Sierra Leone continues to suffer from heightened poverty years after the eleven years brutal and senseless war. Despite Several efforts been put together by successive governments and development partners in order to tackle this appalling situation, it still raises its ugly heads. One of the groups that bear the brunt of this situation is the youths, aged between 15 – 30 years. Despite the fact that they cater for approximately 60 % of the total population yet they remain to be marginalized by the very society that is supposed to be protecting them.
More than half of this number have either dropped out of school or have never touched the walls of neither formal nor informal learning. The female are the worst affected, most have been abandoned by their families for various reasons either by death of the bread winner or miss treatment. They are therefore left with no option but to hit the streets in search of greener pastures.
Most of the children end up into prostitution as the only way to sustain their livelihoods. Some have to work very hard in restaurants in order to have food. It is against this background that GOAL, an International humanitarian organization working in Sierra Leone took most of these children off the streets to rehabilitate, train and provides alternative livelihoods for them.
In total, 73 children were sent for training in entrepreneurship at the AID Business Development Center where they went through a structured business training course that lasted for 20 days.
Having gone through the SMEs training, a start up fund was provided for all of the 73 children that underwent the training in order to engage in small business of their choice.These children were put into groups based on their geographic locations and a mentor put in charge to guide them through the process of procurement and setting up of their businesses.
Running a business can be very challenging sometimes, especially when dealing with people who have had no prior knowledge in business. For this reason, AID-SL provided business mentors whom the children can trust for support and motivation.
These mentors were assigned to groups of five. They guided the children through the withdrawal stage of their start-up funds, to the procurement of their products. They surely needed advice on how to do the purchasing and also the product being purchased, because this may have direct effect on the selling cost of their products.
At the end of a successful business training, AID-SL provided Le 800, 000 (eight hundred thousand leones) each to the 73 beneficiaries as start up funds.
The mentors were very effective in monitoring the progress of the businesses at the beneficiaries’ business locations for three months after the businesses were set up.