The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has launched the second phase of a project to empower underprivileged women and youths by providing skills training and funds to start their own businesses.
The US$500,000 project, “Consolidating Peace to Social Cohesion and the Pro-Poor livelihood and Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth in Liberia” targets communities in Grand Cape Mount, Nimba, Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
Phase two of the project was launched in Margibi County with youths and women gathered to participate in the training and is expected to empower disadvantaged women and youth into becoming entrepreneurs, in the midst of economic challenges that Liberia faces currently.
Participants at the training hailed the UNDP for providing education on how to start or improve their businesses.
One of the participants, a resident of Kakata City in Margibi County, Rachel Danuwele, said the training will help her to expand her business and teach others who have smaller businesses on how they can expand too.
Another participant — Kebbeh Kennedy — of the R2 Community explained that she has been selling, but has not realized much out of her business. She however expressed hope that the one-week training from UNDP, will help acquire skills on customer service.
“For me I don’t even need a job anymore to survive,” Garlamah Jallah, another participant of the training said.
Jallah, who is a foreign currency exchanger, praised UNDP for the training and urged it to expand the project to other parts of the country.
UNDP Project Manager Marcus Zarway disclosed that during and after the Ebola crisis, UNDP embarked on Ebola recovery support projects in social economic programs and cross border peace and social cohesion projects in several counties.
“However, it was realized that livelihood and economic empowerment remain critical to building resilience in sustaining the gains made from previous projects. Against these backgrounds, the project ‘Consolidation Peace and Social Cohesion through Pro-Poor Livelihoods and Economic Empowerment for Women and Youth in Liberia’ was designed and funding was secured to enhancing the socio-economic status of targeted beneficiaries-women and youth in Gand Cape Mount, Montserrado, Margibi and Nimba, while addressing drivers of conflict,” Zarway stated.
He said it is also intended to promote and enhance peace and social cohesion among women and youth, while providing livelihood support through small business development trainings and start-up kits.
Marcus noted that all of these are in line with the government’s pro-poor agenda for inclusive growth which is built on four pillars of power to the people, consolidating the peace, economic growth and job creation, as well as justice and transparency.
The project is being implemented in collaborations with the Ministries of Gender and Youth and Sports, and the Peace Building Office (PBO) at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
He noted that the project will train women and youth in basic entrepreneurial skills, basic and effective financial management.
Zarway emphasized that the project is for beneficiaries to acquire the needed entrepreneurial skills to start, manage, grow and sustain their businesses by applying the skills acquired from the training.