By Amin Kef (Ranger)
The European Union, in partnership with International IDEA and the PPRC, has on the 18th May,2023 officially launched the maiden, “Youth in Democracy Internship Programme” that is designed to mobilize and capacitate young Sierra Leonean university graduates to acquire theoretical and practical skills on electoral and democratic governance, and to develop their interest and participation in the political and governance processes in Sierra Leone.
With funding by the European Union and technical assistance support provided by International IDEA, the first batch of 20 youth trainees will be deployed at the PPRC for a period of six months for both mentoring and experiential learning on the work of PPRC, including political party regulation and elections management and to provide human resource capacity to the Commission.
The Trainees were selected through a competitive recruitment process led by the PPRC with technical support from International IDEA. It is expected that following the maiden deployment, another set of trainees will be recruited, trained, and deployed with other democratic governance institutions in Sierra Leone.
The launch event will be followed by a three-day induction and training programme that will draw from International IDEA’s youth academy curriculum, the mandate and functions of the PPRC, and the duties and responsibilities of the trainees.
The training will also include 11 interns from the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) of the National Youth Commission of Sierra Leone, bringing the total to 31 young trainees who will be deployed to the PPRC.
Young people from within the West Africa sub-region are also invited to share their experiences in youth democratic participation and leadership within the region, to inspire the trainees and to strengthen regional networks.
Speaking on behalf of International IDEA, the Head of the Sierra Leone Country Programme, Dr. Idrissa Mamoud Tarawallie stated that: “Mobilizing and capacitating young people to be interested and meaningfully participate in democratic governance processes, is part of democracy nurturing and strengthening, which is an overarching objective of International IDEA, to nurture democracy across the world”.
The Chairman of PPRC Abdulai Masiyambay Bangurah, on behalf of the PPRC, said that the: “Commission is pleased to be the trailblazer in mobilizing and capacitating young people to meaningfully participate in electoral and democratic governance processes through internship and training programmes that will allow us to nurture the next cadre of democracy defenders, especially considering our new mandate enshrined in the 2022 PPRC Act”.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, Serena Bertaina (Head of Governance and CSOs) stated that: “ the European Union is firmly committed to make sure that all young people have the right and are given the opportunity to participate in democratic processes, in order to increase their voice and leadership, and to become active citizens in Sierra Leone and across the world.”
In his key note statement on behalf of the of the Minister of Youth Affairs and the National Youth Commission, the Commissioner of the National Youth Commission, Ngolo Katta noted that: “the Youth Commission and the Ministry of Youth Affairs are extremely pleased that our commitment to lifting the status of young people has been taken up in a more meaningful way by national institutions such as PPRC and our development Partners. This is laudable and we urge International IDEA and its donor, the EU to collaborate with the National Youth Commission in the future”.
The selection, launch, deployment, and support to the Youth in Democracy Traineeship Programme was made possible through the Sierra Leone Democracy Strengthening Programme, funded by the European Union, and implemented by International IDEA.
International IDEA is an intergovernmental organization that advances democracy worldwide, as a universal human aspiration and an enabler of sustainable development, through support to the building, strengthening, and safeguarding of democratic political institutions and processes at all levels.