Vice President Joseph Boakai has challenged graduates of the EPAG Program to be competitive, hard working and exhibit the best positive attitude in their business skills and customer service after months of training and mentorship.
The Liberian Vice President further urged the graduates to show gratitude by the exemplary way in which they apply the training to real world situation and tackle modern day reality in exhibiting their skills.
Speaking on Friday, November 11, 2016 at a program marking the Greater Monrovia EPAG Round 4 Graduation Ceremony at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship Center, in Monrovia, Vice President Boakai called on the graduates to always remind themselves that so much have been invested in them naming time, money and human effort.
“You were given the opportunity to better your condition, and you took it. So make sure, your community and country reaps benefits from it”, VP Boakai cautioned the graduates. He is hopeful that other young people across Liberia will find motivation to embark on productive exercises that will transform them into good productive citizens.
Vice President Boakai paid special homage to Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Julia Duncan Cassell and her team of workers at the ministry for breaking the tradition and including boys in the 4th round of the Economic Empowerment for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) project for the first time. He described the action as positive and a welcomed shift in the direction of gender balance that has finally taken hold of the EPAG, as the program will never be the same again.
The Liberian Vice President sees EPAG as one of the biggest ways to boost efforts at pushing the national Agenda for Transformation, considering Liberia’s sad reality that youth unemployment and youth exclusion are among the main obstacles to development.
He described as laudable; the superb collaboration between the Ministry of Gender and the service providers; National Adult Education Association of Liberia (NAEAL) and EDUcare-Liberia that has led to the celebration of success for 970 adolescent girls and 200 adolescent boys to get training in business development skills.
For her part, Gender Children and Social Protection Minister Julia Duncan Cassell said the skills the young women and men have acquired will go a long way in developing them and helped them become self employed.
Minister Duncan Cassell paid homage to the partners including the main donor; the Swedish Agency for International Development (SIDA) and the World Bank for the massive support they have given to young Liberians to get life changing skills.
She also used the occasion to call on national government to provide support and help the partners in meeting the target of training over 10 thousand young people. Minister Cassell said over 6 thousand young people have been trained so far and pleaded that such program will only continue if the funding continues to flow.
418 adolescent girls and young women along with 100 adolescent young men graduated on Friday.