-As 3,500 youth to beneficiaries for special agricultural activities
By George Harris and David A. Yates
As part of efforts to improve the economic status to contribute to food security in the rural parts of Liberia, the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) recently made additional recruitment of 3,500 youths that are living at a very low-income level.
The initiative is a continuation of YOP’s Productive Public Works (PPW) program.
According to a release, YOP’s PPW phase-two recruitment exercise was executed for a period of one month across the fifteen counties of Liberia. A total of 129 communities from the fifteen counties were selected during the recruitment process.
Recruited youth who are between the ages 18 to 35 will be incorporated into a special agricultural initiative of YOP, the release said.
In a follow-up interview, YOP National Coordinator, Jesse Bengu, said that YOP agricultural initiative is designed to increase youth earnings but also enhance their entrepreneurial potentials.
“The venture would positively shift and engage their [youth] minds, and promote their ambitions to abandon acts that are counter-productive for society,” Bengu said. “Therefore, in-demand agricultural produce like rice, cassava, eddoes, maize, and vegetables worth paying attention to as it is necessary and would profit those in our program and the nation at large.”
Bengu added that his organization is preparing to drill youth through two operational plans that will help them overcome their economic challenges. First, YOP is offering basic planting tools, and cash as labor subsidies to recruited youth that are from rural communities. Secondly, it is building the capacity of recruited youth through basic financial and small-skills business management training.
The YOP is implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE). It is supported by the World Bank with a 10 million dollar loan to the Government of Liberia.
The project focuses on Pre-Employment Social Support for urban youth between the ages of 15-17 years, and Household Enterprises for Urban Youth as well between the ages of 18-35.
For the Productive Public Works component, the project supports rural youth between the ages of 18-35 years. A total of 15,000 beneficiaries are targeted by December 2020 the end of the project’s five-years term.