The Government of Liberia and its donor partners, the World Bank and SIDA, have given another major boost to the full implementation of the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP), affecting the communal farming or agricultural component of the Project, called ‘Productive Public Works’.
According to a YOP press release, the 5-year youth employment and empowerment Project basically seeks to mainstream rural youths into the government’s provision of life skills and employment opportunities thereby increasing access to income-generating activities.
Early Thursday morning, on the grounds of the Executive Mansion, the Project received a sizable donation of 42 high-quality Motorbikes, fitted with protective gears including helmets, project coded jackets, etc, intended to facilitate implementation activities in all project communities across Liberia’s 15 Counties.
An elated Youth and Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson, whose Ministry supervises the YOP, lauded the Project Teams for the strong dedication and commitment they have demonstrated in rolling out the Project, which he said has attracted such worthwhile donation that enhances the work in the field.
Minister Wilson especially thanked the World Bank and the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA), for standing with the Liberian government in addressing the capacity building and empowerment needs of the youths. According to Minister Wilson, President George M. Weah’s government is grateful to the World Bank, SIDA and all other donor partners for helping to support the government’s priority programs for improving the livelihoods of the young people who are responsible for the Country’s future.
The Minister also used his brief speech to commend the County Facilitators (CFs) for the hard work they are undertaking in the rural communities to make sure the YOP is successful.
Minister Wilson, on behalf of Mr Quiwu Yeke, Executive Director of the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), which implements the YOP, then performed the turning over of the Bikes to the CFs, through their colleague organization ‘We4Self’, which is sub-implementing the Project in Sinoe and Rivercess Counties.
Minister Wilson conveyed to the audience, the good tidings of the LACE Executive Director Yeke, who was engaged with another government function.
Each Community Facilitator received three (3) of the brand new 42 Motorbikes. Community Facilitators are Non-governmental organizations operating in rural communities in the 15 Counties of Liberia that were thoroughly vetted and hired by the Youth Opportunities Project to sub-implement the Project with technical managerial supervision from the implementing Agency and Ministries of Government which are LACE, Ministry of Youth & Sports, and Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Present at the short ceremony was World Bank Liberia Operations Officer, Madam Esther Rogas Garcia, who in remarks on behalf of the Bank’s Country Director, expressed the World Bank’s interest in the empowerment of the Liberian youths and the Bank’s practical commitment to fully support the various Youth programs of the Liberian government including the YOP. Madam Rogas Garcia said the Youth Opportunities Project is vital to the World Bank because in her words: “the YOP is a flagship project of the World Bank because it is one of the projects under the Bank’s funding that is focusing on the rural areas”.
She gave hats off to the Technical Teams who she said have put in the works required to get the project to its current high level of implementation and urged them to continue.
Mr. Mark Capehart Mulbah, World Bank Liberia office Social Protection Executive, also graced the turning over ceremony held at LACE head office.
Mr. Jesse Bengu from the Youth and Sports Ministry is the National Coordinator, of the Youth Opportunities Project, assisted by Mr. Jerry Zangar, also from the same Ministry, while Mr. Mohammed A. Nasser, from LACE, heads the Project’s implementation as Technical Team Manager (TTM).