Nurtures Future Democracy Champions: The Youth in Democracy Traineeship Program

By Alfred Fornah (Comms. Officer, International IDEA- SL)

Sierra Leone is taking significant strides towards securing its democratic future by empowering its youth through the innovative Youth in Democracy Traineeship program. Developed in collaboration with the Political Parties Regulation Commission (PPRC), this initiative, led by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), aims to equip young individuals with vital skills in electoral and democratic governance, ultimately cultivating a group of proficient democracy defenders.

Recognizing the pivotal role that youth play in electoral and democratic processes, Sierra Leone is placing great emphasis on inclusive democratic governance. The launch of the Youth in Democracy Traineeship program underscores the nation’s commitment to laying a strong foundation for the years to come.

The partnership between International IDEA and PPRC forms the backbone of this program, which focuses on experiential learning. Carefully selected participants, hailing from diverse academic backgrounds, undergo a comprehensive training regiment before being immersed in hands-on mentorship during their six-month field deployment.

Engaging in a range of activities, the trainees have become instrumental in supporting the PPRC’s nationwide initiatives. Their involvement spans from organizing community outreach endeavours to spearheading sensitization campaigns. A standout opportunity was provided to some participants who worked within the PPRC’s Situation Room during the 2023 Sierra Leone Elections, offering them an invaluable front-row seat to observe the intricate mechanisms of democracy and election processes.

Among the program’s highlights was the Peace March/Float Parade orchestrated by the PPRC. This event aimed to unite Sierra Leone’s youth and stakeholders, underlining the paramount importance of peaceful elections while fostering a sense of unity among citizens. Initiatives of this nature are essential in nurturing a shared responsibility and promoting active civic engagement among the nation’s youth.

Sharing her enthusiasm for the program’s impact, Edwina Davies, a trainee posted in Magburaka, Northern Sierra Leone, remarked:

“Our collective efforts during the Peace March made a lasting impression, leaving an indelible mark before, during, and after the 2023 General Elections. We united youth and stakeholders in a collaborative pursuit of peace.”

Abdul Aziz K. Mohamed, another participant, highlighted the invaluable insights gained through the program:

“As recent graduates, the experience was truly remarkable. Engaging in various Commission activities and delivering daily reports provided us with tangible insights into the intricacies of democracy and governance in Sierra Leone.”

Beyond their direct participation in electoral and democratic processes, the trainees have also honed crucial governance skills including political mediation, coordination, and mobilization. These proficiencies are pivotal for effective engagement in democratic processes, thereby contributing to the robustness of Sierra Leone’s democratic framework.

Dr. Idrissa Mahmoud Tarawallie, Head of Sierra Leone Country Programme at International IDEA, emphasized the significance of this initiative:

“Fostering the interest and meaningful participation of young people in democratic governance processes is an integral part of democracy’s cultivation and reinforcement. The youth in democracy traineeship program is poised to equip these young individuals with the essential skills needed to adeptly navigate the complexities of democratic processes and participation.”

Supported by the European Union Delegation, the Youth in Democracy Traineeship program is a vital facet of the broader Democracy Strengthening Project in Sierra Leone. As these trainees continue their educational journey, the collective impact of their efforts promises to be enduring. By nurturing the next generation of democracy advocates and governance leaders, Sierra Leone is charting a course towards a dynamic and inclusive democratic society, wherein the resounding voices of its youth resonate powerfully within the corridors of governance.


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