By Foday Moriba Conteh
As part of their commitment to deliver competitive employment services to businesses and ‘unwillingly’ unemployed and trainable young people in the country, Job Booster-Sierra Leone, a Consortium, comprising the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone, Cotton Tree Foundation and Woord En Daad has on Friday 14th August, 2020 unveiled their Salon Project at REAPS Vocational Training Institute on AJ Momoh Street, Tower Hill in Freetown.
Speaking during the launch, Team Lead of Job Booster-Sierra Leone, Mariama Khai Fornah disclosed that the organization was set up to contribute in the area of improving and enhancing (self-) employment of youths in Sierra Leone also adding that the Job Booster SL consortium came into being out of the need to help trainable unemployed youth to gain decent jobs in order to become self-reliant.
She noted that JB-SL is implemented by a core-consortium of three organizations namely, Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL), Cotton Tree Foundation (CTF) and Woord en Daad (W&D).
Mariama furthered that around the core consortium they will develop a network of service providing organizations (like TVETs and AVETs, MFIs, banks, business trainers) expressing the optimism that the network will strategically position itself to facilitate increased (self-) employment and employability of youths in Sierra Leone.
She also maintained that they would develop a database, for consultancy services, of semi-skilled and unskilled labor and employers who need abled employees adding how they will be identifying and categorizing their human resource pool also pointing out that these are provided with added specific job training to increase efficiency and work closely with Government and the relevant agencies/private sector to ensure that whatever they do is within Government’s agenda.
She disclosed that their long-term vision includes providing 500,000 young people with decent, gainful, waged and sustainable (self) employment.
Mentioning the main areas that Job Booster SL will focus on, she stated that they will work with the private sector to identify their staffing and employment needs for new and current staff, facilitate employment opportunities by linking selected and trainable youths to training organizations, identify and work with training institutions , coordinate with other service providers (e.g. MFIs, banks, business coachs) to support self-employment of entrepreneurial youth and development of their own businesses, etc.
She encouraged beneficiaries to make good use of this opportunity given to them in order to develop their businesses.
Chief Executive Officer of the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Titus Williams expressed appreciation to Job Booster Sierra Leone for the initiative, which he described as not only important but timely.
Rev. Williams said as an organization they are very happy to be part of the project, adding that the project is geared towards empowering young people across the country in order to become self-reliant.
He admonished beneficiaries to see this as an opportunity to develop themselves and their businesses, noting that in the past people viewed vocational institutions as places for dropouts but said to them that had been proven wrong anchoring how they are very important in society as such institutions are contributing towards the development of any nation.
Chief Executive Officer, Cotton Tree Foundation, Mrs. Joan Kamara, congratulated the beneficiaries for being among the choose few for the pilot phase of the project, adding that unemployment is one of the challenges Job Booster wants to address also stating how they aim to improve the linkage between supply and demand in the job market.
She said if unemployment rate is high in the country it will create a negative impact on the economic growth potential of the country, adding that job creation is necessary as the more people are employed the more the economy becomes stable as economic stability is needed before people will makes big investments in the country as a whole.
She also urged them to improve on their businesses and make every opportunity count in their lives also disclosing that as Salon Owners they should ensure that their customers matter as well as treat them with respect.
Deputy Director, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Abdul A Sennesi, in his keynote address expressed appreciation to the Consortium for launching the project saying it is in line with the Government’s commitment to empower young people.
He said as an institution they will ensure that they support the project in order to reach its targeted beneficiaries, adding that according to the Team lead of Job Booster, Mariama Khai Fornah , said their long-term vision includes providing 500,000 young people with decent, gainful, waged and sustainable (self) employment maintaining that with this number of young people being empowered the project will definitely contribute towards the development of these young people and the nation as a whole.
He said as a Government they are very committed to empower young people and assured the consortium of their support towards making this dream a reality.
The event was climaxed by the distribution of personal protective equipment to the beneficiaries.