From disillusionment to fulfillment: 125 youth complete graduate internship programme

Nov 30, 2017

Graduates with happy smiles display their certificates © UNDP Sierra Leone/Alpha Sesay

Thirty- three -year-old Josephine Kumba Momoh is a beneficiary of the 2016 Graduated Internship Programme, a joint United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and National Youth Commission (NAYCOM) initiative which was introduced in 2011. She was placed as an assistant human resource personnel at the Sierra Leone’s postal services in Freetown.


When Josephine graduated in 2014 with a diploma in Human Resource from the Institute of Public Administration and Management, her joy of being a graduate was short-lived. She was considered a burden to her family. The family had invested its meagre earning in seeing her through school.


Two years after her graduation, like many other graduates in Sierra Leone, Josephine still couldn’t get a job offer. She became a full-time housewife caring for her husband and two-year-old daughter.


“I wasn’t happy. My daily task was to cook, sleep and eat.” She said.


Since she received a call from NAYCOM in October 2016, she has made a gradual change from a disenchanted graduate to a happy and hopeful young woman. "I'm no longer disillusioned." She says, as she brandishes her certificate. 


In October 2016, Josephine was among 125 graduates who got internship opportunities through a UNDP’s supported project titled, Youth Empowerment and Employment Programme.  The programme is led by the National Youth Commission (NAYCOM) to help reduce the huge unemployment among youth, particularly amongst the graduates.  The programme trains and then places those trained for four months in different sectors and organizations across the country, to gain meaningful work experiences. 


Josephine is among 40 of the 125 interns in her group who were lucky to secure full-time job after completion of the four-month internship.  “The good news for me is that I have been retained at Salpost,” she said with a broad smile.


Josephine’s case is not different from the almost 70 percent of youth who upon graduating waits in the queue of joblessness for ages. The scheme was introduced in 2011 to tackle the high level of unemployment and underemployment among youth. Over 12,000 young graduates across Sierra Leone have benefitted since the launch of the programme.


Sierra Leone youth have been characterised as not only key drivers of change but also as the guarantors of its peace, stability and prosperity.  Combating youth unemployment and underemployment is an important contribution to this vision.


Since 2016, 791 graduate interns trained and placed, 70% of them have secure fully employment either in the organization where they are placed or elsewhere.

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