11 Jun 2010


12 August 2009 - The United Nations is commemorating the International Youth Day on 12 August. This year the focus is on challenges of sustainable development and the future of young people around the world. UNICEF, WFP, UNFPA, FAO, UNIPSIL, UNDP, and the Special Court presented in a radio documentary, which was aired on 12th August on UN Radio their projects and special programmes to address youth issues in Sierra Leone.

The UN Communications Group (UNCG) in Sierra Leone presents in the following documentary the programmes and projects, which the UN family offers to the Sierra Leonean youth. The UNCG in Sierra Leone comprises of the Communications Officers of the UN organizations and agencies operating in the country.

Transcript of the UNIPSIL Contribution to the UNCG Radio Documentary for the International Day of Youth

Q: How does your Organization/Agency deal with youth issues in SL?

A: The UN Integrated Peace Building Mission in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) facilitates for youth to take part in round tables, work shops, radio discussions and a number of other activities, including sporting and cultural events. All the activities aim at promoting peace, reconciliation and political tolerance among the young people of Sierra Leone.

These activities are implemented by UNDP through the Peace Building Fund, under the programme titled "General public awareness, trust building and peace promotion particularly among youth". The activities emerging out of this programme focus on political reconciliation to strengthen democratic institutions. One particular project in this context is the "Political Reconciliation and Restoration of Key Political, Democratic and Security Institutions". It is funded by the Peace Building Fund and targets specifically the youth leaders in the four main political parties.

Q: Could highlight one challenge that young people are facing and how do you address them in your organisation's / your agency's programmes?

A: The young people in Sierra Leone need to overcome the violence following the war. They need to learn to respect each other. A cornerstone of the further successful development of the country will be strong democratic institutions. UNIPSIL under its mandate promotes the strengthening of democratic institutions, reconciliation and political tolerance.

Q: What does your Organization/ Agency / the UN / offer to the young people? Give an example of a project, the specific target group, the location and the achievements and results.

A: In light of strengthening a culture of political tolerance and democracy, UNIPSIL works together with a variety of partners within the UN system like UNDP, the Peace Building, the UN Agencies, as well as with other partners like civil society, the Sierra Leonean Youth Groups, governmental and non-governmental institutions, the political parties and, especially with the youth leaders in the four main political parties.

The activities offered for young people and particularly young political leadership, like the "Leadership Workshop for Political Party Youth Executives" is one of the main activities under the programme mentioned before, titled the "General public awareness, trust building and peace promotion particularly among youth". The workshop was held in Lungi in 8-12 June 2009, organised by UNIPSIL, UNDP and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) as implementing partner. More activities of this kind are planned in all of the districts.

Activities following the work-shop in Lungi, so to say the kick off of this programme to promote peace, reconciliation and political tolerance under this programme are, for example:

  • Radio discussion and phone-in programme
  • Combined political groups and tribal leaders meetings
  • Football match and distribution of inter-party T-shirts
  • Meetings and sensitization with various groups of cultural, social, trade, bike riders, ghettos are also involved
  • Entertainers, comedians to participate in sensitization
  • Peace Rally etc

The implementation of the follow-on activities is to be carried out by the implementing partner the PPRC and the four youth groups created at the workshop.

Q: How does this facilitate the sustainable development of young people in Sierra Leone?

A: The Lungi Workshop was the first step in a process of getting youth from the different political parties to begin to understand each other as political opponents and not enemies.
The participants evaluated the workshop and stressed that they had learned the following values:

  • Gained knowledge and understanding of what it is to be a Leader and the responsibility it carries
  • Understanding inter-party political tolerance.
  • The importance of structure within political parties as Organisations.
  • Start working towards putting good governance structures in place in their political parties.
  • Democratic principles & virtues
  • Democratic governance
  • Democracy as a means of protection

Round up:
This kind of workshop will be carried out in the 14 Districts in Sierra Leone by the youth leadership themselves – this means: by the four groups formed out of the political party youth leaders and other participants during the Lungi Workshop. The youth take the activities into their own hands to ensure long lasting peace.

The Workshop in Lungi marks the starting step towards the creation of a sustainable culture of political tolerance and democracy. It helps ensuring a peaceful future for the youth of Sierra Leone.