In Liberia in particular, it is important to have young leaders who think positively and are willing to uphold the mantle of leadership and do it in a responsible, accessible and accountable manner for the good of all citizens.
The fourth semester of the Young Political Leadership School starts on July 31, 2017 at 9:30 am at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship Church on 9th Street, Sinkor, and ends on August 4, 2017. The one week political leadership capacity building program will bring together 100 young political leaders from various political parties, university student leaderships, youth led organizations, youth-candidates, professionals and young people who are passionate about improving democracy through effective youth leadership and participation. The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Farid Zarf and United States Ambassador, Christine Elder will speak at the opening session of the program.
Despite the evident that young people constitute about 65% of the nation’s population and ages 18-32 constitute 55% of registered voters in Liberia, the dividends of youth participation in national decision-making and political processes are inadequate. To compound this malaise, the youth face increasing challenges ranging from the lack of basic social services to unemployment; multiple forms of inequalities as well as exclusion, etc.
The Young Political Leadership School is designed to build the political leadership and organizing stills of young people who have chosen to pursue a career in politics and to transform their community for the best.
The program intends to expose young people to electoral politics, campaign process, public speaking, and leadership skills. They will learn about campaign communications, press relations, research, polling and voter targeting thereby preparing them for transformational political leadership to serve their community. After the one-week training 100 graduates will undertake 12 weeks citizen engagement, working on campaign teams, facilitating community forums bringing voters face to face with the candidates, documenting campaign promises and serving as community leaders/volunteers etc.
NAYMOTE’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo said “indeed, the Young Political Leadership School is dear to our heart as an institution because we believe that it is more than just a school. It is part of a revolution to transform our political system for the good and ensure that solution to problems in communities and passion for development remains a major component of the framework within which political parties can compete, so that the voters of Liberia can reap the benefits of their participation in decision-making”.
230 youth have graduated from the YPLS since April 2016 and six graduates are legislative candidates in the ensuing general elections and many others are part of their political party’s campaign teams. Other graduates are playing leadership roles in their communities and institutions.
“The young political leaders are inspirational for the future hope of Liberia, if you get young people like this into leadership role in five, ten to fifteen years, you will have a better country,” Jeff Fox, Political Communicator and facilitator of semester three YPLS.
The institution received 357 applications, the vetting process is ongoing by an independent team and only 100 will be qualified for enrollment for the semester four program.