About the project

Y Care International is developing the skills of around 1,230 young men and women through training sessions at solar powered entrepreneurship hubs in three locations. The hubs provide access to information and technology for the young people who then become key figures who share their knowledge to benefit their communities.

The project provides young people with mentors, microfinance, vocational training centres and savings groups that provide support and enable young people to successfully set up and maintain their own businesses.

The project is delivered by a consortium of NGOs, microfinance providers, vocational training centres and savings groups. The lead partner is Sierra Leone YMCA, with other partners including A Call To Business, CODOHSAPA (Centre for Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation), Global Youth Network, Sensi Tech Hub, Computer Aid and On Our Radar.

The country’s history

Sierra Leone currently ranks 184 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, education and income. Although its economy has started to grow, the country remains one of the poorest in the world with more than half the population living on less than £1 a day.

The country still hasn’t recovered from a debilitating civil war which ran from 1991-2002. Over half of the population were displaced during the conflict, meaning that hundreds of thousands of children missed out on decent education. Today, more than 90% of young people with jobs work in the informal sector with the majority still in poverty despite having jobs.

More recently, Sierra Leone was hit by an Ebola outbreak in 2014/15. An estimated 3,500 people died and the economy suffered severe losses as businesses were forced to close and the agricultural sector was devastated. According to UNDP, 70% of young people in Sierra Leone are unemployed and 60% live below the national poverty line.

How are we helping?

Y Care International supports Sierra Leone YMCA to help the country’s most vulnerable young people to lift themselves out of poverty. Working in city slums and remote rural areas, we create opportunities through entrepreneurship and employment.

We help young people to become healthy and productive entrepreneurs or employees by providing access to clean water, and ensuring health information and services are youth friendly and accessible.

The current project is delivered from solar-powered Youth Entrepreneurship hubs in three project locations (Freetown, Makeni and Pujehun) where participants receive training in ICT skills, numeracy, literacy and business skills, including how to record business transactions and write business plans. Business training is also given via SMS for young people living in remote areas.

What do we hope to achieve?

  • Provide ICT and entrepreneurship training to over 1,200 young men and women

  • Train 1200 young people to use computer equipment

  • Train 450 people in literacy and numeracy skills, helping them to record daily business transactions and perform basic arithmetic exercises

  • Help over 500 young people write up a business plan for the future

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