By Amin Kef Sesay
If there are two institutions in this country that should be incessantly commended with regards supporting Youth Empowerment then the Africa Youth Voices (AYV) and Africell-Sierra Leone do deserve such. It is no gainsay that these two institutions, over the years, have tremendously and magnanimously extended humane gestures to boost sporting activities, the entertainment industry, incorporating young people as Brand Ambassadors, offered job opportunities and rolled out mapped out programmes that have seen growth in those sectors and help tap the innate and hidden talents that young people possess, make them become millionaires overnight ,promoted entrepreneurship and on and on.
Still within the realm of enhancing youth empowerment, these two institutions have again teamed up to stage or present Housemates Salone-Season 2 (2020), “The Last Standing Couple” with the theme ‘Quarantine Drama’ after bagging widespread thumps up for the successfully completion of Season 1 that was widely viewed in and out of the country.
It is indisputable that in any given society young people are key to any development process. They are energetic with fresh minds, are curious, always trying to discover new things and can serve as role models. Young people are contributing diversely towards nation building and their invaluable contributions in various spheres of life cannot be overemphasized. However, what these young people really need, talking in this context about the ambitious ones and not those who bask in laziness, crime, always building castles in the air, is POSITIVE EMPOWERMENT in order to sharpen their skills, improve or tap their potentials so that they could become very productive citizens in society.
This is exactly what AYV and Africell-SL have once again embarked upon by fusing entertainment and empowerment, which some may call ‘Edutainment’, via Housemates Salone-Season2. Twenty Housemates, staying under the same roof for 60 days, physically cut off from the rest of the world, socializing, learning useful skills like cooking, singing, going through trials on how to articulately express themselves in different situations, setting goals they want to achieve, learning how to resolve conflicts, playing games, swimming and so on will definitely transform them more than they were before.
Some may be tempted to just want to dismiss the aforementioned as things that are infinitesimal vis-à-vis youth empowerment but when we consider them critically, some of those attributes that will be imbibed by the Housemates will obviously contribute greatly in making them later on in life become successful and productive citizens that could positively impact the lives of other young people thereby leading to a healthier nation.
But let us look at it again from another perspective. The Housemates will be in the spotlight. People from near and far will come to know them. Such an exposure could create a situation wherein influential people would spot their talents and later decide to bring them on-board certain projects and the rest could be ‘heaven’s way’.
If we can go down memory lane, Kenchin Palmer was exposed during the Housemates Salone Season 1. As the winner of that competition, he bagged the covetous prize and because of his exposure, together with some stakeholders he was able to stage a show in London. He was signed as Brand Ambassador for the Sierra Juice Company in Freetown and now advertising the company’s products. Some of the other participants in that Show were earmarked to be casts in documentary films that try to bring out societal ills, especially those relating to young people with the aim of effecting change.
Besides, for the winner to bag the mouth-watering prize of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Leones (Le250M) and to undertake a round trip to Dubai is really an opportunity many young people would like to achieve in life. For some, they would vow that bagging such money will make them never poor in life poor. As a matter of fact the winner will be empowered to such an extent that he or she will come up with a project to be rolled out that could impact the lives of other young people. In other words, the show will have a cascading effect.
As was stated by the pragmatic and result oriented Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AYV, Ambassador Anthony Navo Jr, who was recently recognized as one of the most reputable Africans out of one hundred African personalities assessed by Reputation Poll International, a leading global reputation management firm, during the closing courtesies of Big Sister Salone in 2018, “Big Sister is an amazing show which has brought a sense of direction and uplifting in the entertainment industry in Sierra Leone. The show has brought social cohesion and unity to Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad devoid of their political, cultural and other biases.”
He furthered, “I feel very proud to have provided this platform to give opportunity to our young women to rediscover their potentials and add meaning to their lives, and I wish on behalf of the entire team, to register our thanks and appreciation to everyone who has contributed to this success.”
Ambassador Navo continued, “Firstly, I would like to thank our amazing housemates- who have been true role models; we are proud of their great time in the House. They have demonstrated the true meaning of women’s empowerment. I appreciate that everyone is a winner and we stand ready to work with all the housemates on a long term basis beyond Big Sister and support them to achieve their dreams.”
Application forms are now available, going for a price of One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Leones (Le150, 000) and could be paid for via Afrimoney and transaction IDs will be given to access the forms. It is advisable for those who have plans to secure forms to do so now as time is running out especially as it is anticipated that it is going to be a hotly contested show.
For interested participants in Sierra Leone, the number to access their forms is 088 201020 (Afrimoney number) and a ‘fast track’ for those in the diaspora is available on line. Interested persons can apply on line through Africell and AYV websites; do their videos and send them to the judges on line. Interviews will be conducted on line.
The closing date for receipt of all applications is the 21ST August 2020, and audition will take place in the first week of September. On 21st September 2020, auditions will close and 40 finalists will be chosen who will then battle for the final 20. The final 20 will go into the House on the 14th October 2020.
For voting through Africell network the lines or numbers will be announced or disclosed in due course.
Indeed, Housemates Salone-Season 2 is a solid platform that will create the space for Youth Empowerment as the participants as well as the entire nation stand to immensely benefit from the empowerment that it will impart.