By Ayodele Deen Cole
Due to the current economic situation in the country, the National Youth Commission (NAYCOM) has commenced the distribution of some food and non food items to various vulnerable youths group in the western area urban and rural district respectively. The items are worth over two hundred million leones, and were provided with funds from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The donated items benefited thousands of youth across the western area. The items included over four hundred bags of rice, thirty hand washing Miller tanks, soaps, onions, and water.
Among the vulnerable youths that received the items included the Black Street Youths Organisation, Under the Tree Youth Organization, Friends of the Dead Youths Organization, Congo Town Youths Organization and Josben Youths Organization.
During the start of the distribution process, NAYCOM was able to do a symbolic handing over ceremony to around seven vulnerable youth groups in the Western Area Urban, while the rest was distributed to intended beneficiaries the following day.
While handing over the first set of items to Under the Tree Youths Organisation, the Deputy Commissioner at NAYCOM, Emerson Kamara, said that the Commission decided to support vulnerable youths at this point in time because of the love and concern they have for them during the COVID 19 outbreak in the country.
According to the Deputy Commissioner, this is the first time that major organizations have distributed free food and non food items to vulnerable youths since the start of the COVID 19 outbreak. He told the happy and enthusiastic youths, who benefitted from the donated items, which the current COVID 19 outbreak in the country has brought about lots of constraints for them due to the many preventive measures being put in place to curb the virus.
Emerson Kamara also noted that the negative effect of the COVID 19 on vulnerable youths has been huge as many youths have been left unemployed, while those without skills or jobs are continuing to suffer. He noted that, despite the fact that His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio is supporting them with this food and non-food items, he revealed that the Head of State is more concerned about bringing in and encouraging more skills development for vulnerable youths across the country.
The NAYCOM Commissioner, Ngolo Thomas Katta, in an interview with the press after the distribution exercise, said that they decided to donate these items to help the government fight the COVID 19 outbreak and also to use the exercise to conduct public sensitization and awareness raising exercise among the special groups of forgotten people.
He also disclosed that the Commission has a comprehensive data base of all operating vulnerable youth groups or environments across the country, which they used to identify and select the much needed areas or groups to benefit from the items. He also said that up to one hundred vulnerable youth groups, in both the urban and rural areas, will benefit from the distribution of these items.
Ngolo Thomas Katta said that, before now, the Commission has been holding several meetings and engagements to enlighten them about President Bio’s love and plans to capacitate and bring in more innovative skills programs for youths across the entire country. The NAYCON Chief continued that another international organization, the GIZ, will soon support them with items for vulnerable youth groups in Kabala, Kono and Kailahun district. He further noted that NAYCOM will also commence a project for single mothers and they will also start providing face masks, mega phones, IEC materials and also training young people on social and risks mobilization.
During the distribution exercise, the vulnerable youth groups who benefited from the items applauded NAYCOM for their timely support. They also praised the strong and modest leadership exhibited by both the NAYCOM Commissioner and his Deputy since they were appointed by President Bio.
According to the Chairman of Under the Tree Youths Organization, Mustapha Karim aka Bengazi, the National Youth Commission is the first government body that has provided them with food items and non food items support. He also called on the leadership of NAYCOM to remain focused and help fight the COVID 19 outbreak. He encouraged other government organizations to follow the footsteps of NAYCOM and include them into their COVID 19 plans.
Several other vulnerable youth groups also expressed similar sentiments on the good works of NAYCOM and also the support they have been providing to them for the past years.
By Ayodele Deen Cole