The Government of Liberia (GoL) and the United Nations on Thursday, June 27, 2019, launched a peace-building fund project in Gbarnga, Bong County, aimed at enhancing income generation of entrepreneurs, mainly youth groups that are engaged into agricultural activities in Bong, and Lofa counties.
The sustaining peace and improving social cohesion through the promotion of rural employment opportunities for youth in conflict-prone areas project is a team-driven effort implemented by the GoL through the ministries of Agriculture, Gender, Labor and Youth and Sports in collaboration with the United Nations office in Liberia, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Program, and the International Labor Organization.
Peter Bemah, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister for Technical and Vocational Education, who performed the official launching exercise, called on youth in Bong and Lofa counties to embrace the project and be positive instruments of sustaining the peace, fostering social cohesion and living side-by-side in oneness.
He pledged the MYS’ commitment in making the project successful as a basis for expansion to other counties.
“If this project is not successful, we will not be able to extend it to other parts of the country involving the youths,” Bimba said.
Bong County Gender Coordinator, Anita K. Rennie, said that young people can only be able to foster peace and fight against violence when they are empowered with the essential skills, and opportunities to be marketable adding that the project is the right vehicle.
Meanwhile, youth leaders in the two counties, expressed the hope to empower an independent-minded youth.
Augustine Kokulo Jr, Youth president of Zorzor District, Lofa County, said they were optimistic that the project “will empower us to the level where they will graduate from continuously standing at the door-steps of politicians begging for scholarships, and other handouts due to hardships, but to become self-sufficient.”
Diggs K. Singbah, Youth Leader, Salala District, Bong County, said Liberian youth often face “extreme hardships to access the right opportunities to become marketable and productive.”
“We hope that this project will help improve lives of young people by making them productive citizens,” he said.
A multidimensional joint effort of FAO, ILO, WFP, and the GoL, the peace-building fund project is a 24-month activity, which primary purpose is sustaining the peace through reduction in youth vulnerability and achieve their positive engagement in improved rice, vegetable, poultry, and fish farming.