentry, Tailoring, Hairdressing, and soap making. Literacy and numeracy skills will also be built into the training programme.
- Skills Training Options: The need to improve the socio-economic base of youths through support to training in marketable skills, to contribute to sustainable development through enterprise development which is paramount in post conflict situations like Sierra Leone.
- Academic: As majority of the youths are illiterate/semi-illiterate it is deeming necessary for basic literacy and numeracy courses to be taught in order for them to identify measurement in their various skills and also to be able to account on the small-scale business enterprises development. Not with standing this, awareness raising, decision making, and leadership courses will be taught.
- Workshops: Three major workshops are to be conducted for capacity building of both trainers and trainees within the two year implementation period: Vocational skills curriculum review; small scale business skills Trainers’ workshop; and small scale business skills Trainees’ workshop.
- Equipment and Tools: Trainees will be provided with the appropriate basic tools/equipment for the one year duration and be part of the starter package after completion of the course.
- Supervision: Organization will recruit two field staff and one project manager with requisite experience to the Youth project.
- Centre Facilitators: Lead facilitators and facilitators will be identified and appointed to provide overall supervision and training respectively in each center in the targeted communities due to the apparent absence of established vocational training centers in these communities. To ease identification, all facilitators and lead facilitators in vocational centers will be provided with identification cards (ID).
- Stipend for Facilitators: All facilitators including lead facilitators will receive monthly stipends according to qualification and responsibilities.
- Lunch for Trainees and Facilitators: As majority of the trainees come from afar, it is deem necessary for lunch to be provided for them and the trainers to enhance quality delivery in the centers. A flat rate of ten thousand leones (le 5,000) per person will be provided.
- Light refreshment at Steering Committee Meetings: In order for the non-formal sector of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MEST) to be actively involved in the project, quarterly meeting with them for updates is required wherein light refreshment will be provided.
- Facilitators Coordination Meeting: In keeping abreast with what is going on in the various centers, facilitators will be required to give coverage of monthly coordination meeting, update and joint monthly plans. This will reflects stationery, lunch and transport reimbursement to facilitators.
- Launching and Orientation: In order to ensure on-going sensitization and awareness raising, launching and orientation of the project as an activity per location.
- Facilitators Exchange Visit: This to enhance learning and sharing of knowledge among the facilitators for effective delivery. It will be observed once a year by each center.
- Caretakers and Security: For effective learning atmosphere and safety of materials and equipment in the centers caretaker should be recruited. And to also avoid loss of valuable property in the centre night security is also needed.
- Teaching Cost: This will constitute teaching and learning material (TLM) for the various vocational skills and academic, maintenance of TLM for vocational skills (10% of procurement cost). Purchasing of T-shirt for trainees will also be costed.
- Operational Cost: This constitutes transportation and minimal administrative cost as related to monitoring and supervision. Hence, budget for hauling of equipment and materials, stationery and documentation during the one year will be costed.