Receiving the team, Ambassador Horst Gruner said he was very elated to meet with them for the first time since his appointment. He highlighted that they have supported the Government of Sierra Leone through youth empowerment and development, fostering entrepreneurship, technical and vocational training, quality health and transparent mining development.
“We believe in building the capacity of Sierra Leonean youth,” he said, adding that, “our young people are not happy with their current situation which is now forcing them to embark on illegal migration.”
According to Ambassador Gruner, migration is not bad as long as it is regular. What is bad, he affirmed, “is illegal migration which is mostly bloody.” He said they will continue to support the current government to achieve its ambitious agenda.
Given an overview of the National Youth Service, the Executive Director, Mohamed Onanah Jalloh, said the NYS is an agency under the Ministry of Youth Affairs, legislated by an Act of Parliament in 2016. He said since its establishment, it was only in 2018 when the New Direction administration launched and inaugurated 200 graduate corps.
Whilst thanking the German Ambassador for the reception, he said they were on a study tour in Kenya and Ghana ahead of the review of the NYS Act as declared by President Bio. He said President Bio wants the review to match up with contemporary youth development plan as a way of addressing the growing youth unemployment in the country.
“After our study tour, we are now convinced that the best model for Sierra Leone is the Kenya model,” he said, noting, “this is because commercializing the NYS will be the best alternative for its survival and sustainability.” He added that the paramilitary aspect inculcates a sense of patriotism and discipline.
He said in Kenya, about 30,000 youth are recruited every year and trained in various skills such as paramilitary, engineering, fashion and design, business management, catering, agriculture, secretarial, plant operation, construction, driving and later prepare for a dedicated national service as well as job creation.
He called on the German Embassy to support the NYS as the solution to addressing the highest youth unemployment inherited by the ruling government.
In similar development, the NYS management last week engaged the US Ambassador, Maria E. Brewer at the US Embassy at Leicester Square, Regent in Freetown.
Ambassador Brewer said the embassy is readily available to provide technical advice when called upon. She disclosed that there are other exchange learning programs such as the YALE programs for young African leaders which Sierra Leone has benefited from.