Promoting Sustainable Partnership for Economic Transformations (PROSPECTS-3), has graduated its fifth batch of young people from its apprenticeship program in Gbarnga and Ganta in Bong and Nimba Counties respectively.
The apprentices completed a three-month intensive apprenticeship program with several host businesses and institutions in those counties.
PROSPECTS is funded by the Swedish Government also supports young and energetic Liberians (15-35 years) to find meaningful employment opportunities and is being implemented by Mercy Corps Liberia.
66 persons (26 females, 20 males) completed the training in Gbarnga, while in Ganta, a total of 93 young people also completed the training.
The graduation ceremonies were held on Wednesday and Thursday (11 and 12 December) at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Conference Hall in Gbarnga and Peace Empire in Ganta, respectively.
Several individuals, including the graduates’ parents, relatives, communities and county officials, host businesses and Mercy Corps graced the ceremonies.
The PROSPECTS program also endeavors, through a public-private partnership, to create employment opportunities for youth, as well as support learning from program results and research activities drawn from program implementation, targeting other youth organization, national policy actors and improved program delivery triggering greater coordination between the young people, duty-bearers and stakeholders.
Harry Doblah, Mercy Corps Training and Quality Assurance Lead Director, said the program was intended to empower young Liberians to find a meaningful market-driven opportunity for employment and self–employment. The program, he added, is also intended to increase the skills and self-confidence and improve the livelihood of young people.
Doblah lauded the Swedish Government through its Embassy for funding PROSPECTS Phase 3, which targets a total of about 20,000 young Liberians in Bong, Montserrado, and Nimba counties, respectively.
He said that so far, they have trained 12,755 (6,000 female and 5,955 male) young people with different employment and entrepreneurial skills in the three program locations.
The project, he added, has three objectives, including Employment and Entrepreneurship, Social Business for Employment and Results, Learning and Research.
Entrepreneurship programs beneficiaries are trained in business knowledge and given a small grant to help them start their own businesses.
Doblah said Mercy Corps is not just providing training and seed funds for small business start-ups, but is also supporting private sector Small Medium Enterprises (SME) with grant-financing and advisory support to stimulate growth and development and provide additional job creation for youth.
He also lauded the host businesses for their supports and for encouraging graduates to demonstrate their continuous efforts to find appropriate jobs with the skills that they have gained in the entire three months’ apprenticeship.
Doblah then presented the business plaques to the host businesses for their support in making the apprenticeship experience meaningful and distributed certificates to the graduates at the ceremony.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer of Loleyah Bar and Restaurant, Loleyah Norris congratulated the graduates for successfully completing the training.
Madam Norris commended Mercy Corps and the Swedish Government for providing an avenue for youth in Liberia to acquire relevant skills, which can earn them employment.
She urged the graduates to take advantage of the opportunity being provided by Mercy Corps to enhance their capacities, which will enable them to contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities and Liberia at large.
Meanwhile, the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to Mercy Corps Liberia family and Swedish Government for funding PROSPECTS 3 activities and providing these opportunities for Liberians youth.