Sierra Leone: YMCA Empowers 2816 Youths

By Stephen V. Lansana

Board member of National Youths Commission,Alphonzo Manley said that Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) has empowered 2816 youths from slummed communitiesin livelihood training.

Mr. Manley made this statement on Tuesday May 16th, during the welcome ceremony of the head of YMCA in Africa to Sierra Leone by the cross section of the beneficiaries in the Conference Hall of Ministry of Youth Affairs in Freetown. He said YMCA hassupported 2816 youths in livelihood training

He said that they are all beneficiaries of YMCA programme. He said that young people can now actively engage elders on issues that can transformed their lives and the community, adding that at first, young people were used as tugs. But now young people are now key strategic stakeholders in each and every community. They are used as an advocacy instrument for water, better roads, good governance and others that will bring development in the community.

He said YMCA has also supported young people across the country in non-violencetraining, adding that YMCA has supported Village Districts Committees (VDCs)in every village, they will ensure that young people are represented in each of these committees in the 149 chiefdoms, adding that this has increased youth’s participation in decision making in their communities. He said that YMCA has contributed towards the policies in the country.

In talking about transformation of communities, he said that all of the ghettos in Fire burn, Calaba Town, Wellington, Dwerziek communities most of the communities in Freetown have been transformed into skill training centers to build the capacity of youths. He said YMCA has trainedabout 10, 800 young people across the country in advocacy skills.

National General Secretary of YMCA, Christian Kamara said that they have done what it takes to transform the lives of young people in the country. He said that President Koroma have tried in creating the enabling environment for young people in the country.

He said that young people has all what it takes to be represented in parliament, adding that if young people come together devoid of political party affiliations and support young people in the next election so that they will have more young people in governances.

Foday Dumbuya, a beneficiary from the Aberdeen community, explained that YMCA is the first institution that changed his status in the society. He said that YMCA has trained a lot of young people in slummed communities, adding that his community has benefited from loan facilities and water well in their community. He added that YMCA has trained over 100 youths in his community. He stated that the young people are part of the network of slum community. He said that the have structures in which the intending aspirants like honourables and councilors will first of all come to them and make their intentions known to them.