Yiaga Africa has provided SLE 75,000 to support civic projects aimed at mobilising young civic actors towards increased voter education and citizen mobilisation initiatives for the 24 June 2023 General Elections in Sierra Leone.
The elections, which will be the fifth consecutive one since the end of the country’s civil war in 2002, will see 3.4 million Sierra Leoneans elect a new president, parliament, mayors and councillors. Young people under the age of 35 constitute 60% of the voting population and could be a decisive factor in the election results.
This is why Yiaga Africa, in partnership with the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) in Sierra Leone and with the support of The Luminate Group, launched #ThePowerOf18 Challenge in May to receive entries on civic projects and ideas from young Sierra Leoneans to mobilise over 75,000 youths to participate in the electoral process.
Out of over 150 entries received, 15 entries were selected to receive SLE5,000 to mobilise and educate their peers.
This was disclosed by Yiaga Africa Programme Manager, Ibrahim Faruk at a one-day Voter Mobilisation Lab and Training held on Wednesday 14th June in Freetown to build the capacity of the 15 finalists to become peer educators and voter mobilisation champions in Sierra Leone ahead of the 24 June 2023 elections.
“This lab is to empower them for the task of mobilising and educating 5000 young people each, especially the first time voters to vote during the election,” he said.
He added that, ‘the 15 best project ideas from different districts, provinces and communities in Sierra Leone were selected from a pool of over 100 applications.
One of the winners of the grant, Amb. John AD Allieu, from Bo District said “We are so delighted that Yiaga Africa and partners considered that they must give young people the space to exercise their franchise and fully participate in these elections, so that our voice will be heard. What amazes me so much is that Yiaga Africa and partners place young people at the forefront of change and development which is very difficult for other organisations to do so. This I must consider it to be power shift to young people in Sierra Leone”
The participants also presented their ideas and received feedback from the participants. This enabled them to finetune their workplans as they begin to mobilize for the elections in a week’s time.
Yiaga Africa is a pan-African civil society organisation committed to promoting democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement. It is headquartered in Nigeria and works in Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Liberia and Kenya.