Minister Wilson: "The PESS project will be implemented in coordination with the YMCA, who will directly interact with the youth as well as the communities."
-- Targets 2000 vulnerable youth ages 15-17 for job readiness
The Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) on Friday, June 21, 2019, launched the sub-component of its Youth Opportunities Project (YOP), called the Pre-Employment Social Support (PESS).
The initiative, which took placed at the Young Mens's Christian Association (YMCA) Gymnasium, is aimed at recruiting 2000 vulnerable youth between the ages of 15 to17 in Monrovia.
Youth and Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson, who launched the project, said the youth would also benefit from job-readiness and business management skills training under the PESS
Minister Wilson told beneficiaries that the PESS project will be implemented in coordination with the YMCA, who will directly interact with the youth as well as the communities.
YOP is a five-year project of the Government of Liberia implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) targeting 15,000 vulnerable youth in both urban and rural Liberian communities, supported by the World Bank through a loan scheme. The YOP will be implemented until 2020.
The recruitment exercise, according to Minister Wilson will commence today, June 24, 2019 in communities selected based on conditions of high vulnerability.
When recruited, he said, the youth will acquire skills on how to look for a job; guidance on developing resumés and CVs, how to sit a job interview, behavior management in the work place, and respect for work ethics.
Other benefits, according to him, include orientation in health and hygiene practices, social support skills in emotion regulation, team building and leadership skills to go alongside psychosocial counseling. The financial management aspect of the training is expected to aid the youth on how to plan for and manage their finances, Wilson added.
"Today's launch marks the first of 3 rounds of PESS implementation. For now, round-one implementation targets 500 youth in 10 communities from June 24-27, 2019 in the Paynesville, Central Monrovia, and New Kru Town regions beginning at 9:00 a.m., daily. From June 24-25, 2019, the recruitment will take place in 12th Street, King Gray, Red Light, 72nd, and the Iron Factory Communities while Duala, Logan Town, Clara Town, West Point and Sonewein will experience the recruitment exercise from June 26-27, 2019," he said.
Wilson said an equal number of male and female youth - in and out of school-would be recruited in the program as a way of ensuring gender balance and fair opportunities for boys and girls. He said the exercise would be characterized by screening for interested youth to determine their eligibility.
"Afterwards, the list of eligible youth will be posted in public areas in the targeted communities for verification and subsequent validation following this exercise," Wilson noted.
He said youth who pass the validation would be invited to take part in a public lottery process if the number of eligible youth exceeds the required target per community.
Wilson further said that successful youth would then qualify to become beneficiaries of the YOP after their parents sign a consent form to permit their children to participant in the program.
Timotheus Kamaboakai, National General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer at YMCA, in his remarks lauded the government for giving such responsibility that will impact the lives of young people in the country.
Kamaboakai said the YMCA is one of the oldest and largest youth organizations in Liberia and as part of their commitment to young people they will ensure that the project is implemented.
According to him, YMCA has worked in the area of education, health among others.
Kamaboakai said, "As you can see, this PESS of the YOP is directly in line with our strategic plan, so we take this as a serious responsibility and commitment under this agreement and we are ready to run as fast as we can."
The launch of the project was attended by some government officials including, Montserrado County Superintendent, Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, Federation of Liberian Youth president, Amos Williams, YOP National Coordinator Jesse H. Bengu and a hosts of YMCA staffs.