Liberia YMCA Empowers 101 in Apprenticeship & Skills Training
The Liberia YMCA has graduated 101 apprenticeship and skill training beneficiaries under the YMCA,UKAM “Project titled: Mobilizing Young Slum Dwellers to Rebuild Communities after the Ebola Outbreak”
Graduates of the Liberia YMCA, UKAM apprenticeship and skills training program
The YMCA, UKAM or (United Kingdom Aid Match) Slum Project is contributing to the social and economic empowerment of 710 young slum dwellers between the ages of 15-24 years in seven zones of West Point in Monrovia.
Speaking during the program, the Project Coordinator of the YMCA, UKAM Slum Project, Madam Vivien Beh outlined a number of objectives and achievements under the project.
Madam Beh said the overall outcome of the project is to ensure improved health, livelihoods and resilience for 12,960 slum dwellers affected by Ebola in West Point-Monrovia, fifty percent of who are female which will contribute to an improved slum upgrading policies for approximately 75,000 slum dwellers in West Point.
She said there are four outputs under the project which are: Communities have increased access to health and hygiene services and information; young slum dwellers have the skills, knowledge and resources to increase their economic resilience; Young slum dwellers and slum communities have increased knowledge and skills to build disaster resilience and Young slum dwellers are supported to participate in community decision-making processes and demand their socio-economic rights.
Madam Beh said to date, the Liberia YMCA under the project has trained 63 youth peer educators 37 of whom are young women and 26 young men on health and hygiene awareness and are being supported on a monthly basis and have reached over 6000 additional slum dwellers with health and hygiene awareness.
She also said the Liberia YMCA has completed the construction of four water points in West Point to complement and support the hygiene peer education activities; constructed a mini hall in support of the community development fund for the community.
She also named the provision of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) - Trainers of Training for 50 staff members of Civil Society Organizations and youth-focused Community Based Organizations; while at the same time the YMCA has also provided Disaster Risk Reduction training to additional 360 young men and women, 192 females and 168 males slum dweller.
“I am also pleased to note that we have conducted Hazard, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments (HVCAs) and have developed community actions plans to be implemented to help reduce the risk of disaster in the West Point community.” Madam Beh said.
Speaking during the formal closing program, the Board Chairman of the Liberia YMCA, Hon. Lester M. Paye said the decision made by the graduates to acquire skills training is going to determine their future.
Speaking on the theme: “Apprenticeship and Skills Development Training, a Catalyst for Social Economic Empowerment, the Liberia Experience,” Hon Paye said the Liberia YMCA as one of the first leading youth development pillars in the country, is the leading forerunner of developing young people since 1881.
“Everywhere one goes, the Liberia YMCA is rated first in terms of the development of young people.” Hon Paye said.
The Liberia YMCA Board Chairman challenged the graduates to allow the skills learnt to interpret their sociology- meaning the graduates should put into proper use the skills acquired through their interaction, utterances and the manner in which they conduct themselves.
“As a Seamstress, a Tailor, a Carpenter or whatever skills acquired, these skills should interpret what will happen to you tomorrow.” Hon Paye told the graduates.
He implored the graduates not to abandon the skills acquired, but rather make maximum use of their training and also asked them not to sell their tool kits.
Hon. Paye challenged the graduates to work to become entrepreneur and advance into the business world.
“I want you all to work especially in the area of tailoring to organize your own trade fair where Liberian will come to buy your products and empower you economically. Additionally, I want you to put into practice the skills acquired through the Liberia YMCA.” Hon Paye told the graduates.
He then appealed to the government of Liberia to assist some of the institutions that are positively making development interventions in the lives of young people.
During the program, graduates thanked the Liberia YMCA for the skills acquired during an exhibition. A member of the Carpentry class said he was glad that he had acquired new skills which will improve his life, while a group of young women who acquired skills in hairdressing said they were going to organize to set up their own business and had begun the process of renting a shop in down town Monrovia. They all thanked the YMCA, the government of the United Kingdom and Y Care International for the support hard work in helping to change their lives
Following the indoor program, tool kits will be distributed to the 101 beneficiaries who are expected to use the learning acquired in apprenticeship and skills training as well as business training to set up their own businesses, which in the end will enable the young slum dwellers have the skills, knowledge and resources to increase their economic resilience.
The program was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, partner organizations, trainers, families and friends of the trainees.
Under the YMCA, UKAM Project, young women and men are receiving supports and trainings in Livelihoods, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), advocacy and health and hygiene which are intended to empower slum dwellers to become leaders within their communities.
The program also provides support to 12,960 other slum dwellers and acts as catalysts for long term community change and development. The project began in February 2016 and is expected to end January 2019. The Slum Upgrading Project is being implemented by the YMCA of Liberia in partnership with Y Care International with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) – UK Aid Match stream.
Story & Photo: Emmanuel S. King, Jr.