Liberia, Sierra Leone YMCA Launches Supportive Youth Project
By Bill E. Diggs
The Liberian and Sierra Leonean Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) in collaboration with the Y Care international YMCA with funding from the European Commission (EC) on Friday, May 8, 2009 formerly launched a four years supportive youth project.
The project title ‘Supporting Youth Livelihood & Governance (SYLG) in Liberia & Sierra Leone’ is aim at helping young people overcome the trauma of the conflict and build peace as well as integrate themselves in their society.
At the program marking the launching of the project held at the Eugene H. Copper Memorial Conference Hall YMCA Building Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia; E. Timotheus Kamaboakai Project manager, SYLG YMCA of Liberia, disclosed that the specific objective of the project is to improve socio-economic status of up to 4,000 disadvantaged young people in Liberia (Monrovia, Ganta, Gbarnga, Zorzor, Kakata) and Sierra Leone (Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni) through vocational training and participation in local decision making by the end project’s term.
However, the overall objective of the project is to reduce the levels of poverty and social exclusion amongst vulnerable young people; and to improve governance around the issue of employment creation and vocational training and strengthening the capacity of civil society to respond to the needs of vulnerable young people.
These targeted vulnerable youth are young unemployed people (age 15-35), including particular groups living with HIV/AIDS and physically challenge youth that will be positively affected by the project at the project purpose level.
Also speaking at launching program Moses Johnson, project manager of EC, Y Care, and SYLG YMCA Sierra Leone, highlighted several social problems sierra Leonean youth are faced with.
He listed prostitution, drugs abuse, and unemployment among others found amongst youth in Sierra Leone, which the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Sam Harr, acknowledged as similar to that of Liberia.
Mr. Harr further congratulated the Y Care international for taking on such supportive project with the Liberian/sierra Leone YMCA which is an opportunity of solidifying the countries already existing relationship.
“To tackle all other social problems among youth” he added, “the employment and empowerment of youth is significant.” he also pledged the government support for the project since it will help reintegrate many young people who feel ostracized and isolated from society.
The Y Care international representative, Karr Harawa, at the program said that her organization was please to work along side the Liberian and Sierra Leonean YMCAs to help young people in the regions.
Meanwhile, formal National General Secretary of YMCA, Peter Carney, in his remarks called on religious leaders to lend their assistance to the project by encouraging young people to get involved.