Oct 22, 2018

Contribution to Sustainable Development Goal # 2

To prevent graduate of our educational program end up returning on the streets, during the period, Camp for Peace Liberia helped graduates to start a cooperative with financial and logistical assistance. Graduates who finished our agriculture course started a cassava processing plant in Lofa County. 22 construction course graduates were also hired by local authorities for civil engineering works.

A total of 106 graduates are currently benefiting from these activities. These activities have provided employment opportunities for these graduates.

Also during the period under review, additional 22 students were enrolled at the farmer field school, currently to studying agriculture that promises to boost food security and reduces hunger as a major contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal #2.

Our partners have expressed great enthusiasm about the progress made thus far.

Below are testimonies collected during the period under review:

Thanks to the CfP’s practical program, I cultivate cassava, make local fast food, and sell it in the market to make a living and send my daughter to school. I believe this program will help a lot of young people in Liberia. I feel strong, and I’m willing to work very hard to expand our cassava farm. (Milton).

After the war, I went to high school at the age of 23 and then joined the agriculture program of CfP. Now I’m working with my peers in our cassava farm, supported by CfP. I’m so happy that now I can make money by my own work and send my two kids to school. My dream is to have my own farm someday (Garmai).

Thanks to the CfP’s practical program, I cultivate cassava, make local fast food, and sell it in the market to make a living and send my daughter to school. I believe this program will help a lot of young people in Liberia. I feel strong, and I’m willing to work very hard to expand our cassava farm (Lorpu).

 

 

 

Cassava Processing Plant
Cassava Processing Plant
May 25, 2018

Camp for Peace graduates additional 28 students

Nancy on job
Nancy on job

"What would life be like for me as a woman if I have not had the opportunity to go to vocational school and acquire skills. How would my family including my mother, brothers and sisters be looked at in this community if I never had skills to work for my own money and support my family.  I am grateful to Camp for Peace Liberia and all the supports who have given me this opportunity to explore my God giving potentials.  I went in with nothing and I came up with something.  Today, I am one of the best local engineer in this county helping to rebuild houses, bridges and providing consultancy for other young people who are working in the construction field.  Many many thanks to Camp for Peace and sponsors" (Nancy).

During the period review, Camp for Peace Liberia enrolled and trained 28 vulnerable youths in vocational skills in general construction and agriculture. The training activities covered theoretical and practical as well as on-the-job. Small Enterprise Development (SED) training was taught at a very minimum level for all trainees in order to expose them to business establishment, management and record keeping. Fifteen (15) students completed studies in general construction which include masonry, carpentry and plumbing while 13 completed training in Agriculture. Of the total number of students, 11 were females and 19 males in the following age range: 9 students (19 – 24 years), 13 students (25 – 30) years and 8 students (31 – 36 years). The number of females was less than male participants due to the long distances students have to commute in getting from their communities to the training centre. Another reason probably was the cultural norms that affect female participation in most programs in rural communities including education and training.

The overall impact of the training has been very positive in creating change towards confidence and trust among participants and their families as well as the community members. Participants have acquired basic skills in agriculture and general building construction. These career areas remain very essential for economic growth and reconstruction in Liberia. You will note that Lofa County where the training is being conducted had a very good history of high productivity in producing rice which is Liberia’s staple food and other agricultural products. However, this history was distracted as a result of the civil war. With the help of the training, participants stand a better chance of exploring opportunity in food production and initiating self-help projects for self-sustainability and employment.

Several lessons can be learned from carrying out this project. Few among them are:

  • Communities that have strong vocational workforce are in a better position to avoid rising youth unemployment.
  • In order for vocational skills training to be successful, it requires the active participation and supports of all stakeholders including community leaders, business entrepreneurs, trade unions, government authorities and policymakers.
  • We learned that young people can easily be changed through the influence of their friends, especially when they see productive examples.
  • One of the best ways of reducing poverty among vulnerable youths is to acquire vocational skills that are locally relevance;
  • We also learned that young people can be respected if they have skills that are meaningful to the community.
  • We have learned that young people who are considered as threats and burdens to society can become assets if given the opportunity and support to acquire skills that would enable them contribute to the development of their society;
  • Building the capacities of vulnerable youths through vocational education is an effective approach of reducing community tension and improving dispute and reconciliation among community members in post conflict society;
  • Inclusive participation of youths in various development projects is key to ensuring the sustainability of peace and development in the country

Camp for Peace Liberia wishes to take this opportunity to express its deepest appreciation to GlobalGiving and all sponsors for their moral and financial support during the period under review:  

Jan 4, 2017

A major benchmark in the WAY project in Liberia

A youth agriculture farm in Zorzor
A youth agriculture farm in Zorzor

“I want to extend my thanks to CfP-Lbieria including all the donors and parters for giving our youth skills and knowledge to become better people for our society.  Had it not being your presence and support, our youth wouldn’thave reached this far.  Maybe we would be running again with our loads on our heads looking for places to take refuge.  But your support has brought us peace and stability because our youth are no long taking in drugs and alcohol that will make them hostile and violent.  Moreover, they are helping to build our houses and fixing our roads”(Yarkpawolo).

