BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The first phase of the World Bank-sponsored Youth Opportunities Project has ended, with organizers saying that it benefited 3,612 persons from 129 communities across the country.
The US$10 million project aims to provide jobs for youth and strengthen the government’s capacity to implement its cash transfer program within five years. It will cover 15,000 beneficiaries across the country, with 50 percent expected to be females.
According to the project’s monitoring and evaluation officer, Emmanuel Carto, beneficiaries from the first phase – the Productive Public Works component – received life skills training and participated in communal farming.
The Productive Public Works subcomponent of the Youth Opportunities Project was launched last year September with the aim to cover 10,000 youths across the country with 50 percent males and females.
‘’We did the regional launch last year [in] September where we brought stakeholders together – the local county authorities – to have them well-sensitized about the project and then we went ahead recruiting our county coordinators,” Carto told The Bush Chicken. “We did community mobilization, district consultations, [and] we selected the communities for project implementation.”
Carto made the disclosure in Buchanan at a joint program review among project teams and county facilitators implementing the Productive Public Works and Life Skills subcomponent.
The four-day meeting was intended to help the project teams reflect on progress made, constraints faced, and lessons learned. They also planned the implementation activities for the second phase of the project.
Carto said during the first phase of the communal farming and life skills training, 28 persons were stationed at each of the project sites across the country. He explained that some proceeds from the farms will be sold for savings, consumption, and seedlings for the next round; the remaining amount will be deposited in a revolving fund to support the group.
He noted the challenges the project faced in getting implemented last year, including the disruptive elections campaign season last year. Additionally, Carto said bad roads in the southeastern parts of the country forced them to reschedule some of their activities. Nevertheless, he believed that the first phase of the project was successful.
“So, we are here today to look at lessons learnt from our first year of implementation – how well we can improve the services in terms of the clearing of the land, cultivation,” Carto said. He added that they would also try to start recruitment early enough now.
“We look at all of the challenges we had and how can we correct it,” he added.
In Grand Bassa, 252 persons from 9 communities in 3 districts benefited from the Youth Opportunities Project. Senyah, Pelleh, and Pionkon hosted three projects in the second district while Desoe, Gardour, and Garkpee were the three sites in the third district. In the fourth district, Zekar, Sand, and Gueh hosted other sites. In Grand Bassa, a total of 331 acres land was covered by project farms.
The Youth Opportunities Project is being implemented jointly by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment.
The project comprises of four components: Pre-employment Social Support and Household Enterprise, Productive Public Works and Life Skills, Capacity and System Building for Cash Transfer, and Project Implementation and Coordination.
Featured photo by Sampson David