The Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat and the Ministry of Youth Affairs on Monday 16th May, 2016 established a strategic working relationship aiming at addressing the high pace of indiscipline and lawlessness among the youth population in Sierra Leone.
In this new dispensation of strategic partnership, the Secretariat will work closely with Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government as well as Community Based Organizations to share the same platform in a bid to promote positive attitude and behaviour.
Delivering his succinct entreating statement, the Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Bai Mahmoud Bangura lauded the ABC for the thoughtfulness of establishing a collaborative partnership with his Ministry. He added that the ABC has been very proactive in the course of changing people's attitude as they have been pervading the length and breadth of the country, more so in putting the young people into a "solid foundation."
Mr. Bangura confessed that the major challenge of the young people is not violence but indiscipline, stating that the behaviour of the youth is not compatible to the progress and achievements of the government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. He continued that the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) from the position of the youth is in optimum as the President has considered it very important to place the youth in vital leadership positions. "Youth inclusion and representation has been very much considered by the President but our behaviour is not commensurate to that," he added.
Pin pointing the aspect of gangstarism in the country, the Minister pointed out that there are over 12,000 young people engaging in cliques in the country and this is a very serious concern that needs immediate transformative approach of these young people thereby engaging them in productive meaningful activities. Achieving this, he said, the Ministry rely on the persuasive educational support of the ABC so as to deal with this issue and many other issues evolving and revolving around the next crop of our generation. He pledged that there will be a "vital working relationship" between the ABC Secretariat and the Ministry of Youth Affairs.
The Executive Director of the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat, Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas registered great appreciation and delightful felicitation to the Minister who by no mistake is the right choice of President Koroma to be at the helm of youth affairs in the country. He believed that the Government has been striving to bring the youth to prominence by providing leadership roles and employment facilities and skill acquisition opportunities for all facet of the youth population.
Briefing the Minister on the Secretariat baseline youth activities, the ABC boss quipped that the Secretariat had created the avenue for the cultivation and inculcation of positive mind-set of the young people so that negative attitude (such as gangstarism, indiscipline, lawlessness and violence) that impinge or has the tendency to affect their individual or societal growth would be addressed. He added that over the years the ABC had been involved in public education and awareness raising campaign in which the Secretariat enlightened youths in Bo and Makeni on various skills and trades thereby aiding them to become self-reliant and productive citizens in the country instead of being lawless and unproductive.
He continued that the Secretariat had worked with strategic unions and sectors such as the schools, motorbike riders, drivers union, traders union, among others with the prime focus of addressing lawlessness, indiscipline and violence as the crux of negative attitude and behaviour in their constituents. Though the Government has demonstrated high level of adroitness to dealing with the aforementioned threats to a peaceful atmosphere in the country, yet lawlessness and indiscipline remain a challenge.
For this and many other reasons, Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas appealed to the Ministry of Youth Affairs to give access to the ABC Secretariat in their programme of activities with the youths so that the Secretariat can continue to provide persuasive education campaign for them to see the need of changing their mind-set from being hostile to a rather more productive and responsible citizenry in society.
In his catchy vote of thanks to the Minister and staff of the Ministry, the Programme Manager of the ABC Secretariat, Mr. Ishamel Cole continued to rain praises on the Minister and thanked him for graciously granting audience to the ABC. He added that the beauty of youthfulness by having more young people in positions of trust is equivalent to having a brighter future of Sierra Leone.
He further appealed to the Minister and team to see the need of working together with the ABC to share the platform in trying to minimize lawlessness and indiscipline in the country.