‘We develop relevant programmes that can change the lives of young people’


-YMCA Sec. Gen

November 24, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

As the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) Saturday, 21 November ended their 7th Triennial Business Meeting, the National General Secretary said their programmes are their pulse beat as they endeavour to develop and implement innovative socially relevant programmes that can change the lives of young people in the country, adding that they are desirous to make an impact in the area of health, civic engagement, agriculture, employment and livelihood programmes.

Christian Martyn Kamara was speaking at Dohas Hotel Conference Hall in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone, on the theme ‘Troubled but not destroyed’. He said the Triennial Business Meeting was a forum where the National Executive Committee of the YMCA receives performance report from the National Executive Council and management, detailing successes and challenges faced and evaluation of the overall health of the Association.

Mr. Kamara revealed that during 2012 to 2015 many new developments, extraordinary events and desperate moments occurred in the country, not least the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease that forced the association to alter their operational plan and re-direct their energy, human and financial resources to curb the spread of the virus.

He said the theme ‘Troubled but not destroyed’ was deliberately chosen to not only address the current reality in the country, but to also serve as a reflection on their common challenges, adding that the outbreak of the virus in May 2014 brought devastating consequences to the country in general and the YMCA in particular, as their programmes were skewed towards supporting communities to curb the spread of the virus through social mobilisation.

The YMCA national secretary general said that inspite of recent challenges, they had strived to maintain their relevance in society by initiating activities, projects and programmes in line with a changing and competitive world, adding that they were bound to do so if they were to remain relevant.

“We will continue to expand on our reach and ensure that our strategies and programmes continue to transform the lives of young people who stand the risk of being price out of any developmental processes. As we continue to deliver on our mission let’s be mindful of the conditions under which young people strive,” he said.

He added that infrastructural development stands at the centre of their development plan as they journey together to achieve sustainable growth, adding that the issue of acquiring land and property was a major focus for his administration and the board.

He said YMCA, within the period under review (2012 to 2015) completed and opened the YMCA Hope Primary School in Kenema which can house 150 pupils, completed the first phase of the Bo Junior Secondary School, while the Makeni building project was still a priority. He added that they had purchased a three acre land at No.2 River, around the Freetown peninsula.

Reading his report, outgoing National Chairman Ethelbert A.C.M. Tejan said during the 2012 to 2015 period their various interventions resulted to increased visibility and created tremendous positive impact, though they were forced to scale down normal operations due to restrictions and regulations imposed of curb the spread of Ebola.

He said the theme ‘Troubled but not destroyed’ was consistent with current global and sub-regional socio-economic trends, with the world experiencing multitude of tragedies – terrorist attacks, conflicts, natural disasters, injustice, wars, disease, bad governance, economic meltdown – and that the depressing images seen throughout the year warrant their intervention.

Tejan said when they took up leadership of the YMCA, as a team, they promised to deliver on certain key thematic areas, and that they had lived up to those promises, adding that as a policy-making organ of the association the National Executive Committee during its first term tenure developed and approved operational policy documents.

Minister of Youth Affairs Alimamy Kamara said YMCA has a long history which could be traced as far back 1912, as a organisation with a strong Christian background which helps develop youth from across the world.

He said when he took office as Minister of Youth he went through the list of youth serving agencies and realised that the YMCA had been doing well, thus prompting him to meet with leaders of the organization to chat the way forward for youth empowerment.

He commended the YMCA for not just providing education for youths, but one with moral values, to enable them become good leaders. He urged the YMCA to redirect the mindset of young people from politics to commence and others areas.