Explains youth-driven activities on-going at the Ministry of Youth & Sports
Youth & Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson says the country’s population is about 65% of youth who overwhelmingly voted for the CDC Coalition, and therefore he is reaching out to them with youth-drive programs that are geared toward their empowerment.
Speaking in an interactive forum last Saturday at the New Kru Town Hall in Monrovia, he said the youths voted for change and therefore the government, through his ministry must deliver change for them.
The interactive dialogue, organized by the Federation of Borough Youth (FOBY) sought the Ministry of Youth & Sports’ projects that are youth driven as well as those in the future.
Speaking extemporaneously, Minister Wilson walked among the youths and explained about youth projects that he has undertaking, along with partners since coming to power.
He explained about the National Youth Employment and Empowerment Program that is designed to provide strategic and sustainable interventions for youth, enabling them to effectively participate in national development and improve the quality of their lives.
Minister Wilson said the focus of the program is on four components, namely; Entrepreneurship Development and Management, National Youth Voluntary Service and the National Cadet, Internship Program and Beaches and Waterways.
He explained that the Youth Entrepreneurship Development component will target all categories of youths in Liberia, with a specific focus on the poor and unemployed. This component, he said will be implemented under the guidance of the Ministry of Youth & Sports (MYS) and initially financed by the Government of Liberia’s own resources in the 2019-20 budget year (with a possibility of development partners’ support in the future).
Minister Wilson said the initial budget estimate for the Youth Entrepreneurship Development component is to benefit 700 youth aged 18-35.
Minister Wilson said funds, if approve, will be advanced to the Youth Business Groups (YBG) under a Revolving Fund scheme or arrangement under which interested youth are grouped together of seven individuals who conceptualize on an enterprise and receive their business starter loan of between US$2000 to US$3,500.00 to establish and manage their enterprise and repay the loan at an interest rate of 5%.
“No interest will be levied if the group repays the loan value within 24 months, but repayment of the loan after 24 months will be charged 5% interest,” he said. He added that Phase One of the rollout will target 10 communities for a period of 18 months and would be scaled up to include other county capitals in subsequent years.
The youth paid rapt attention as Minister Wilson went to the next component that is related to his youth-driven empowerment initiative at the Ministry of Youth & Sports. He said the ministry will initiate the National Youth Volunteer Service project.
The objective of this component, he said will be to create opportunities for young university graduates support to the provision of public services at community levels in five selected counties in Liberia. Every year, youth volunteers will be provided support to become actively involved in the provision of direct service (s) in various areas of need such as education, health, and agriculture to complement the Government of Liberia’s efforts to mitigate some of the challenges associated with timely delivery of services in remote counties and communities.
These young volunteers will support education, agriculture and health care services in Grand Kru, River Gee, River Cess, Gbarpolu, and Maryland counties where the GOL experiences human resource challenges. Prior to their deployment, the National Volunteers (NVs) will undergo a four-week intensive induction training to prepare them for assignment in rural Liberia.
The third component of the National Youth Employment and Empowerment Program (NYEEP), he said is the National Cadet Program.
“The objective of this component of the NYEEP will be to provide opportunities for young university and TVET institution graduates and graduating seniors to gain job-readiness skills through internship schemes in order to increase their employability,” he said. “This component will provide internship placement for 250 beneficiaries annually with 50 beneficiaries for Monrovia and 40 each in five other counties (Lofa, Nimba, Grand Cape Mount, and Gbarpolu).”
He asked his audience to seek opportunities that are presently available at the Ministry of Youth & Sports. The fourth program examined was the Beaches & Waterways Program that is presently under the Ministry. He said he wants then NYEEP program to be legislated so that it becomes the law of the land and irrespective of who becomes president he would be under obligation to provide job opportunities for the young people.
He also mentioned the Youth Opportunity Project (YOP), a USD10M World Bank-funded project that is targeting 15,000 youths for the next five years. Several of the audience members told the Daily Observer that they would take pen and paper with them the next time Minister Wilson speaks to them.
“He provided a wealth of information,” a member said. “About what is going on at the Ministry of Youth & Sports.”
Participants at the dialogue included president of FOBY, Peter S. Wesseh, Jr., G. Baccus Karpeh, founding president of FOBY, Mrs. Georgia C. Bayor, chair of all chapters of the Borough of New Kru Town, among others.