On Saturday, December 17, 30 War Marginalized Youths from across Liberia graduated from the Lutheran Vocational Training Institute in various local disciplines backed with psychosocial support in Salayea, Lofa County.

The ceremony was the conclusion of a nine month vocational training aimed at providing residential vocational skills Training opportunity to war affected youth  in the country to improve their socio-economic status for job opportunities and livelihood sustainability.  The training also provided psychosocial support to students to help with their successful reintegration back into society.

Have the planned activities been completed? 

The project is an ongoing project, but some achievements have been made so far.  Former participants are currently being integrated into their communities with many of them engaged positively into personal ventures.  The ventures are paving smooth pathway for their reintegration.  Those engaged have demonstrated to their colleagues, families and the community that change is possible.   As a result of behavior change, the community is getting receptive to accept them again.  As two community members gave their impression about program participants during one of visits

What on-going support and follow-up was offered to participants? 

Site visitations, face-to-face interaction with participants, teachers and community members, telephone calls are different ways we have conducted follow-ups on the project beneficiaries and activities.  Follow-up is done on a routine basis (four times) and monitoring is an ongoing process.

Another community elder also shared her impression during one of our community visits:

“Thank God for all the donors, for giving our children opportunities to go to school and learn skills.  My son was a big drugs smokerand a notorious robber on the gold mine.  I never ever wanted to associate myself with him because of his behavior.  But with the change I have seeing in him since he returned from the school, I am happy that he can become my son again.  I am proud of him!”. (Yarmah)

In general, what has been the impact of the training on the lives of participants and their families and communities? 

Results so far have proven that participants/trainees are showing good posture for transformation.  Evident of transformation is based on their involvement in various communities’ activities and the success stories from the community dwellers. 

 As a result of the training, participants are gradually rediscovering their values, knowing that their energies and the skills acquired can be utilized as force for good.  Their self-esteem has been enhanced to undertake self-initiative. They are now utilizing their skills to get job that can earn them money to support their families.Their perception of self-worthlessness and hopelessness has changed into positive thinking. Most of them are now demonstrating to friends and communities through their actions that change is possible. Through the counseling and other follow-up activities, trainees have developed a better understanding of how to control their emotion whenever faced with challenges and constraints.

Community violence is becoming minimized; and negative perception towards trainees is gradually reducing.  A tile of friendship and receptiveness among trainees, their family members and the communities are getting stronger once again and reconciliation is rapidly taking place.  The communities can now boast of technicians with locally driven expertise in construction, mechanical and agricultural production.  The cost of local products such as cassava, eddoes, potatoes, peppers, etc. are getting relatively cheap in some communities as a result of trainees involvement in agriculture and food production.

What evidence is there that communities of the participants have changed their perceptions of ex-combatants, and that participants are perceived as productive, peaceful members of the community?

Several evidences can be listed to measured the level of change in perception towards ex-combatants as productive and peaceful members of the community, but for briefness to this report, the following can be captured:

  • The number of success stories from community members and beneficiaries
  • The hiring of trainees (number of jobs) acquired and implemented by trainees in the community
  • The provision of a building to trainees by the local government also shows a milestone in the change of perception. (Please note that the local government has given trainees a three-room building to be used as a meeting hall where they can converge, plan and share their success stories with each other)
  • The involvement of trainees in community meetings and communion activities

What changes have been noted in the behaviors, attitudes, and skills of participants?

We have noted an increase in coping mechanisms and behaviors which are useful in all aspects of life, e.g., goal setting, problem solving, self-awareness, self-confidence, interpersonal skill development, becoming more self-sufficient, etc.; These changes are evident by the reduced number of violence and robberies in the community as well as the number of building constructed by participants and number of praises and success stories and testimonies received and the different enterprises established by trainees in the communities.

What has CfP- Liberia learned as a result of this project?

From the feedback we received from participants and the communities, it is possible to identify the following lessons learned:

1.  That building the capacities of youth (ex-combatants) through vocation is an effective approach of reducing community tension and improving dispute and reconciliation among community members in post conflict society;

2.  This year enrollment suggests that there is an increased awareness and acknowledgement of communities on the program to empower young people through vocational skills;

3.  That war affected youth have energies and this energies can be transformed into force for good if given the opportunities;

4.  That war affected young, if properly guided, care for and loved with the necessary support to acquired knowledge and skills, they can serve as the cradles of sustainable peace and development in Liberia.

5.  Inclusive participation of war affected youth is key to ensuring the sustainability of peace and development in the county

6.  Recognizing and paying more attention to war affected youth (ex-combatants) enhances their strength and restores their hope for the future

This incredible progress has made many of our partners happy.  In one partner remarks, she said "  About three  years ago this beautiful soul, called on us to reach out for help and dream for financial backing for a program that he personally created to help War Affected Youth in Liberia through his organization, Camp for Peace.  Well here we are today with his program fully up and running and we thank God for the miracle".

Youth Agriculture farm
Youth Agriculture farm
Students lined up for graduation match
Students lined up for graduation match
 
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