Liberia: Local Youth Group Wants Post COVID-19 Recovery in Education and Skills Training
On October 26, 2022, the Liberia Youth Task Team of the Africa Youth Partnership advocates for equitable recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, held its first National Dialogue on two thematic areas “Education and Skills training.”
The event was held at iCampus on Carey Street in Monrovia. This dialogue brought together five partners including development along with 36 participants from the disabled community, youth groups, advocates, journalists and students of Liberia. The purpose of event was to discuss ways that would contribute to the development of marginalized (At-Risk Youths, Visually Impaired and Physically Challenged) groups in Liberia.
By Press Release
The gathering also focused on the provision of vocational training and its importance particularly because it is one of the most significant pathways to economic empowerment for youth and other participants who have not had the opportunity to enter the higher education stream or other viable forms of economic survival.
“The adverse situation with regard to ‘access to’ and ‘provision of’ Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for disadvantaged/marginalized groups is particularly disturbing when viewed from the precepts of inclusion, equal opportunity, economic empowerment, and general wellbeing. Vulnerable Groups are marginalized from mainstream educational and training provision due to various barriers generated by economic, social, and geographic fault-lines and physical disabilities and other specific constraints.
The National Dialogue started with a sharp overview from a team Lead by Mr. Jacob B. Swee, Jr. In his presentation, he focused on the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. In making specific reference to Liberia, He said, the disruption of the pandemic amplified many of the challenges that were already facing the youth population, some of which he named as: Increase in the prices of essential goods and services, Poverty, Food Insecurity, Up skill Struggles, Unemployment, etc.
He further lamented that amidst all these challenges, African government are yet to address them and as such there are growing concerns about authoritarianism and the mismanagement of COVID-19 funds, thus leaving corruption, represented in the lack of transparency and accountability during the pandemic as a major impediment to inclusive and sustainable recovery for youth and others marginalized groups.
In addition, the dialogue welcomed Mr. Kollie Gray, Jr., as its Keynote Speaker. Mr. Gray is a wonderful personality with a strong academic background in the Mechanical Engineering department of the University of Liberia.
As a long-standing Automotive Trainer in the state with a specific reference to TVET, he pointed out the importance of the dialogue as it intends to make inclusion of various marginalized groupings in Liberia and recommend to national government and development partners ways through which these marginalized groups can be helped to turn them into productive citizens that could contribute to society through all TVET programs across the country.
Mr. Gray thanked the Youth Opportunity and Transformation in Africa-YOTA through the Liberian Youth Task Team, Restless Development and the Ford Foundation for creating a platform where every citizen affected by the COVID-19 pandemic would be able to make their voices heard on the national scene.
The national dialogue also featured a panel discussion which had GIZ represented by Mr. Johann Lieberich, Project Director, Capacity Development and Transport Sector (CDTS), Group of 77, Represented by Mr. Samuel K. David and many other partners.
In his opening remarks Mr. Lieberich committed the GIZ to partnering with organizations that support the sustainable development goals in many aspects as they work to shape a future worth living around the world through their vision.