A Liberian entrepreneur based in New Jersey, USA, Peter Massaquoi, says youth empowerment and career development are key components to nation-building.
He stressed academic education, vocational and technical training as key areas those leaders in Liberia must prioritize for the younger generation who are to steer the affairs of the country soon.
Mr. Massaquoi also cautioned youths to remain steadfast and determined in order to overcome the menace of society and contribute positively to their country and families.
Serving as a guest speaker during the online graduation ceremony of a not-for-profit organization, Passion For Youth Education Foundation, on Sunday, August 2, 2020, he intimated that for too long, Liberia as a nation has not done much to empower its youthful population, something he believes is also contributing to Liberia’s backwardness.
The CEO of the Peter Massaquoi Insurance Company, LLC, based in New Jersey, USA, cautioned participants of the online training to enact what they have learned over the two weeks of intensive training in their respective organizations, communities and country in order to be able to transform the world at large.
“Utilize the opportunities provided you by the Passion For Youth Education Foundation and make Liberia a great nation; we need leaders like you to transform our beloved country Liberia,” Mr. Massaquoi said.
He also called on the Liberian government to institute reforms that will provide training opportunities for the youth of Liberia. The insurance executive also provided L$ 40,000 to the organization, to boost its ongoing agriculture project in rural Liberia. Massaquoi disclosed that currently many youths in Liberia are challenged in different sectors to include career-training, lack of youths’ empowerment, entrepreneurship, leadership and equal justice.
He maintained that the above challenges have prevented many youths from unleashing their full potential, subsequently leading them into being street beggars, thieves, among others.
To tackle this, the insurance guru called on government and political leaders to provide the necessary opportunity for young Liberians to explore.
Narrating his experience on how he started his insurance company in the USA, Massaquoi noted that many Liberians in the Diaspora doubted his ability to open a functional insurance business due to immense competition in the sector. “I started my company as a young Liberian in a very tough and difficult situation.’’ He said though he met unexpected challenges along the way, it took him real determination to get his business started.
“When I started back in 2016, there were many Liberians in the United States who doubted my ability to run an effective company, especially competing in the insurance industry,’’ Massaquoi averred.
According to Massaquoi, since 2016 up to present, his insurance company has empowered different agents to become licensed operators and at the same time providing low-cost insurance to everyone.
He admonished young graduates to take charge of the Liberian economy by investing in local businesses for the betterment of the country.
Also speaking, Passion for Youth Education Foundation (PYEF) Founder and Chief Executive Director Nuwo David lauded youths for their commitment to the program.
Ms. David said the program was intensive; each student was given a daily assignment, to summarize each lecture, and also did a group work aimed at networking and encouraging participants to freely express ideas.
She said her group believes in youth’s foundation building through education, self-motivation, youths initiatives, vocational skills, peace-building, agriculture, healthcare, gender equality and other transformation programs.
“PYEF empowers, equips, and inspires youths to take action in shaping their own destiny through developmental initiatives in a more suitable way,” Ms. David said.
“The organization believes that when youths are empowered, they can become meaningful in impacting society,” Ms David noted.
She said her organization is currently networking with various international youth groups for a mentorship opportunity for Liberian youths who are taking advantage of the training.
She said PYEF holds a crucial conviction that every youth has something tangible to contribute to developmental initiatives and will work with youths from all walks of life regardless of their socio-economic status, race, political, cultural or ethnic backgrounds.
Explaining the mission of the organization, its Operation Director Layman E. Kollie said they are committed to building the mindset of Youths in a positive way aimed at changing the negative aspects of life that many youths considered.
Ms. Kollie said the vision of this organization is to ensure that youths, especially vulnerable youths and the less fortunate, should take the lead in impacting the world positively.