UNDP, Government of Liberia Launch Livelihood and Employment Creation Project

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Congo Town, Paynesville – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Thursday launched the Livelihood and Employment Creation project at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town outside of Monrovia.

The Programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry with support from Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Youth & Sports, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and other government agencies; the programme is being funded by the UNDP with support from United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Denmark, Luxemburg, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The Livelihood and Employment Creation in Liberia programme which has a life span of five years, 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.

Making remarks, UNDP Liberia Resident Representative, Mr Stephen Rodrigues commended the government’s leadership and support, throughthe Ministry of Commerce & Industry, 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. In this regard…,” stated Mr. 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/life skills, including digital skills; and inputs and technical advice to increase local food production; and Strengthen business and enterprise development services by promoting access to finance, capacity- building and innovation that are responsive to the rights and needs for economic advancement of women, youth and PWDs.

Also speaking, the Acting Country Representative, Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Liberia, Jonathan Wesley Roberto averred that the FAO sees the project as an opportunity to address root causes of inequality, bridging vulnerability gaps and restoring hopes to citizens amidst difficult times.

“The project’s aims are closely aligned to FAO Liberia’s Country Programme Framework. (CPF 2020- 2023), FAO looks forward to supporting, to the extent possible, the project implementation,” he averred.

For her part, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Madame Mawine G. 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 nations, Nimba for example, accounts for 25% while Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Rural Montserrado report some of the highest…,” Min. Diggs.

She added that statistics showing how counties are food insecure means alot to the Ministry of Commerce in that it allows them to develop or create the environment needed to stop the citizenry from suffering and starving.

“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 Min Diggs.

Representing the National Union of the Organization of the Disable-NUOD, Heylove Mark Sr. applauded the UNDP and Partners for including persons with disabilities as one of the key 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.

He continued: most often our names are omitted; people establish something and then PWDs may not be there and the expected outcome of the project will not be felt so we want to call on the government to work with us in reaching out to PWDs in the rural areas because we have our own database.”

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 the 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.

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