UNDP Liberia in partnership with the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched the Livelihood and Employment Creation project in Monrovia.
The 5-year programme aims at contributing to the country’s post- COVID- 19 recovery, creating opportunities for income-generation and reducing inequality, particularly among the poor and vulnerable segments of the population specifically women,youth and the physically challenged in 7 counties—Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Montserrado, Nimba, and Sinoe.
“We know we can not do it alone, that is why we want everyone to be involved, playing leading roles in their own economic development; we want them to be the drivers of their own economy,” stressed Minister of Commerce Mawine Diggs.
Madame Diggs commended all the donors and partners for making the launch of the project a success and also thanked them for considering the Ministry of Commerce as the implementing partner.
“The counties selected under this project are on the list of some of the high food insecure counties in our nation, Nimba for example, accounts for 25% while Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Rural Montserrado report some of the highest…,” Min. Diggs.
She added that it is an opportunity for the Ministry of Commerce to create the environment needed to stop the citizenry from suffering and starving.
The Programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in collaboration with Ministries of Agriculture, Youth & Sports, Gender, Children and Social Protection, as well as s,the Environmental Protection Agency and other government entites.
It is funded by UNDP with support from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Denmark, Luxemburg, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Making remarks, UNDP Liberia Resident Representative, Stephen Rodrigues commended the government’s leadership and support, in co-creating the Livelihoods and Employment Creation Project, as well as organizing the launch event.
“I note the relevance of the Project in contributing to efforts to address unemployment, and create opportunities for Liberians, particularly in the rural areas, to generate income and support themselves and their families, as well as to accelerate entrepreneurial growth in Liberia,” stated Rodrigues.
Some key components of the programme include: Supporting the creation of sustainable, viable and diversified livelihood opportunities for youth, women and persons living with disabilities-PWDs through investment in and developing community infrastructure, environmental services and vocational and life skills.
Also included are digital skills, inputs and technical advice to increase local food production, strengthening business and enterprise development services by promoting access to finance, as well as capacity- building and innovation that are responsive to the rights and needs for economic advancement of women, youth and PWDs.
Also speaking during the launch Thursday 13, May 2021, the Acting Country Representative of the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Liberiasaid he sees the project as an opportunity to address root causes of inequality, bridging vulnerability gaps and restoring hopes to citizens amidst difficult times.
"The aim of the project is closely aligned to FAO Liberia’s Country Programme Framework. The organization looks forward to supporting, to the extent possible, the project implementation,” Jonathan Wesley Roberto averred .
Representing the National Union of the Organization of the Disable-NUOD, Heylove Mark Sr. applauded UNDP and Partners for including persons with disabilities as one of the targeted beneficiaries who are most times marginalized in society.
“As this project goes forward in its implementation, I hope to work with responsible partners and supporters that will reach out to people like me in the right manner because most times there is a possibility to skip or pass over persons with disability,” expressed Mark.
Also making remarks, the Program Manager of the Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment-RICE, Renee’ N. Gibson stated that she hopes that the initiative will improve the livelihood of people in rural parts of the country, especially the most vulnerable groups highlighted in the project.
“We are into sustainable agriculture focusing on conservation agriculture using the conservation agriculture method at the same time working with particularly women and young people in the rural parts of the country,” stated Madame Gibson.