Mercy Corps, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Education have signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a validated curriculum of the training manuals of Mercy Corps’ Promoting Sustainability Partnership for Economic Transformations (PROSPECTS) Employment and Entrepreneurship Program.
The Validation and MOU signing ceremony took place on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at the Ministry of Education Conference room at the Ministerial complex in Congo Town.
With support from the Swedish Embassy in Liberia, eight members of a technical working group consisting of personnel from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Education, Women Training and Integration-Liberian Red Cross Society and Mercy Corps have comprehensively validated the training manuals.
These manuals will help train young people in Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) institutions.
The training manuals produced by Mercy Corps include Advanced Business Skills; Basic Business Skills; Career Planning for Career Success; Effective Job Application, Work readiness Soft Skills and Life Skills Training.
Mercy Corps will also pass on facilitation skills to government partners and other stakeholders in the youth education and employment sector who would continue to scale up the use of these national training curricula to provide youth with soft and business skills to help better their lives.
Mwesigwa Ishaza, Mercy Corps Team Lead-Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship, said PROSPECTS for the past seven (7) years, spanning three phases of implementation been Mercy Corps flagship urban youth livelihood program.
He said through direct implementation of national and private sector partners, the program connects youths to market-driven opportunity by either placing them in a workforce development program for job opportunities or by supporting them as they develop and operate micro-enterprise.
Ishaza said to achieve this, the programs developed, and use training manuals to be very impactful in providing knowledge to participants, equip them with both soft skills and relevant business skills and opportunities over the years.
He continues that a total of 22,000 young Liberians have so far benefitted from the use of these curriculum manuals from the launch of the first phase of the program on July 1, 2014, until March 2020, in phase 3 of the implementation.
Ishaza stated in its third phase of implementation that the PROSPECTS program is focused on building a stronger partnership that will sustain the gains beyond the program’s closure.
It is in this context that Mercy Corps has been collaborating with partners and other stakeholders through the technical working group over the past few months to review and validate all six of its training manuals.
“So, this is while we are here today to signed a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Education, and Mercy Corps to ensure that we’re able to popularize and scale content for TVET institutions and improve them,” he stated.
Kwasi Gyeabour, Mercy Corps Country Director, expressed gratitude to the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as to Education for the cordial working relationship to ensure a prosperous future for young Liberians.
Narrating about the partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, their shared dedication and devotion, Gyeabour said at times “I feel very happy, because as an international organization, we are not here forever, all that Mercy Corps does here is to support the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) youth component.”
According to him, it is always fascinating and indeed quite rewarding when “you meet Ministers, who lived with the revered PAPD as if it was their Bible every day and we believed that our goal to empower young African leaders and organizations will be achieved.”
Mr. Gyeabour said that Mercy Corps is here to stay, to work, and support young people of this country, and “we will only go away when we our mission is completed and accomplished.”
Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson also took the opportunity to thank the Mercy Corps family for their working relationship over the years and the farsightedness in developing manuals that will be used by young people in Liberia.
Minister Wilson said, “I am pleased for such a relationship that is empowering 22, 000 young people from 2014-2020, which he described as very good news and Mercy Corps should be commended for the support as well as the Swedish Government.”
He then commended and acknowledged the technical team, who work tirelessly to put their time invalidating the manual.
“I want to say a big thank you to all and let’s continue to work in the interest of the young people of this country because they are the future leaders and whatever we can do to empower them will be helpful,” Minister Wilson added.
Minister of Education Prof. Ansu D. Sonii, for his part, lauded Mercy Corps for their support over the years.
According to Prof. Sonii, Liberia has suffered a lot and these other pandemics are just helping to make it worse, “so we are happy to be here today to validate these manuals and appreciate the support and hope to see the outcome of it.”
The PROSPECTS program is funded by the Swedish Government through the Swedish Embassy in Liberia.