The Liberia Youth Employability and Empowerment Project (LYEEP) Hackathon Award program for 2020 has certificated a group of Liberian youth and awarded them a prize of US$10,000 in appreciation of their innovative work as winners of the hackathon.
The World Bank, in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) and Rapid Social Response, also certificated the winning group that comprised five members headed by Ms. Shalom Massalay.
Massalay, on behalf of the group, thanked the World Bank and partners for organizing the employability and empowerment Hackathon project to discover the innovative talent of young people in information digitalization and technology that aims to address the gap of empowerment.
She told those that participated in the Hackathon competition to use the knowledge gained in their respective areas of duty for the building of Liberia.
“Although we have been here for just three days,” Massalay said, “we will carry a thrilling memory of the time spent at the World Bank.”
Massalay encouraged her colleagues to strengthen the friendly ties because great things in business are never done by one person, but through the collective efforts of people in teams.
A Hackathon is a design sprint-like event, in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, domain experts, and others compete in a software project.
The software, which helps put skills to work and solve an interesting business problem and real-world challenges, was developed by the youth group of five to identify a gap in an existing program, information technology, job, and livelihood opportunity and to design innovative ICT solutions aimed at addressing those gaps that were identified.
The Hackathon was held under the Liberia Youth Employability and Empowerment Project (LYEEP) which is a World Bank-sponsored activity whose aim is to support the government of Liberia to improve the employability of youth through access to information on the opportunity, programs, and policies that will empower them.
Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager, said the LYEEP Hackathons 2020 was based on feedback received from consultation held with youth and stakeholders in Nimba, Grand Bassa and Montserrado counties during the second half of 2019, where participants confirmed the existing information gap between youth seeking opportunities and opportunities providers, as well as the need to leverage information and communications technology (ICT).
Dr. Nthara said preparation for the Hackathons included mobilization and campaign in communities, university campuses and the setup of online registration processes where youth could express the interest to participate in the event.
Dr. Nthara said, “We are very proud of the innovative system designed and presented by the various youth groups during the Hackathons and are pleased that the event ended successfully.”
“The next critical steps in youth employability and empowerment will be based on selected designs to be used by the public with support from the Rapid Social response, and World Bank will work with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) to support the winning team of the Hackathons program and naturalize their design concept,” he told participants.
Zeogar Wilson, Minister of Youth and Sports, who presented the certificate to the winners, said the program speaks to the fact that young people must always have a role to play in the society that will impact their lives positively.
He told participants that “the fact that you were selected from among 120 applicants means that you put all your efforts into the process.”
Minister Wilson encouraged those that were successful in the process to keep pressing forward and be determined to perform in what they have learned, adding that “knowledge will never be wasted.”