On Friday, May 4, 2018, 330 young women from 6 different communities in Paynesville celebrated with beaming smiles after completing 10 weeks of business development skills training as part of the Be The Change Academy(BTCA)- a program implemented by Youth Crime Watch of Liberia(YCWL) and Peace Child International with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
The program consisted of speeches, drama performances, songs and open discussions and it was graced by the Ministry of Youth & Sports(MYS); represented by Hon. Emmanuel Johnson, Assistant Minister/ Youth Development, the Montserrado County District # 4 Legislative office of Madam Rustalyn Suakoko-Dennis through senior staff members of her office and the Mr. Ramon Garway; National Project Manager of Women’s Economic Rights and Livelihoods of the UNWOMEN who represented Madam Marie Nizigama; Country Representative of UNWOMEN and community representatives.
During the graduation ceremony, Ms. Solophia Voker; Graduate from New Kemah Town training center spoke on behalf of the graduates where she appreciated the Youth Crime Watch of Liberia, Peace Child International and Norad for the opportunity and encouraged her colleagues to use the knowledge gained in running their businesses and making social impact. She further said “Many times we are afraid to attend trainings and workshops with NGOs and other groups. This is because, often for us as young disadvantaged women, some of us are single parents, high school dropouts, while others may not have had the opportunity to have ever sat in a classroom. As a result, there are fears of intimidation, and low self-esteem, but the Youth Crime Watch of Liberia – BTCA program took away this barrier by bringing to us visual-aided lectures in addition to allowing us share our own experiences with family life and the relationship to our businesses. For this we are grateful, because this has become a part of us and we can never forget.”
For the UNWOMEN, Mr. Ramon Garway, thanked Youth Crime Watch of Liberia for the initiative and urged the graduates to utilize the skills learned as a way to improve their businesses. He indicated that to them that they as women are better than before, and therefore he urged them to go out and use the skills they had acquired to make change in their lives and the lives of their love ones.
Speaking on behalf of the government through the Ministry of Youth & Sports, for his part, Hon. Emmanuel Johnson; Assistant Minister/Youth Development committed the government’s support towards the BTCA program and urged the graduates to continue working together as a team. He further assured them of the government’s support towards the improvement of the lives of young people as part of its Pro-Poor Agenda and also used the occasion to encourage the YCWL to engage the office of the first lady as she would be very delighted to work with the organization in its endeavors since it stands to advance the empowerment and development if girls and young women.