Liberia YMCA Launches Youth Power Space

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The Liberia YMCA has launched the ‘Youth Power Space.’  The Youth Power Space is a framework for the empowerment of young people and lays the foundation for home grown solutions integrating all of YMCAs program activities.

A segment of young people at the launch

It also serves as a hub through which beneficiaries of one activity are able to access other activities of the Liberia YMCA.

Giving an overview of the Youth Power Space Program, Lawrence Fahnbulleh said the YMCA Youth Power Space is in support of Agenda 2063, signed by member States of the African Union in 2016.  He added that Agenda 2063 is a framework formulated for the purpose of guiding Africa’s development in the next fifty years.

Mr. Fahnbulleh said the Power Space Program has 4 pillars which are the engagement of youth through appealing activities; the building of self consciousness among young people so as to enable them create self awareness among themselves; to build the skills of young people through life skills training, advocacy, career development etc; and link with possibilities or opportunities. This, he said, will create a network for proper placement of young people into areas of specialization for productiveness.

Lawrence Fahnbulleh
Lawrence Fahnbulleh

“Career development under the Youth Power Space will lead young people into right career opportunities.” Mr. Fahnbulleh said.

Speaking further, Mr. Fahnbulleh said young people would also benefit from leadership development, which involves training in advocacy, literacy programs and the establishment of saving clubs for young people. He used the occasion to encourage young people to get involved into savings noting “Savings gives hope.”

The Power Space Program according to Mr. Fahnbulleh will also have a reading room for research purpose for young people. He appealed to National leaders for support in expanding the Youth Power Space to other parts of the country.

In a special statement, the National General Secretary of the Liberia YMCA, E. Timotheus Kamaboakai said the Youth Power Space is unique as this will create the space for young people to engage in meaningful discussions and find a way forward.Mr. Kamakoakai

Mr. Kamakoakai

“We have issues of education, employment, health, leadership and all the other issues that young people can talk about. Where are the solutions? How can young people engage each other in meaningful discussions and come up with discussions on a way forward?” The YMCA CEO asked.

“The YMCA wants to move from a position of not just implementing programs for young people to creating a space where young people can innovate and address the issues confronting them. This is what the Power Space is all about.” He noted.

He said the program will also support the implementation of activities designed by young people under the Youth Power Space. He also said young people associate the YMCA with an event that they have participated in adding: “Young people define the YMCA by what they engage in and the YMCA will use the Power Space to inculcate all aspects and activities of the YMCA so that it becomes a holistic youth development space.”  Mr. Kamaboakai said.

He also called on the young people to take ownership of the program. “We intend also to have this Power Space Program at all YMCA branches across the country.”

Mr. Kamaboakai said the YMCA is in an ideal location and is surrounded by several universities in Monrovia and the location is a vibrant space for the engagement of young people to discuss plans and implement activities.

He also called on young people to own the space, noting that as young people are trained in the pilot initiative, they could also be used to train other young people in the extension of the program.  He asked young people to share their ideas on how the YMCA can become more meaningful, important and relevant to the needs of other young people noting, “We want to be a hub for young people and youth organizations around Liberia.”   

Launching the program, the Assistant Minister for Youth Development at the Ministry of Youth & Sports Hon. Emmanuel M. Johnson said the Youth Power Space launched by the YMCA of Liberia will be meaningful if young people attending the Power Space have dreams and commitment. He asked young people to take advantage of the program noting “The Youth Power Space launched by the YMCA is not going to be a productive space if you do not take advantage of the space provided by the YMCA.Assistant Minister Johnson

Assistant Minister Johnson

Assistant Minister Johnson said young people should not allow themselves to remain in one condition but seek better opportunities, adding that they should be mindful of who they associate with as their associates can impact them positively or negatively.

Looking at the opportunities available at the YMCA, if you as a young person, do not expect to benefit from the YMCA Youth Power Space, then you will not.” Assistant Minister Johnson said.

“The embarrassing thing is to allow opportunities to meet you unprepared.” He said.

On career opportunities and development, Minister Johnson said it is a generational issue that needs to be worked on, adding “to put a stop to this problem we must look at state actors formulating policies and programs that will affect the dilemma young people are faced with.

Minister Johnson said the Ministry of Youth and Sports is committed to ensuring support to the YMCA Youth Power Space in order for young people in rural areas to benefit.

Participants at the program

Leaders of National Youth organizations also spoke at the program including Liberia National Students’ Union, the University of Liberia Student Union and the President of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY).

The Youth Power Space is a 9 month pilot initiative and is sponsored by the YMCA of Greater Toronto in Canada.

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