A web-based platform that will provide access to information on opportunities, programs, and policies targeting youth seeking employment and empowerment opportunities is expected to shortly be launched.
The new digital platform comes as a component of the Liberia Youth Employability and Empowerment Project (LYEEP) and will be launched in January 2020 with support from the World Bank.
It is in response to the fact that there is a dearth of information available to youth about livelihood and economic opportunities in the country, thereby limiting their ability to access jobs and other empowerment opportunities.
A database of actors in the youth sector along with information on the activities they support will also be hosted by the platform while the LYEEP will support strengthening coordination mechanisms of the youth sector, using existing national structures such as the National Youth Sector Steering and Coordination Committees.
Implementation of LYEEP activities will be carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).
To ensure that the design of the platform meets its objective, the World Bank recently collaborated with MYS and LACE, as well as the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), Liberia National Student Union (LINSU) and the Mano River Union Youth Parliament (MRUYP), to organize three consultations with the youth and stakeholders in the youth sector in Ganta, Nimba County; Buchanan, Grand Bassa County; and Monrovia, Montserrado County.
The objective was to provide information on the platform and solicit feedback from participants that will inform its design.
The three cities were selected because they are urban centers with high youth population and economic activities and other opportunities for the youth.
The consultations targeted at least 200 participants with 140 of these being youth and 60 being stakeholders and actors in the youth sector.
Youth participants included beneficiaries of direct youth interventions such as the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) as well as non-beneficiaries comprising members of FLY, LINSU and other representatives from youth organizations across these cities.
Stakeholders at the deliberations were drawn from county and city authorities, organizations serving youth, and the private sector. Engagements at the consultations utilized focus group discussions aimed at generating information on constraints faced by youth while accessing information on employment and empowerment, and constraints stakeholders face in reaching out to the youth with employability and empowerment information.
Participants also discussed opportunities for information dissemination within the youth sector and recommendations for increased access to employment and empowerment opportunities.
The discussions further engaged actors in identifying the governance structures required to improve youth employability and empowerment in Liberia by discussing constraints and opportunities for outreach and coordination within the youth sector. Ideas on the development, design, and name for the platform were proffered.
Outcomes from the three consultations will be shared with members of the Youth Sector Steering Committee headed by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
In addition, the World Bank and the Ministry are organizing a one-day working “hackathon” that will bring together computer programmers and experts involved in software development including graphic and interface designs to brainstorm and conceptualize a design for the platform.
LYEEP will be managed by the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Unit of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, along with a group of youth who will be trained to support in updating the platform and ensuring it remains functional.
The project is aligned with the Government of Liberia’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and the Liberia National Youth Policy’s objective on youth empowerment and employment.