Bright Light Projects Sierra Leone officially Launched Adolescent Youths Leadership and Mentorship Program (AYLMP) with a focus on providing Leadership and Mentorship including Career orientation for Adolescent Youths in Junior and Senor Secondary Schools in the northern Province in Bombali District Sierra Leone under the theme: Empower, Educate, and Energize.
Based on our observations implementing some of our key projects in Sierra Leone namely: Mend the Gap Schooling Program for Vulnerable Ebola orphans & Survivors (MDG), Girls Shall Rise (GSR), BLP Mothers Club Familiarization Program (BLPMC), Upholding Sensitive Prevention and Control to Curtail the Spread of COVID-19 Virus in BLP Operational Communities, our experience have shown a huge gap in youth development in the areas of leadership, the lack of mentorship, lack of adolescent growth management programs, lack of career orientation as they graduate from Senior Secondary Schools.
This is even worst for adolescent girls as some of their parents prefer they find a husbands to marry denying them every opportunity to excel as young talented individuals who can make substantial contributions to their communities and nation building.
This inability to master or manage developmental changes and the effect of one developmental area on the other is a factor which, according to child psychologists, is often the root cause of many adolescent deviant behaviors and health problems.
The program will focus on Leadership, Mentorship, hygiene and career sessions training of Adolescent Youths in secondary Schools ages 12-19 in line with Bright Light Projects (BLP’s) vision to promote and support BLP beneficiaries to become self-reliant and contribute positively to the development of their communities.
BLP Sierra Leone team carried out assessments at various secondary schools in Bombali district Northern Sierra Leone. Five schools from different communities were selected to kick start the program. Criteria was to select schools in remote communities with less chance of exposure to such programs. A total of 10 beneficiaries were selected per school at a ratio of 7 girls and 3 Boys. The five schools include:
- Lamin and Kaday Bah Secondary School Pate Bana Community
- Alharrkan Islamic Secondary School Rosint Community
- National Pentecostal Secondary School Makeni
- Kainkaylay Islamic Secondary School Masuba Community
- Community Junior Secondary School Panlap Community
The selection and identification of schools and beneficiaries started January 2022 with a physical assembly. BLP team had meetings with school authorities explaining the long and short term benefits of the program to the school authorities and the students. Schools welcomed the idea and most principals expressed their joy and appreciation for such programs in contributing to the physical, mental, psychological and mental growth for the students who most of the times leave high school without knowing how to face the challenges of outside world especially with lack of enough role models and mentorship in these communities.
The proposed long term impact for the program to help build and develop adolescent youths and equip them with the right tools to compete in the global marketplace through capacity building, self confidence, develop problem solving skills, build leadership and mentorship skills, public speaking and career mentoring, hygiene education and more.
This program will run for six years (2022 – 2027) assuring students who just got to junior high school have a chance to actually make it through the whole program.