The National Youth Commission with support from the World Bank has completed the formation of all District Youth Councils (DYCs) in the 14 districts of Sierra Leone. This means the newly constituted DYCs will now take over from the District Youth Committees. This step by the Youth Commission gives the young people an important platform to promote their interests, plan and develop projects/programmes that will benefit the youth in the districts.
On 23rd and 24 May, the Commission conducted the last of a series of training and elections for the Kailahun District Youth Council. Five members of the Chiefdom Youth Councils, representing the 14 chiefdoms of Kailahun, formed part of the delegates who voted in a new seven-man executive in polls conducted with technical support from the National Youth Commission (NEC). The election of the District Youth Council in Kailahun followed the same procedures and process used to constitute the DYCs in the other 13 districts. Each of the DYCs executive committees has a three-year mandate, after which fresh elections will be held in a delegates’ conference.
With the new DYCs, the youth now have a more effective and organised body through which they can identify potential projects/programmes that could be recommended for funding and support. They also have a platform to promote collaboration and cooperation among youth and youth-serving organisations operating within their districts. The Youth Councils will also work closely with the District Councils to identify major youth concerns, needs and opportunities in their district.
The formation of the DYCs was done as part of the Youth Commission’s strides in creating the institutions and framework needed to address youth issues across the country. It also takes forward the Commission’s aspirations to decentralise the running of youth affairs.
The National Youth Commission, established by Act No. 11 of 2009, is charged with the responsibility of implementing, coordinating and monitoring development programmes aimed at creating employment opportunities for youth; developing a comprehensive national youth development plan; collaborating with other government agencies and NGOs on youth skills training; addressing drug abuse by youth; disseminating information on services for the youth; and coordinating the activities of youth groups and youth-serving organizations. With the supervision of the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Commission provides overall leadership on youth employment and empowerment programming in Sierra Leone.