Liberia: KEEP Executive Director Calls for Youth Empowerment to Influence Policies, Create Opportunities
Monrovia – The Executive Director of Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP), Brenda B. Moore has called for concerted effort in building youth capacity to influence policies.
Speaking at a one-day forum on Friday, August 16 in Monrovia which brought together a cross-section of youth from several parts of Montserrado County, Mrs. Moore outlined that empowering young people with various skills will influence policies and create opportunities.
According to her, KEEP has trained over 75 young people from diverse backgrounds to influence advocacy and develop a national policy on youth employment in Liberia.
Through the program, young people with various skills are being linked with already established businesses for possible employment.
She said: “The project also focuses on youth engagement through meaningful ways, including changing their perceptions about land rights, gender, youth engagement and education. The program seeks to provide skill-training opportunities for people with disabilities and also link them to organizations that will be prepared.”
According to her, the program has received some positive feedbacks within the communities as business owners have expressed their willingness to incorporate the beneficiaries into their respective business and institutions.
She mentioned the program is a pilot project in five communities in Montserrado County and expressed hope that the results from the project will lead to bigger program to help more youth.
Counting the interventions of KEEP, Mrs. Moore outlined that her organization has opened 13 reading facilities in six counties in Liberia since its establishment in 2014.
Also speaking, Rep. Lawrence Morris (Montserrado County District #1) called on beneficiaries to utilize the skills acquired to improve their lives.
Rep. Morris lauded KEEP for its important interventions in the community and pledged his support to the organization’s effort towards promoting literacy. He admonished beneficiaries to “hold KEEP to their hearts as it’s about building their foundation.”
“We must use our full potential to get what we want. I’m from a poor background but utilize the available opportunities to reach this level. I have to sleep in people cars and wash cars to survive which makes me what I am today,” Rep. Morris said.
For her part, Oxfam Liberia Education Liaison Officer, Josephine G. Urey expressed delight over the initiative and reaffirmed Oxfam’s commitments to working with KEEP in reaching out to more needy people.
KEEP is the implementing partner, while Oxfam is providing the funding through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
Meanwhile, Tamba Boimah Hali, a Liberian-born former American football linebacker pledged his commitments to work with officials of KEEP.
He revealed plans to support a STEMP – (Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics) project at various schools.
“My passion is in education, especially educating the young people of Liberia. I have been inspired by my father to create education program and will be joining hands with KEEP. I will like to start a program Science, Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM), which is a leading program around the world, particularly in the United States,” Mr. Hali averred.
He added that with Liberia’s current situation, the people should focus on education because once the youth are educated, they will empower themselves and do more for their country and the world at large.
KEEP provides varied educational support to children in Liberia, both in the rural and urban areas – targeting children from underprivileged backgrounds.
The organization focuses on children ranging from preschool to sixth grade and provide reading and other learning materials that help build their reading skills and vocabulary.
Several counties including Gbarpolu, Margibi and Rivercess all have modern reading rooms for children constructed by KEEP in partnership with the host community.
In addition, KEEP transitioned in providing more sustainable actions at the grass root community levels that focus on providing various support in the education sector, particularly at the primary school level. It also engages in women and girls’ empowerment, economic livelihood, access to justice, promotion of rights in schools, strengthening youth education through computer and reading literacy programs, child sponsorship and advocacy.