KAKATA, Margibi – The Booker Washington Institute has graduated 50 young people from Grand Bassa in rubberwood furniture making following a six-week intensive training.
The training was part of a project funded by the Japanese government through the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to address youth unemployment through vocational training and enhanced cooperation with transnational corporations in Liberia’s wood industry.
The project targeted unemployed youth from Grand Bassa and promoted using rubberwood as a sustainable and environmental alternative to carpentry that used tropical woods. Special details were paid to wood processing and handling, wood joining and drafting, quality production and finishing, safety and job readiness, and entrepreneurship.
Participants were drawn from three communities, including Buchanan, Owensgrove, and Compound Number Three.
Delivery a keynote address on behalf of Grand Bassa’s Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh, the county’s protocol and communications officer, Eddie Williams, stressed the importance of using technical and vocational training to reduce the country’s high unemployment rate.
William said the technical job market in the country is largely held by foreigners because Liberians lack technical and vocational skills.
Meanwhile, he encouraged the graduates to see the need to form cooperatives in order to seek better support, noting that doing so would make a greater impact and help them quickly become better entrepreneurs.
“If you form at least three cooperatives, it would be better, instead of everyone opening their individual shops,” he said.
A beneficiary of the program, Kontee Zogar, who resides in Buchanan, said she was proud to acquire basic carpentry skills after being discouraged by many of her peers who told her that carpentry was only for men.
“I realized that we got to learn something to help our family and send our children to school. So, I encourage others to be like me,” Zogar said.
For his part, BWI Principal Harris Tarnue called on participants of the training to take the skills acquired seriously, noting that Liberia is on the path of nation’s building and employable and entrepreneur skills are the driving force to its recovery.
Featured photo by Flickr’s faoflegt