Over 500 Youth at Risk, have participated in a two-week peace-building training under the Socio-Economic Empowerment of Disadvantaged (SEED) project.
The project is supported by UNDP Liberia with funding from UN Peacebuilding Support Office, through the Liberia Multi-Partner Trust Fund (LMPTF).
It is in partnership with the Ministries of Health and Youth and Sports; the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and implemented through the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), in close collaboration with the YWCA.
The exercises were held 4-14 August, and took place simultaneously across various targeted communities to include; West Point, New Kru Town, Central Monrovia, Mount Barclay, Red Light and Paynesville among others.
Beneficiaries were trained in conflict prevention, mediation and social cohesion and facilitated by Trainers from various partners.
Since the commencement of this project late last year, these youths continue to benefit from psycho-social counselling sessions, Training of Trainers (TOT) and are fully participating in business, vocational and entrepreneurship trainings in areas like tailoring, plumbing, hair dressing and cosmetology, based on their freewill and commitment.
The group is also engaged in a savings program that helps them manage their little income.
The disadvantaged youths are at different educational levels, including high school, college-but mostly elementary school dropouts.
This category is provided with adult and financial literacy training that is serving as a foundation for enhancing their numeracy and literacy skills, to fully grasp lessons on Business Management and Entrepreneurship (BMEs).
The SEED Project has also been able to place some of the beneficiaries in various different projects as a way of facilitating decent means of livelihood.
This includes the launch of phase three of a community clean-up exercise designed to tackle the issue of waste management which is in partnership with the Monrovia City Corporation.
Similarly, they are connected to a pilot project under UNDP Liberia’s Energy and Environment Programme launched to respond to flooding in the SKD Sports Stadium and King Gray Communities.
Following a two-day training, community members-disadvantage youth included, commenced the cleaning of drainages and sensitization on the effects of sand mining, building in waterways and the misuse of drainages.
This intervention started with a two- day training of over 20 community leaders on July 16-17 on how to implement community eco-based adaptation (CBA) activities to protect flood plains and mangroves among others.
At the end of these exercises, which are for specific periods, the youths will be receive stipends which the projects believe will give them the desires to become part of reputable community based-institutions, to safely generate income/ earn and save wages that will be used toward subsistence and small businesses.
The involvement of disadvantage youth in these activities, is in an effort to make them contribute to promoting volunteerism as well as, sustainable peace social change and cohesion.
“Transformation of these young people from potential agents or threats of conflicts to facilitators of peace and constructive citizens, is key to sustaining Liberia’s hard earned peace,” says Dorsla Farcathy, the Team Leader of UNDP Liberia’s Sustainable Economic Transformation Pillar.
This SEED pilot project, is meant for those who are mostly found in ghettos, street corners, cemeteries, and other areas unfit for dwelling. Many of them are on drugs and other illicit substances.
It seeks to help them address the issues of drug-abuse, alcoholism, gambling and other vices, by providing support and technical skills to enable them become more productive members of the society.