Kono District, which is the project location is diamondeferous. As such, a vast majority of the youths had understandably diverted their attention to illicit diamond mining, instead of going through formal or vocational institutions to equip themselves to contribute to national development. With the scarcity of diamonds in the district in recent times, which correspondingly means that most of the youths are poor and unemployed, it presents another unique problem in the district as politicians misuse their available unspent energies to wreck havoc particularly during public elections period.
To address the burgeoning social and economic malaise of the youths in the district, the UNDP initiated a project titled: ‘Enabling Sustainable Livelihoods Through Improved Natural Resource Governance and Economic Diversification in the Kono District, Sierra Leone’.
The UNDP supported the Government Technical and Vocational Center (GVTC) in Kono to extensively train 450 male and female youths in the following skills areas: Driving (both light and heavy-duty), Agriculture, Welding, Electrification, Refrigeration, Auto-Mechanic, Block-Laying, and Computer Hard/Software.
This project strives to further empower these beneficiaries with entrepreneurial skills that will enable them either secure new jobs, or start-up and/or build on existing businesses. These training beneficiaries have been given varied start-up support as a way of improving their economic lot, while sustaining the project. It is expected that these empowered male and female youths would eventually get productively engaged in technical and vocational jobs, thereby reducing social and political tensions; and mitigate endemic poverty in the district.