The Liberian government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has embarked on a series of interventions aimed at developing thousands of youth across the country.
Presenting the National Youth Employment and Empowerment Program (NYEEP) plan at a consultative meeting with youth groups on Friday, December 7, 2018, Youth and Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson, said the interventions are in line with the “Pro-Poor” Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Min. Wilson named the interventions as: Youth Opportunity Project (YOP), Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Project (YEEP) and Liberia Employment and Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP).
He said YOP is a US$10M World Bank funded project and will directly benefit about 15,000 targeted youth (aged 15–35 years) over a five-year period with as many as two-thirds (10,000) graduating from the project by the end of 2019.
According to him, the targeted youth are those who meet a set level of vulnerability owing to their poverty status, which would be determined through a set of eligibility criteria.
He noted that the project will seek to ensure an overall 50/50 participation ratio for male and female beneficiaries across Liberia.
Min. Wilson asserted that the YOP components include: Pre-employment Social Support and Household Enterprises for Urban Youth, Productive Public Works and Life Skills Support, Capacity and Systems Building for Cash Transfers and Project Implementation and Coordination.
“About 2,000 vulnerable youth (aged 15-17 years) in Monrovia will benefit from job-readiness skills training under the Pre-Employment Social Support sub-component. The focus will be on Job Readiness Training, Social Support Training, Health and Hygiene Training, and Financial Education Training. This Sub-component is expected to start in January 2019,” explained Min. Wilson.
“Also, 3,000 vulnerable youth (aged 18-35 years) in Monrovia will benefit from Household Enterprises sub-component of the project. The objective is to increase labor productivity of youth working in household enterprises. The sub-component will focus on assisting selected youth to establish their small businesses in a group of eight, right in their communities,” the MYS boss continued.
He indicated that a group of eight will receive US$2,400.00 to start their business and they will be closely monitored by a Service Provider to ensure success.
“Ten thousand youth (aged 18-35 years) in rural communities in the 15 counties will be provided life skills training, simple farming tools and seedings, technical agriculture support, as well as labor subsidy to engage in communal farming (food production) under the Productive Public Works & Life Skills Training subcomponent. Under the Training component, each youth will receive a total of US$300.00 as labor subsidy within the 18-month cycle,” the Minister stated.
Under Pre-employment Social Support sub-component, Min. Wilson intoned that hiring of service provider to support implementation is underway and is expected to be concluded by December 2018, and that recruitment of beneficiaries will commence March 2019.
Owing to the specialized nature of the services to be provided the youth, especially in the area of psychosocial support, he said the Project Management Team has embarked on a rigorous process to recruit the needed service provider.
“For the Household Enterprises Support sub-component, the project has recruited and provided business skills training to 800 youth in 10 communities in Monrovia for the first round of implementation, the youth have all completed business plans in groups of 8 and the launch of subprojects (implementation of small businesses by the youth) took place on September 27, 2018. A total of US$240,000 will be provided directly to 100 youth enterprises and that payment started on December 4, 2018,” the Minister furthered.
Commenting on the Productive Public Works and Life Skills Support component, Min. Wilson said the Youth and Sports Ministry has recruited 3,612 youth to engage in farming activities in 128 communities nationwide for the first round of implementation.
“We have also hired 14 Service Providers; local NGOs, at the county level to provide technical support to the youth farming groups of 28 youth per group, and farming groups have cultivated a total of 4,109 acres of food crop out of 4,515 acres targeted for this farming season in round one,” revealed the Minister.
He disclosed that that labor subsidies in the amount of $150 per person has been disbursed to all the 3,612 youths totaling $541,800.00 and completed the recruitment of another set of 3,612 youth in 128 communities across the country for round-two implementation.
The Youth and sports Minister intoned that under the Capacity and Systems Building for Cash Transfers Component, the basic design for a National Household Social Registry has been developed and a unit to manage the registry has also been set up at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and further support for work under this component will be complimented by the Liberia Social Safety Nets Project under the MGCSP.
Minister Wilson noted that the next step for 2019 will be to recruit and provide job-readiness skills to 500 youths in Monrovia under Pre-Employment Support, recruit and provide skills training and cash grants to an additional 1,200 youths in Monrovia under Support to Household Enterprises, provide tools, agro-inputs and labor subsidies to 3,612 youth nation-wide under Productive Public Works for round-two implementation, as well as additional financing of 3.5 million Euros from the Swedish Government and additional financing of five million Euros from the French Government toward YOP.
“The Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Project (YEEP) is a three-year project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The US$2.4 million project targets 2,700 youths, 20 SMEs, 30 instructional staff and 40 new businesses, in Montserrado, Margibi and Nimba with its targeted institutions a: University of Liberia, Nimba County Community College (NCCC) in Nimba County and Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Margibi County. The YEEP project aims at promoting youth entrepreneurship through improving their business skills, and improve youth employability by empowering them with relevant skills required by the job market,” he added.