Sixteen (16) Liberian entrepreneurs have benefited from a ten days “Start and Improve Your Business” (SIYB), training sponsored by the International Labour Organization ILO (SIYB) in collaboration with the United Nations-funded project, “Sustaining Peace and improving social cohesion through the promotion of rural employment opportunities for youth in conflict-prone areas.”
The SIYB program is an entrepreneurship and management training program for potential start-ups and existing small businesses and was developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), implemented in more 100 countries worldwide.
The ILO recognizes that fact that bulk of global employment is provided by micro- and small enterprises. The SIYB program is one of the main instruments to support employment creation in micro- and small enterprises (MSEs).
SIYB training between 2003 and 2010 resulted in around 2,700,000 jobs being generated. Through the program, the ILO assist government and private actors to provide more and better services to start-ups and existing small enterprises in order to support job creation.
Stephen Kyalibulha, ILO/SIYB Master Trainer from Uganda and facilitator of the TOT Training Program, said that the program was developed by the ILO to empower people with skills to be able to create their own employment.
Kyalibulha has been a Master Trainer of the SIYB Program for over 17 years and has conducted several pieces of training in East and West Africa with SIYB skills in support of the ILO Decent Work program.
“It is among many programs the ILO has developed in its mandate as a UN organ to empower people to gain some skills that can be transmitted into improving standards of living; meaning that it is one of the major business development programs in the world which empowers men and women to be able to start their businesses and improving existing once” Kyaliblha noted.
Kyalibulha further noted that it is based on that the ILO has decided to use SIYB as a tool to build the capacity of young men and women in Bong and Lofa Counties.
He maintained that skills imparted into the participants of the TOT Training will enable them to train other entrepreneurs to become successful business people in the community.
According to him, the ILO/SIYB program does not train and let its beneficiaries alone, but follow-up with them on how they conduct training in their respective communities.
“Each trained entrepreneur will be required to organize a train in which he or she will conduct using the skills of SIYB learned. In order for a trainee to be certified, a Master Trainer must be a part of training conducted by him/her to establish whether a skill acquired has been translated in the right manner.”
He added that he is confident that training will bring about its expected outcome for the target beneficiaries of Bong and Lofa Counties because as he put it “the class was wonderful and all participants that started the training were able to end it and they are now considered SIYB trainers to train others in their various communities. It is the obligation of the ILO/SIYB Trainers to ensure that people grow and as such, we look forward to seeing in the next coming years Master Trainer coming out of this class.”
Kyalibulha used the opportunity to thank the Government of Liberia, the ILO and partners for supporting the Program.
Daniel Tubman, Commissioner of Salala District, Bong County, who spoke on behalf of the benefiting communities expressed gratitude to the ILO and partners for selecting six communities in the two counties for the project noting that “the project has added value and relevant to the collaboration between government and the partners.”
Daniel assured the ILO and partners of the Government of Liberia through the selected districts in Bong and Lofa Counties of their preparedness in working with them for the successful implementation of the project.
He promised that as representative of the government in the target communities, he and his fellow District Commissioners of Salayea and Zorzor Districts of Lofa County respectively will continue to make follow-ups on the utilization of all funds and materials allocated for the successful implementation of the Sustaining Peace Project.
He expressed happiness over the role being played by the ILO-Liberia Office in enhancing the Sustaining Peace Project noting “the ILO is not only involved with the implementation of this project, but it is also helping to build the capacity of community members to get into businesses which will lead to the creation of more and better employment opportunity for our citizens and residents.”
“As for the trainers trained by the ILO/SIYB, they will return to the various communities and train other community members with skills to improve their livelihood. Today, we have learned that because of the lack of training, our people unskillfully managed their businesses as a result; many of those businesses could not grow. But with the knowledge imparted into these trainers, we are confident it will bring about huge benefits to the community.”
ILO Country Manager to Liberia, Salif Massalay, praised the Master Trainer for the peace and successful conduct of the TOT training.
Salif said that participants of TOT Training have selected on the bases of qualification and competent noting that the training was for people that are capable of imparting knowledge to others.
He said: “The ILO will not depend on the participants for only the implementation of this intervention, but for any program, the ILO will have in the future. It is intended to ensure the sustainability of its activities in Liberia. Thanks to the participants for taking up the two weeks to undergo this TOT Training program.”
Salif informed the body that the intervention is under the Sustaining Peace Project which is sponsored by the FAO, WFP, ILO, and UN Peace- Building Fund Office. He noted that as a means of ensuring the sustainability of the project, these institutions decided to bring onboard the SIYB to build the capacity of community members.
“In Liberia, if you implement a project/program; after years, you went back there, can see nothing to show that a project took place there before. But with the introduction of the SIYB, we have learned a lot to sustain this intervention. Today, we know why the business starts and failed.”
The Coordinator of the class, Joseph K. Nyandibo thanked the ILO and partners for organizing such an important TOT training which he said will help improve doing business not only in the target communities but other parts of the Country.
Nyandibo also expressed on behalf of other trainees their gratitude to the Master Trainer of Program and assured that acknowledge learned will be transmitted to other members of the community.
The training was held in Gbarnga, Bong County from February 27- March 9, 2020, participants were drawn from Government Ministries and Agencies, the six benefiting communities of Bong and Lofa Counties as well as the Liberia Labour Congress (LLC).