YOUTH SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND EMPOWERMENT
A lack of education and professional skills and henceforth opportunities among youth is one of the most acute challenges to overcome in the efforts to reduce poverty in Liberia. Liberian population is young: around 60 % of the total population is under 25 years old. Whereas lack of individual opportunities leads to other social problems such as drug abuse, structural problems including weak social protection systems remain a concern that should be primarily tackled at the macro-level by systems building. Our role is to continue to upscale youth vocational training and skills enhancement programs, and plan to reach out to greater numbers of young people in several counties.
Through our programs we have covered a range of actions from the provision of basic life skills and literacy training to governance and particularly civic education for peaceful electoral processes, basic financial management and micro-enterprise development, leadership skills, technical support and individual coaching. While our project experiences have been overall positive, more needs to be done to ensure the youth’s commitment to continue their enterprises in an environment that potentially puts multiple barriers on their way to self-sustainment. It is therefore important that pilot project experiences can be upscaled to additional locations, but also that the beneficiaries are offered adequate follow up and further longer-term mentoring.
PROVISION OF LIFE AND LITERACY SKILLS TO YOUTH
Under this thematic priority we continue to provide basic literacy and numeric literacy training for youth that have limited access to formal education. We will also support adolescence to develop a vision for their lives, and will develop additional, tailored training programs for youth in communities where specific needs are identified, by considering opportunities “on the spot”; developing livelihoods and income generation locally and thereby decreasing the pressure to leave homes to seek jobs in cities. Through our coaching programs we aim to providing systematic – long-term and regular – coaching and guidance for youth in order to build their self-confidence, sense of responsibility and trust in the society.
INCREASING YOUTH’S BUSINESS, FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND DIGITAL SKILLS
Creating jobs and employment, especially self-employment, requires a set of administrative, financial, digital and job-specific skills. Building on our programs that provide basic literacy skills, we will strengthen follow up and further training of youth in order to equip them with professional skills. This will entail basic skills to navigate in the administrative system, encouraging formal sector development by registering businesses, basic knowledge on legal requirements of running a business, and negotiating skills. With the priority geographic focus in locations where basic training programs have already been carried out, these may include for example organizational development, developing of business ideas and innovations, and drafting of business and financial plans, budgeting, marketing, development of online sales networks by using social media, finding ways to sustain business activities and customer service.
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FOR EMPLOYMENT
We in EDUCARE believe that provision of positive prospects including meaningful employment for youth acts as an effective preventive means for grave social problems such as violence and crime, drug abuse and other threats. Whereas youth employment is a structural economic issue affecting the whole nation and should be therefore also addressed with enabling national policies, EDUCARE can contribute to youth development by providing positive role models, by mentoring on the personal opportunities and creating trust among youth to positive future. To that end, we continue to provide information and create linkages between youth and vocational training institutes, grants and loans for education, promote on-the-job traineeships and provide individual career coaching.