Today (July 20th 2010) the World Bank announced that it has signed an agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone that supports its short to medium term efforts aimed at building on the successes of existing youth employment programs in the country through the Youth and Employment Support (YES) project.
YES’s objectively increases access to short-term employment opportunities and improved employability of targeted youth. The project will be closely co-ordinated with the supports provided by other development partners in the area of youth employment.
The US$20million is set to be divided in the following ways:
1) US$10million towards a Cash for Works
This component will build on the existing cash for works program implemented by the National Commission for Social Action (NaSCA) and will provide support to a nationwide labour intensive public works program which will allow young people to gain short term employment. It will expand coverage and improve the design features of the current NaSCA program; geographic targeting and beneficiary selection will occur in the poorest communities, which will be identified based on an objective poverty index. There are many activities that will be supported under this component, including the rehabilitation and improvement of priory infrastructure chosen from amongst three areas: agriculture; feeder road rehabilitation and maintenance; and renewable energy/environmental management.
2) US$7.5million for Skills Development and Employment Support
This area aims to scale up and text approaches to support young individuals and youth groups who either have established businesses or are interested in pursuing business/employment opportunities through a package of technical assistance which will consist of technical training through apprenticeship schemes in the formal and informal sectors, business development support and coaching, and other life skills.
3) US$2.5million will provide Institutional Support, Policy Development, and Impact Evaluation
This component consists of two sub-components: the first will provide financial and technical support to help the National Youth Commission to fulfil its mandated role; the second sub-component on Impact Evaluation will support the impact evaluations of activities under the first two components.
“The World Bank President Robert Zoellick had committed to supporting youth employment during his visit to the country last January”, says Vijay Pillai, Country Manager of the World Bank in Sierra Leone. Pillai says he is pleased that the World Bank “could deliver the project approval under six months” adding that “the challenge now is to ensure effective implementation”. Pillai now looks forward “to supporting the government in providing leadership to help achieve the project objectives. Youth are a vital asset to any country’s development efforts. I am confident that the project will help unleash the potentials of the youth of Sierra Leone”.
The project is financed under the Crisis Response Window of the Bank designed to assist countries cope with the effects of the global economic downturn.
For more information about the Sierra Leone Youth and Employment Support (YES) project and other World Bank supported projects in Sierra Leone please visit the web site http://www.worldbank.org/sierraleone