On November 22, 2022, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the French bilateral development agency, Agence Franchise de Development (AFD) celebrated the official closure of the Liberia Employment and Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP).
The program initially targeted 11,000 Liberian youth (50% male, 50% female) aged 18-35, most affected by unemployment, in Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa counties with marketable skills and employment opportunities.
The LEEP program was however expanded to include 13,000 Liberian youth, who benefited financially from the three-year program funded by the Agence Franchise de Development (AFD).
It is focused on increasing employability and creating jobs for young Liberians. Access also benefits local business partners, such as TRIBE Liberia, MWESTANA Consulting & Technology Group.
Sharing his experiences and benefits, Karl R. Smith acknowledged Mercy Corps and the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the benefit of their National Youth Service Program.
Karl said that he smoothly improved the growth and development of young people.
Karl further said that MWESTANA Consulting & Technology Group was able to participate in the Youth Entrepreneurship program by training about 350 young people in coding, programming and software development.
By 2030, when the global population is expected to reach 8.6 billion, the youth population will grow to more than 1.3 billion.
Pervasive unemployment, underemployment and longer transitions from school to work are some of the most significant challenges facing the growing youth population.
These challenges are the result of a lack of suitable professional opportunities for young people and increasingly skewed skills imbalances, shortages, redundancies and mismatches of acquired skills with those required by the world of work.
To cope with growing demands for skills and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems, countries around the world are investing in new learning pathways.
They launch innovative initiatives and programs and develop new partnerships.
Appropriate skills development programs must ensure not only functional compliance with the demands of the world of work, but also the development of transversal skills and competencies that enable young people to respond to the changing demands of industry.
Highlighting the LEEP presentation, Edward Onyuka, LEEP team leader, said the program is a four million euro youth employment program that will run from 2019 to 2022.
Mr. Onyuka said the youth employment component of the project targeted about 9,700 and benefited 11,294, which is 116% achieved.
He said that Youth Entrepreneurship was aimed at 1,300 young people, but that 1,603 benefited, which is 123% achieved.
On private sector engagement, Mr Onyuka said the target was 15 while there were 18 actual beneficiaries.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Youth and Sports, D. Zeogar Wilson, Deputy Minister of Technical and Vocational Education and Training at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Peter Bemah confirmed that youth unemployment in Liberia remains high.
He added that the program helped improve and influence the capacity of Liberian youth.
He commended the AFD and Mercy Corps for the LEEP initiative which he said has succeeded in supporting the government’s efforts to create employment and educational opportunities for the youth to become vibrant, resourceful and involved contributors to nation building.
For his part, Mercy Corps Director for Liberia, Miji Park, reaffirmed Mercy Corps’ commitment to working with collaborative partners for youth development.
Also speaking, Mr. Christopher Cottet, AFD Country Director, renewed his institution’s commitment through the Government of France in partnership with the Government of Liberia to continue youth engagement and development.
He commanded the youth of Liberia for the interest and commitment they showed during the program. – Press release