Sport and agriculture youth project in Sierra Leone
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In close cooperation with the European Baptist Mission (EBM) and the Baptist Convention in Sierra Leone (BCSL), the Norwegian Baptist Union (NBU) is preparing to send a couple as missionaries to Sierra Leone. The husband is a mechanic, active in athletics and with extensive experience from social work. In order to include the target group in the planning this feasibility study was organised in June 2006. The team visited officials in Freetown before they went to Lunsar, the target area that was 120 km north of Freetown. In the Lunsar area unofficial figures give 80% unemployment among young people. The reintegration of child soldiers was not as successful as one could hope for, and there are a number of frustrated young men and women who have no hope for the future. They are getting into drug abuse, prostitution and robbery. On the other hand there is a large number of youth associations, some of them could be potential partners in the project. One association “young investors” has tried various activities in order to get maximum income, with the result that agriculture gives the best and most stable profit. Sierra Leone has given priority to food production and there is plenty of free land for agriculture in the Lunsar area. Sport is well organised and seems to be considered as a tool for getting the youth at risk into a positive setting. The joint initiative from the BSCL, NBU and EBM was very well received by local authorities. After long meetings with grassroots organisations, in particular youth’s associations and secondary schools, the outline of a project was decided. The missionary will be a resource person in the sport activities, try to convince young people that agriculture is a good way of living, provide tools and seed in order to help them to start. He will also work with the sport associations and with the Baptist Union Youth Association in Lunsar.