Sierra Leone’s youth have been challenged to take the lead in creating awareness about Agenda 2063 and the African Renaissance. The country’s Minister of Youth Affairs, Alimamy Kamara, made the challenge to youth when he spoke about it a fortnight ago. He spoke at a civic engagement forum involving 20 Sierra Leonean youth who were attending a week-long training focused on: leadership, advocacy, civic engagement, and communication.
The youths are foundational trainers who are being trained to conduct trainings for other young people across Sierra Leone.
In his more than one-hour engagement with participants, the Youth Affairs Minister urged young people of Sierra Leone to see themselves as Agents of Change and catalysts to drive the African Renaissance. Minister Kamara underscored the need for the YMCA and other development organisations to train more young people, whom he said will be the implementers of Agenda 2063, as well as ‘drivers’ of the change and development envisaged in Africa in the years to come. “Africa needs progressive minded youth”, the Minister asserted. He said the youth are the ones who should engage their peers and conscientise them in order to engender new mind-sets that will result in positive youth-led actions at the community level.
The Youth Affairs Minister admonished youth to be strong and unwavering in their advocacy for peace, better healthcare, education and job opportunities. “We depend on you to make the government more responsive to your needs. This can be done if you acquire credible voice to influence policymakers at the local, national and continental levels. Make your voice count.”
Minister Kamara pledged his unflinching commitment to work with the YMCA and other like-minded youth organisations to develop programmes that foster innovative solutions to youth problems. “We must work to keep our young people away from drugs and harmful substances. We must encourage females to stay in school and develop themselves for the future. We cannot have a renaissance when young girls are dropping out of school and having babies. How can you adequately carry out your motherly duties when you are not fully prepared?”
The Youth Minister urged young men of Africa to work very hard in bringing their female counterparts to the forefront of all development programmes. “A society that leaves its females behind is not a progressive society, progress is achieved when men and women of goodwill come together and embark on initiatives to change their communities for the better.”
Agenda 2063 is a document crafted by the African Union Commission, laying out the aspirations for the African continent, leading up to the year 2063. African YMCAs are working together to contribute to the achievement of the Agend2063 aspirations.
By: Alston C. Armah, S2C Ambassador, Sierra Leone