The Ministry of Gender and Development has launched the third phase of the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Program (EPAG).
Giving the highlights of the project, Assistant Gender Minister Magdalene Dagoseh recalled that the government and its partners launched the EPAG project as a three-year pilot program which officially ended on December 31, 2012.
Minister Dagoseh further indicated that the project is aimed at increasing employment and income for 2,500 Liberian adolescent girls and young women ages between 16 and27 years.
The targeted beneficiaries, she said, will be provided training in business development skills, job skills, and life skills in nine communities in Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
She said at the end of the 2012 pilot project, 99.5% of the target was reached while 96.7% of the trainees completed the training.
The Assistant Minister also stated that the latest data established that 84.4% of the trainees were placed into jobs and businesses.
She disclosed that the Swedish International Development cooperation Agency (SIDA) has provided a grant of USD$1.99 million to fund a third round of the EPAG project.
The Assistant Gender Minister said the grant is an outcome of a tripartite agreement among the Government of Liberia, World Bank and SIDA.
For her part, World Bank Liberia Country Manager Inguna Dobraja said EPAG was a new approach for the World Bank and special adolescent programs in Liberia.
She indicated that there have been initiatives to promote the successful entry of girls and young women into productive employment.
The World Bank Country Manager emphasized that Liberia inherited a generation of young people with little education and training, adding "both adolescent girls and boys needed to catch up quickly in terms of education and skills."
The World Bank-Liberia head said "now, it is the time to broaden the scope and reach of EPAG, as well as to ensure that the lessons learned from the implementation of this pilot are taken up by other youth development programs in the country".
Madam Dobraja urged young women and girls to be enthusiastic about learning, urging them to take advantage of skills training.