The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) officially launched the Piso Eco-brigade Programme in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County.
The launch, which took place on Saturday, September 11, 2021, was done in partnership with the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This youth eco-brigade will over the next five years mobilize, mentor and train over one thousand (1,000) young men and women, including persons living with disabilities in environmental conservation and management.
The youth Eco-brigades will support waste management, natural resource management and environmental monitoring activities while benefiting from business training and development to create sustainable incomes and livelihood opportunities for them.
The first batch of sixty Piso Eco-brigades have completed phase one of the training exercise, and will now be involved in providing community environmental services, helping the Robertsport city administration to manage and monitor important environmental features and ecosystems. The project will create more eco-brigades in six other counties- Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Montserrado, Nimba, and Sinoe.
Each participant will receive a business start-up grant of US$400 in recognition of their stewardship and commitment to the community and the environment, which can enable them to start their own businesses.
"Liberia's youth constitute more than 60% of the population and are therefore key in driving the sustainable development agenda. UNDP is committed to empowering the youth to start and run income-generating activities that contribute to the conservation of the environment. The Eco-Brigades must make good use of the business training they have received as well as the business start-up grants to engage in sustainable enterprises to make a living for themselves, their families and the community at large," said UNDP Resident Representative, Stephen Rodriques at the official launch.
Mr. Rodriques stressed that UNDP is targeting the youth and vulnerable populations with projects that will create climate-resilient and environmentally friendly jobs and business opportunities such as eco-tourism.
"UNDP looks forward to working with the private sector, the government, development partners together with local communities to support the development of tourism and initiatives that deliver tangible benefits to both the environment and communities that rely on it," Rodriques concluded.