Freetown, 4 March 2022 – Through the Generation Unlimited (Gen U) initiative, the Ministry of Youths Affairs (MoYa), in partnership with the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has hosted an exhibition to showcase the impacts of various projects designed to improve opportunities for career development and sustainable livelihoods for young people between the ages of 10 and 24 years.

Gen U is a global multi-sector partnership designed to meet the urgent needs for expanded education, training, and employment opportunities for young people. Gen U, which prioritizes young people in the development agenda, creates global public-private-youth partnerships to co-create and support large scale investment opportunities, programmes and innovations so that they could become productive in life.

The exhibition, which took place in Freetown, brought together over 150 participants from government agencies, UN Agencies, development partners and young people from districts, who demonstrated some of the ongoing projects which can impact the lives of children and young people. The exhibition further helped to create public awareness on existing skills acquisition programs, learning, networking, and employment opportunities for young people in the public-private-youths partnership.

“Every old man was once a young man but not every young man will become an old man if you don’t make use of today. As a young person, you get yourself to blame tomorrow.” – Mohamed Orman Bangura, Minister of Youth Affairs.

“Young people must embrace the wave of opportunity, growth, and progress that technology has to offer. Initiatives of this nature set the tone for a more extensive discourse on the role and evolution of tomorrow’s leaders.”- Michala Mackay, Chief Operating Officer and Director of DSTI.

Beyond the exhibition, 52 young people will participate at a seven-day boot camp, which has been arranged for young people to find cutting-edge solutions and new ideas to drive social change in their communities. At the end of the bootcamp, the five most promising ideas will be selected, and winning submissions will be awarded USD 1,000 each in seed funding.  The selected young people will and further receive mentorship opportunities to support the implementation of their projects.

Thereafter, the two most promising solutions from Sierra Leone will be submitted to a global judging process for a Global Gen U Youth Challenge. The Gen U Youths Challenge calls on young innovators to design solutions to improve education, employment, and civic engagement. It aims to inspire young people with brilliant ideas, (but lack the resources), to actualize their dreams.

“Young people constitute a significant proportion of the population in Sierra Leone and are pivotal to the country’s development. The Gen U initiative provides an opportunity for all young people to network, showcase their talents and harness existing opportunities for the full realisation of their potentials,” said Dr Suleiman Braimoh, UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone.

Participants at the exhibition and the boot camp, who include 22 females and 30 are males, were selected from every district and included young people with varying talents and skills and also young people with physical challenges and other special needs.


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