Monrovia, LIBERIA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Youth Advance Activity in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Youth and Sports joined other stakeholders in Liberia to celebrate International Youth Day on August 11 and 12 under this year’s theme: “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World.”
In keeping with theme, USAID Youth Advance participated in a series of events co-organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), which included: (1) An Indoor Activity held at the University of Liberia, Capital Hill – Monrovia on August 11, 2023, that focused essentially at raising awareness and imparting knowledge to young people about green living and how to develop a sustainable and resource-efficient society; and (2) An outdoor beach clean-up activity at Sophie beach in Congo Town on August 12, 2023, where participants removed trash and cleaned up the beach as a way of keeping the environment clean and safe.
Speaking to a group of youth gathered at the University of Liberia for the indoor event on Friday, USAID Liberia Mission Director Jim Wright said USAID was proud to be working through Youth Advance to provide Liberian youth with green skills. enabling them to serve as solar technicians, as well as to engage in sustainable livelihood activities such as honey making. He said USAID was also supporting Liberian “green entrepreneurs” by providing their agri-businesses with grants and technical support to add value to Liberian produce, including processing and exporting organic palm oil and palm kernel oil, thereby creating markets for farmers to engage in sustainable agriculture. On Saturday Mission Director Wright and other members of the U.S, Embassy family, including some U.S. Marines, joined in the beach clean-up campaign at Sophie Beach.
At these two events, Youth Advance was represented by 15 (TBD) youth who just completed the employability skills/Work Ready Now training program, and through Work-Based Learning (WBL),they have acquired green skills in solar energy in collaboration with Private Sector Companies in Liberia, such as LIB Solar, Easy Solar, and Sun Star Energy. The collaboration between Youth Advance and the listed companies has resulted in job placements of 91 youth (49 males, 42 females) to date.
USAID Youth Advance contributes to addressing climate change through the pursuit of inclusive and sustainable jobs in the green economy. Specifically, Youth Advance map out livelihood opportunities, such as skills training, jobs, Income Generating Activities (IGAs) and partner with companies in solar energy, sustainable agriculture and beekeeping to meet the local green employment demand.
Moreover, Youth Advance has included in the Future Proof Skills training package for Pathway Three youth (graduates or soon to graduate students), tips for trainers on climate change and green skills. The Future Proof Skills is a blended-learning course designed to equip learners with the skills to thrive in a quickly changing world of work, in any type of workplace. Youth will develop foundational work-readiness skills, including, adaptability and resilience required to navigate rapidly changing economic landscapes marked by digitization, automation and global interconnectedness.
The Youth Advance is part of USAID’s ongoing support to the Government of Liberia and its citizens, in particular its work to strengthen positive youth development, private sector engagement and economic growth.
Launched in July 2021, USAID Youth Advance will operate through June 2026, and will increase the economic and social resilience of Liberian youth in the three counties of Montserrado, Lofa and Grand Bassa. The activity will provide 21,000 young people with soft, life and technical skills, work-based learning opportunities, mentorship and resource support to engage in the productive development of their communities.
The Activity has three objectives to support the positive development of Liberian youth: (1) To reinforce foundational skills including basic education; (2) To strengthen access to work-based and experiential learning for better self or wage employment; and, (3) To improve the enabling environment so youth can live healthier, more productive lives.
In service of those objectives, the activity will assist 8,000 youth in transitioning to employment or launching a micro or small enterprise. To reach scale and sustainability, the activity will support youth to access and participate in learning through collaboration with youth-serving organizations, technical vocational education and training institutes, community colleges, and universities; to understand and engage with market actors through work-based learning, internship and coaching activities; to access savings and loans groups; and to strengthen peer-mentorship and youth-serving supports.
The USAID Youth Advance affirms the commitment of the U.S. Government to work in partnership with the Government of Liberia, YLSOs, and the private sector to educate and reinforce the resilience of young women and men to contribute to the positive social and economic development of their communities and their country.