The Liberia YMCA recently held graduation for 450 trainees from its Computer Training Program at the organization national headquarters in Monrovia. The ceremony was held under the theme, “Youth Empowerment through Technology.”
E. Timotheus Kamaboakai, secretary-general, said the YMCA empowers young people to be leaders and change agents, and drivers of the African Renaissance. According to Kamaboakai, every year, the YMCA tries to modify the program to ensure it is meeting the needs of the country’s economy.
He said the YMCA is working to expand the program to Grand Gedeh and Lofa counties to enable the young people there to access it in addition to the already six centers in four of the 15 counties, including Bong, Margibi, Nimba and rural Montserrado.
“We are not only making it accessible, but also affordable,” Kamaboakai said.
He said the YMCA also wants to enrich the Computer Training Program to ensure that what young people are being prepared for is meeting the market based for employment.
Kamaboakai also said the YMCA is beginning the process of registering a junior college in Liberia to fill in gaps at areas that are not offered by the country’s conventional universities.
The key focus, according to him, would be to “direct our focus to programs and activities that can lead to information technology engineering to include Agronomics, Digital Media and Entrepreneurship.
He therefore appreciated the trainees and the trainers for the hard work, and time they put into the training.
Minister of Youth and Sports, D. Zeogar Wilson, who served as keynote speaker, said “we are keenly aware of how important it is not just to the students, who have worked hard to earn your accolades, but also to your families and relatives.”
Minister Wilson said one of the statutory mandates of the ministry is to empower the youth to be useful citizens and most effectively discharge their responsibilities. He said since the establishment of the YMCA 138 years ago, it has been one of the key institutions dedicated to the objectives of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Wilson said the skills acquired by the trainees are important components needed to prepare them to contribute to the national developmental process, while providing them with good means of livelihood.
The Coordinator of the YMCA IT Center, Miss Decontee George, who presented the graduates, said since the formation of the Computer Training Program in 2004, a total of 14,000 young men and women have been trained with 53% male and 43% female.
Miss George said as of the next Cycle, a new curriculum will be added to the program, noting, “it is necessary to introduce work readiness program at the intermediate and advanced levels.
She said many young people, who are trained in various skills do not have work ethics and, as a result, they would complain of “no job.”
The YMCA Computer Training Program was established in November 2004 with the aim of providing Computer and Internet skills to the young people of Liberia. Most of the beneficiaries are working with public and private entities, while some have set up their own desktop publishing centers.
The center has trained over 14,000 many of the youth in computer literacy which include: Microsoft Office, Access DataBase, Graphics Design, Web design, while also providing other life skills opportunities to the beneficiaries.