Funder: Comic Relief
Country of Implementation: Sierra Leone
TA implemented the Freetown Urban Slums Transformation Initiative project in 2013-2018, in Calaba Town Freetown. Records show that several young people applied, through their communities, for the 6 to 12-month training programmes which included Computing, IT, Tailoring, Catering, Hairdressing, Carpentry, Metal-work, Motor-mechanics, Masonry and Electrical Installation. During the life of the project, a total of 924 youths had enrolled of whom 508 (55%) were women.
The following are the main achievement of the project:
Carpentry apprentices at Fullah Town slum
YDM scheme graduate tracking records showed that by the end of the project funding, 756 of the trainees had successfully completed their training and 168 were due to do so after this FEE. According to those records, the level of marketable skills in the 8 Slum communities had increased by 17% to 56% against the baseline of 39%. A total of 546 (72.2%) of those who had graduated through the scheme were in self or paid employment within 6 months of their graduation.
2. The evaluation team visited the YDM Vocational Training Centre (VTC), where the majority of the applicants were placed for their training. It was able to confirm that the centre was offering a wide range of courses which were going on concurrently and a large majority of trainees were girls and young women. According to testimonies and interviews of 32 (4 per community) trainees who represented the 8 communities, all of them were satisfied with the choices they made and the facilities and support they were getting from their instructors.
The evaluation team also visited the business premises of those who were placed for apprenticeships. It found that the largest number of trainees were young men and over 80% of them were undergoing training in motor vehicle repairs and electrical Installation. They were all excited about their training programmes and the fact that their trainers were using the income from the jobs assigned to them to pay them a stipend. They testified this money was making them less dependent on their relatives for financial support during their training.
Catering trainees at YDM VTC
3. In order to verify YDM and CBO records which showed that project graduates were in paid employment, the evaluation team visited and/or interviewed a randomly selected sample of 80 of them (10 per community). A total of 54 were in self-employment and the remaining 26 were in paid employment. It was established that those who were in self-employment had received loans from the Micro-Credit Scheme to set up their businesses from which they are realising average profits of at least £80 per month. Those who are in paid employment reported earning a minimum of Le500,000, which is within the government minimum wage policy. There was a general feeling that the incomes were relatively low in view of the current cost of living in the country. However, the majority of those interviewed were happy as they explained that they were economically independent and able to meet their basic needs and support their close relatives.
Hairdressing trainees at YDM VTC
Through FGDs, the FEE team was able to verify and confirm that marketable skills in the 8 supported communities had remarkably increased and this was attributed to the VTAS, which had trained over 900 unemployed youths over the five years of the project’s funding. CBO and other community members who participated in the discussions registered their appreciation for the grant, which enabled youths who used to roam the streets or do menial jobs to acquire the skills that increased opportunities for some of them to start their own businesses and others find gainful employment.