The Government of Liberia with funding from the World Bank has recruited 1,500 vulnerable youth into financial management skills and business management support. This aims to enhance self-income generation opportunities for 3,000 targeted youth under the Household Enterprise Support (HES) Subcomponent of the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP), a flagship youth project by the government, implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) in collaboration with the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) and the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MGCSP). A total of 15 communities in the greater Monrovia region were targeted with 100 youth drown from each, marking the second round of enrollment exercise by the YOP in its HES Subcomponent. Phase-2 HES recruitment took place in Doe Community, Slipway, Jamaica Road, Old and New Mataldi Estate, Topoe Village, and New Kru Town. Others are Central and Upper Caldwell, Bong Mines Bridge, Tweh Farm, New Georgia Estate, Police Academy, and Soul Clinic. The rest of the communities include Chicken Soup Factory, Pipeline, and Duport Road.
These communities were selected based on the results from the 2008 National Population Census conducted by the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), backed by field assessments which identified them with high population and rate of vulnerable youth. As a result, the project considered to direct its intervention to support the youth transition from vulnerability. The recent recruitment started in May, this year, with over 5,000 applicants and the finalists were determined from a 3-day lottery exercise conducted at designated centers in the communities where registration took place. “This is a great breakthrough for me; I was studying Criminal Justice at the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University, but my inability to afford tuition compelled me to drop. With the YOP, I believe my story will change”- Mariama Karpee, 29, and single mother of 3, stated when her name was picked at the lottery. The project gives a 50-50 gender parity to ensure equal participation of males and females who will federate in groups of 5-8 to run their own businesses.
Successful candidates are now encouraged to begin to think of their business plan so that when the time reaches for submission of business proposals there will be no difficulty deciding one, said the YOP National Coordinator Jesse Bengu. September 2019 will mark the beginning of orientation and subsequent financial management skills training and business grants to the youth.
Some enterprises of support by the YOP include Carpentry, Electronics Retail and Repairs, Plumbing, Electricity, Bricks Making and Sales, Tailoring, Interior Decoration, and Wood Processing. There were approximately 800 youth recruited in the first phase of HES implementation. They also benefited financial grants, gained financial skills support, have established, and are managing their own businesses.
While HES Round-2 implementation is underway, the YOP will execute a sister sub-component - the Pre-employment Social Support (PESS) - for in-and-out of school youth to prepare them for the job market. The beneficiaries will also undergo orientation on basic health practices and benefit social support. PESS first round of recruitment is underway for 500 youth in 10 urban communities, targeting a total of 2,000 youth, 15-17.