The Minister of Youth Affairs of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mr Mohamed Orman Bangura has led a delegation on a study tour of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) and other youth empowerment programmes in Nairobi, Kenya.
The study tour provided an opportunity to engage with providers of Kenya’s youth programmes, sharing experiences including successes, challenges and best practice in a mutually beneficial knowledge exchange on Funds to empower the youth, who are a key component in the economic growth of a country.
Mr Bangura conveyed greetings to HE President Uhuru Kenyatta from HE President Dr Julius Maada Bio, thanking the Principal Secretary at Kenya’s State Department for Youth Affairs, Charles T Sunkuli for their willingness to engage in this exchange of experiences. The meeting commenced with a number of presentations given by heads of directorates on topics including: youth talent identification and innovation; youth enterprise development; exhibitions and trade fairs; job specific training skills; life skills training; business skills labour market information systems; social development and effective sustainable management.
Similarly, the Minister’s delegation visited the secretariats of the Uwezo Fund and YEDF respectively. Both flagship programmes of the Kenyan government’s Vision 2030, the Uwezo Fund is aimed at enabling women, youth and persons with disabilities access finances to promote businesses and enterprises at the constituency level, thereby enhancing economic growth towards the realisation of the same and the Sustainable Development Goals No.1 (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) and 3 (promote gender equality and empower women), while the YEDF’s strategic focus is on enterprise development as a key strategy that will increase economic opportunities for, and participation by Kenyan Youth in nation building. The Fund seeks to create employment opportunities for young people through entrepreneurship and encouraging them to be job creators and not job seekers. It does this by providing easy and affordable financial and business development support services to youth who are keen on starting or expanding businesses.
Discussions centred on operations, stakeholders; eligibility criteria; loan disbursement and repayment opportunitiescoaching and mentorship and training. A beneficiary was also present to give a firsthand account of how the YEDF fund has impacted his packaging business.
The Kenyan representatives at the State Department for Youth Affairs expressed their desire to conduct a similar visit to Sierra Leone following Mr Bangura’s delivery about ongoing projects in Sierra Leone including the Youth in Fisheries, Youth in Agriculture and Carwash programmes. Benson Muthendi, Acting CEO of the YEDF commended the Minister’s commitment to active research in pursuit of establishing a stellar National Youth Empowerment Fund in Sierra Leone.
Also present was Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Kenya, Madam Isatu A. Bundu who endeavoured to continue engagements with the various entities on the ground in Kenya in collaboration with the Ministry.
Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya