The flare and liveliness that define our years of youth have often been portrayed as one of the most fleeting scenes of life. A scene where we move with ease, enjoy momentary thrills, and bask in the cheap luxury that is time. Former British PM Benjamin Disraeli once quaintly described “the Youth of a Nation as the trustees of posterity.” 

Youth is the period of productivity, industry, and enterprise. Now more than ever, young people deserve a seat at the table as they have an indispensable role in helping humanity create a future built on sustainability and self-reliance. Governments must tap into the expertise, ingenuity, and energy of their young people and then deploy these ideas into Africa’s economic transformation drive.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs, in fulfillment of its mandate, to prepare and empower the young people of Sierra Leone to make meaningful contributions to national development partnered with UNICEF and The Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation, to put out a call for a nationwide nomination of young people serving as youth leaders in their communities. 

This initiative sought to achieve two things fundamentally; firstly, to select two young people to represent Sierra Leone at the GenU Global Governance Structure and secondly, to illuminate the relatively obscure but profoundly impactful activities undertaken by young people in their respective communities and spheres of influence. 

Young people must embrace the wave of opportunity, growth, and progress that technology has to offer. Round Table dialogues set the tone for a more extensive discourse on the role and evolution of tomorrow’s leaders – Dr. Suleiman Braimoh, Country Rep, UnicefSL.

136 youth leaders were nominated 1179 times from every region across Sierra Leone. Amongst these, the six nominees with the highest nominations were selected for an interview. 

The six top qualifying nominees were Zipporah Hawa Moriba, Patrick Hassien Gbessay. Samuel Mattia, Martin Daimbaquee, Isha Gibril Sesay, and Isatu Moses. The selection process was merit-based and accorded equal opportunities to young men and women. There was an intentional effort to shortlist candidates from different districts and diverse backgrounds in relation to gender, age, and ethnic identity.

After the selection process, Zipporah Hawa Moriba and Patrick Hassien Gbessay emerged as the winning nominees.

Zipporah Hawa Moriba is from Freetown. She is the Founder and Director of Girls Aid Movement. Currently, She presently pursues an undergraduate degree in Public Sector Management at the Institute of Public Administration and Management, University of Sierra Leone. She volunteers at Restless Development and MenEngage Africa.

Samuel Patrick Hassien Gbessay is the 25-year-old CEO and Founder of Star Catch Up Salone and staunch advocate at Defence for Children International. He is from Serabu, Bumpeh Ngao Chiefdom, Bo District, Southern Sierra Leone.

Although these nominees hail from diverse backgrounds, the commonplace theme is that they have shown traits of progressive leadership as catalysts for development with little resources available to them. 

Golda Fania, the GenU-Sierra Leone, Project Lead at DSTI, asserted that GenU has the latent potential to redefine existing notions about the role of young people in accelerating socio-economic development and nation-building.

 

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