Giving young entrepreneurs a chance to start a sustainable business
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
More than 15 years after the
Sierra Leone Civil War*
, Sierra Leone is one of
Africa's highest youth unemployment rates
In Sierra Leone, 2 out of every 3 people of young people are unemployed or underemployed.
*Sierra Leone Civil War: A civil war that took place in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002. An engagement between rebel forces, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), and government forces over control of diamond mines led to a major civil war that killed more than 75,000 people.
GDP per capita
For decades, because of
limited participation in entrepreneurship support, technical education, and vocational training
, many young people have not been able to develop sufficient skills to support themselves and their families or engage in sustainable business.
Sierra Leone also has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in Africa. There is no shortage of cases of young people attempting to migrate to other countries irregularly.
Every year, thousands of people are forced to migrate to other countries through illegal means directed by traffickers and smugglers.
Sierra Leone's largest city
High unemployment rates have led to an increase in the number of youths who are not hardworking in Freetown and other urban areas, causing unrest in some communities and furthering economic decline.
The deteriorating socio-economic situation in the country due to COVID-19 is also expected to further increase youth unemployment. In addition, the rising cost of living is affecting millions of families, and many people are looking to migrate to other countries. Despite the dangers involved in irregular migration, people travel outside the country in search of economic opportunities in Europe.
Connect with International Organization for Migration (IOM) through the scheduled live streams.
Supporters will be able to communicate directly with the children and staff at the sites, asking questions and sending words of encouragement
Kunikazu Akao provides employment support at IOM Sierra Leone and is the manager of this present project dedicated to supporting young entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.
IOM wants to empower youth in Sierra Leone through building entrepreneurship capacity for them to develop sustainable businesses for reducing irregular migration. To achieve this goal we’re holding a youth empowerment project entitled: ‘The Project For Reducing the Risk of Irregular Migration through Promotion and Entrepreneurship Support for the Youth’ where we are providing training, mentorship on entrepreneurship and also providing startup kits and business mentorship.
The main cause of irregular migration to other countries in Sierra Leone is youth unemployment, as migrate to other countries is a way for them to get out of poverty. We believe that training young people to start and improve their own businesses is the best way to reduce youth unemployment and actively participate in the development of the country.
To this end, IOM Sierra Leone is doing the following
Support 2,000 vulnerable youth (600 of whom are young women) with vocational training to improve their employability and meet the demands of the labor market.
200 young people, 70% of whom will be young women, will be provided with business start-up methods, and 40 entrepreneurs, 50% of whom will be young women, will be provided with advanced training in business management.
Through an awareness campaign to young people about the dangers of irregular migration, we will inform them that there are ways to be economically active in Sierra Leone.
In early October 2019, to address the high unemployment rate in Sierra Leone, IOM Sierra Leone in collaboration with Freetown City Council organized a practical 5-day training on waste management business for 200 young people in the city. The aim of the training was to provide young people with skills in household waste collection and management and to give them the experience of running a waste collection business and using the profits to at least eliminate the inconveniences of daily life.
Participants worked in groups to set up and manage 20 different waste collection businesses. As part of the training, participants were provided with 15 months of business development support, as well as the waste collection equipment and electric tricycles needed for their businesses.
In October 2019, IOM Sierra Leone organized a training of trainers on 'Gender and Entrepreneurship' titled 'First Training of Trainers Workshop on Entrepreneurship In Sierra Leone'.
The objective of the training was to equip 18 potential trainers with the appropriate knowledge and skills on entrepreneurship and to train 240 youth and young entrepreneurial women in Sierra Leone.
By promoting employment and entrepreneurship among the youth of Sierra Leone through this initiative, we hope to reduce the number of irregular migrants going abroad in the future. The goal is to help young people understand that there are many business opportunities in Sierra Leone and that they do not have to migrate..
The participating trainer candidates were trained on a wide range of topics including economic learning techniques, introduction to entrepreneurship, business ideas, business planning and coaching.
Alie is a young entrepreneur from Sierra Leone. His dream is to become a successful entrepreneur and establish a computer training center to help people grow.
He has a vision to provide the best educational support for computer related vocational skills and wants to open a learning facility.
The aim is to equip the youth of Sierra Leone with useful skills for work.
My dream is to first build my skills so that I can reach my full potential and become financially stable, and then to help others grow and achieve their dreams. If this project is successful, not only will I be able to achieve my goals, but the young people of Sierra Leone, who have a bright future ahead of them, will be able to become financially independent and further develop their skills.
Emma runs a small beauty salon.
The first step is to become financially independent and be able to support her family.
The next step is to improve the business on a daily basis in the hopes that it will greatly help the young men and women of the community by creating job opportunities in the area.
I am so grateful to God and all of you for your support and passion.
I will continue to run my business well for the sake of my community and my country.
Elizabeth is one of the young entrepreneurs trained by IOM Sierra Leone and is the founder and owner of Calabash Fruits, a small fruit selling business. With the support of this program, she has been able to expand her business and create employment opportunities in her community.
(Elizabeth is in the back center of the photo)
Would you like to support the young entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone
monitored by IOM?