Speaking to AYV after the signing process, Michaela George, a member of the Expert Advisory Committee maintained that the contract signed by the Minister of Youth Affairs Mohamed Bangura and the Chief Innovation Officer, Dr. Moina David Sengeh who doubles as Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, is for the DSTI to develop a mobile app which could be easily accessible to youths especially those using mobile phones.
She added that because the National Youth Policy is designed to be reviewed every five years, developing such a mobile application would make the process easier as youths in Freetown and across Sierra Leone could make their voices heard by simply logging on to the Youth Affairs Ministry to convey their feelings, hopes and aspirations of what they want the government to do for them and how they plan to improve themselves.
She maintained that looking at the National Youth Policy it is clear to see that it mainly involves youths and so logically, youths should be involved in the reviewing process in order to reflect their views, concerns and hopes. She added that the creation of this E-Platform is very important as the country is moving towards digital technology. She said the youths can be able to meet and exchange ideas and make their voices heard for their development in all spheres of life while contributing to national development.
According to her, the Youth Affairs Ministry and DSTI are not alone in this, but are receiving technical advice and support from a Consultant group through DSTI as their development partners UNICEF, UNFPA and few others that are making contributions technically, financially etc. to ensure full actualization of this project.
She went on to say that through the E-Platform youths can even be at their homes and use their mobile phones to access the website and make their voices heard in any language and not necessarily in English. “We came together to wee how we could use technology to reach out and to improve the lives of youths across Sierra Leone and to ensure that the voices of our youths are heard and to enable them contribute to national development,” Mrs. George said.
She allayed the fears of the general public that the project will not be sustainable, adding that as long as the platform has been created it would be there to serve generations to come and that it would also serve as a platform for the general public or any interested person to log in and ask questions about what is being done for youths; amount of funds disbursed and other questions coming from interested persons.
She maintained that they are also working on creating a platform that would not necessarily need internet access so that even youths in remote areas of the country will have opportunity to make their voices heard.
She went on to state that they expect that by the end of December this year the E-Platform app would be up and running and that it can be accessed either through the Youth Affairs ministry website or facebook.
She called on youths across Sierra Leone to own this new development and to think positive about its development as it is the right tool that would fast enhance the growth of youths while ensuring them that through proper use of the platform all what had been lacking in the past would be a thing of the past.