President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will today, January 9, launch a US$10m Youth Opportunities Project at the Paynesville Town Hall to improve access to income generation opportunities for targeted youth. This financing will also provide support for strengthening the government’s capacity to implement its Social Cash Transfer program, according to a press release yesterday.
The Liberia Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) directly targets about 15,000 youth aged 15–35 years, 50 percent of whom would be vulnerable females. Youth aged 15–17 years will benefit from a Pre-Employment Social Support Component, which will provide job-readiness training to prepare 2,000 youth to participate in the labor market, while youth aged 18–35 years will benefit from a Household Enterprises Component that will provide skills training opportunities and support for the initiation or expansion of small businesses to 3,000 vulnerable youth. Both components will be implemented in urban areas of Montserrado.
The Productive Public Works Component of the project will provide life skills training and support for community farm production to 10,000 youth, and would enhance the productivity of staple crops using high quality inputs, as well as support for agro processing. This component will be implemented in rural areas of all 15 counties in Liberia. YOP activities will be implemented in close cooperation with the private sector.
Hon. Saah Charles N’Tow, Minister of Youth and Sports said, “This project is entrenched in Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation Human Development Pillar which emphasizes the promotion of shared and equitable economic growth in Liberia. Rural and urban youth have different employment constraints and therefore the project is designed to address specific needs of different cohorts of youth.”
The project will also benefit extremely poor households by improving the efficiency in the delivery of cash transfers to households in Liberia, with a focus on the development of management information, electronic registration, and payment systems.
“This project will support the basic building blocks of a social protection system that would increase resilience of the poorest and most vulnerable households in Liberia, and enhance their capacity to cope with future shocks,” said the Hon. Julia Duncan Cassell, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
As part of measures to ensure that results are achieved, the project will emphasize corruption prevention and a comprehensive complaints and grievance system. The project will therefore engage independent anti-corruption institutions, civil society, and all citizens to monitor project implementation and results.
The YOP will be implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which will bear the overall responsibility of ensuring the effective implementation of this project, the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection, and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment.