|President Koroma Assures ChildFund Sierra Leone|
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Tuesday 10th September 2013 assured ChildFund Sierra Leone of government's continuous support in accessing funding.
President Koroma made the assurance while addressing a delegation led by the National Director, ChildFund Sierra Leone, during a courtesy call on him at the Presidential Lodge, Hill Station, Freetown.
Acknowledging the areas of intervention by ChildFund Sierra Leone, President Koroma observed that the NGO's activities were in line with government's programmes in terms of education and skills trainings so that the youth will become self-employed. He hoped that the training will be permanent.
"We will continue with such engagements in the Agenda for Prosperity so as to address the issue of teenage pregnancy and we will always support you in accessing funding as government looks forward to having a permanent structure to address youth employment issues", said President Koroma.
He said training for youth should be able to add value for quality service provision, reiterating that government is willing to collaborate with ChildFund Sierra Leone as it will continue to work in closed cooperation with the NGO as partners, through regular engagements.
The National Director Billy Abimbilla informed President Koroma that his organization has been in Sierra Leone since 1985, responding to the wellbeing of children by supporting locally led initiatives that strengthen families and communities to overcome poverty and ensuring a brighter future for children.
He said ChildFund Sierra Leone has delivered comprehensive programmes that encompass health, education, youth employment, agriculture, micro-finance, child protection, and psychosocial support through community participation and ownership.
The NGO, Mr. Abimbilla said, is presently working in Koinadugu, Bombali, Bo, Moyamba, Kailahun, Kono and Kenema districts and some parts of Freetown, reaching out to over 155,000 children and families, adding that ChildFund Sierra Leone strives for positive environments in which children can grow up.
"We continually explore, develop and implement standards and programmes designed to protect children from abuse, neglect, harassment, and exploitation while ensuring that they remain healthy", said Abimbilla.
He explained that ChildFund Sierra Leone remain committed to reinforcing its position as one of the leading child welfare agencies in the country, noting that the NGO has formed both local as well as international partnerships based on shared visions.
Mr. Abimbilla said ChildFund Sierra Leone also works closely with the district structures and government ministries, including the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the National Youth Commission, and the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone Police.
The ChildFund National Director further said child protection is part of the NGO's efforts to empower girls and prevent them from getting pregnant and target teens, teenage mothers, school authorities and community stakeholders in building their capacities.
He said positive model families are identified for teenagers to learn from and the lessons are passed on to other boys and girls through engagements in interactive sessions, drama competitions, music, dance, and poems.
"We mobilize teenagers and community members in Bo, Kailahun, Makeni, and Koinadugu districts to work with existing community structures to promote messages that would ensure positive social behavioral change and practices. Our interventions in child protection of teenage pregnancies have been in collaboration with UNICEF", he emphasized.
In the area of education, Abimbilla told President Koroma that ChildFund Sierra Leone, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and UNICEF, continues to place a lot of premium on community child-friendly schools with the provision of teaching and learning materials.
In the area of skills training and acquisition, he said they are working in collaboration with the NAYCOM and MOFED and with funding from the World Bank, supporting 3,000 youth with low level of education in the urban centers of Freetown, Kenema, Kono, Makeni and Bo to acquire marketable skills that will increase their prospects for employment in the informal sector at a non-exploitative wage.
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