The Government of Liberia and the United Nations in Liberia on Thursday, 27 June launched the Peacebuilding Fund Project in Gbarnga, Bong County, to support peacebuilding and income generating entrepreneurship among youth groups in Bong and Lofa Counties.
The “Sustaining peace and improving social cohesion through the promotion of rural employment opportunities for youth in conflict-prone areas” project is a team-driven effort implemented by the Government of Liberia through the Ministries of Agriculture, Gender, Labour and Youth and Sports in collaboration with the United Nations including FAO, WFP, and ILO, with support of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office.
Performing the official launching exercise, Hon. Peter Bemah, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister for Technical and Vocational Education, urged young people of Lofa and Bong Counties to embrace the project and be positive instruments of sustaining the peace, fostering social cohesion and living side-by-side in oneness. He pledged the MYS’ commitment in making the project successful as a basis for expansion to other counties. “If this project is not successful, we will not be able to expand to other parts of Liberia to reach more youth.”
Ministries of Agriculture, Gender, Labour and Youth and Sports and the Cooperative Development Agency (CDA) said the project is timely for Liberia’s youth in Bong and Lofa Counties. “Young people can only be able to foster peace and fight against violence when they are empowered with the essential skills and opportunities to be marketable” and this project is the right vehicle, said Bong County Gender Coordinator, Hon. Anita K. Rennie.
At the same time youth leaders in Lofa and Bong Counties said they are hopeful of a more empowered and independent youth population. F. Augustine Kokulo Jr, Youth President of Zorzor District in Lofa County, is “optimistic that this project will make our youth to graduate from continuously standing at the door-steps of politicians begging for scholarships and other handouts due to hardships.” For his part, Diggs K. Singbah, Youth Leader, Salala District in Bong County, said Liberian youth often face “extreme hardships to access the right opportunities to become marketable and productive. We hope that this project will help improve lives of young people by making them productive citizens”.
A multidimensional joint effort of FAO, ILO, WFP, and Government of Liberia, the peacebuilding fund project is a 24-month activity whose primary purpose is sustaining the peace through reduction in youth vulnerability through their positive engagement in improved rice, vegetable, poultry, and fish farming.