• Says President Weah in Launching USAID-sponsored Project

Good Monrovia, LIBERIA – On Thursday, March 31, the United States through its Agency for International Development (USAID), and in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Education Development Center (EDC), officially launched the Youth Advance program in Monrovia. Ambassador Michael A. McCarthy and President George Manneh Weah gave the keynote speeches to mark this important event.  

The program which will work to increase the economic and social resilience of Liberian youth in Montserrado, Lofa and Grand Bassa counties, providing 21,000 young people with foundational and technical skills, work-based learning opportunities, mentorship and resources to engage in the productive development of their communities, will operate through June 2026.

Under the theme, “Partnering for Skilled, Productive and Resilient Liberian Youth,” the event brought together national stakeholders from the Liberian government, development partners, the private sector, disabled people’s organizations, and local youth-led and youth-serving organizations (YLSOs).

 Delivering a keynote address, President Weah said he holds youth so dearly to his heart not only because they represent the future of Liberia which he is committed to improve but also because the country’s young people do have explicit confidence and trust in him to transform Liberia.

“The launch of this Youth Advance Project today, which targets our young men and women who are striving daily to make ends meet, is an important milestone in our quest to achieve transformative change outcomes that have a positive impact on their lives and livelihood.” 

According to President Weah, the project is expected to have a significant impact on the youth empowerment policy of his Government, which is a fundamental pillar and objective of national development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

He expressed special appreciation to Liberia’s international partners who he said continue to demonstrate strong support and commitment to the youth development endeavors of the Government.

He expressed particular gratitude to the Government and people of the United States represented by Ambassador Michael McCarthy for what he termed “the many positive and life-touching interventions which have been made across the country.”

The Liberian Chief Executive said to Amb. McCarthy: “On behalf of the Government and people of Liberia, let me take this moment to thank you for the level of commitment shown toward supporting my Government’s agenda for fostering democratic governance, social stability, manpower development, economic progress and overall national recovery.”

President Weah indicated his Government was also grateful for the support being received from the United Nations and its relevant agencies in Liberia, as the Government ventures to address the situation of the At-Risk Youth and victims of drugs and substance abuse.

“In all of these phases of our national experience, youth empowerment and strategic engagement is critical,” he said further, averring that his Government would continue to remain engaged with all stakeholders in the youth space, including the youth themselves to achieve positive and sustainable improvement in their living conditions.

He encouraged the Ministry of Youth and Sports to continue to demonstrate its commitment to “fostering our transformative change vision, and to work in close collaboration with development and bilateral partners in the youth sector”.

“My government remains committed to giving all youth the opportunity to develop their potentials so that they will be able to compete in an enabling environment in this ever-changing world,” Dr. Weah said. “To you, our young generation, I promise to prepare and empower you so that you can take your rightful place in Liberia.”

The Liberian Leader also appealed to Liberian parents to encourage their children with special conditions to continue to strive for better lives through education.

He said being with special conditions does not amount to limiting oneself in society, stressing “you may be disabled, but you are not limited.

Speaking early at the event, U.S. Ambassador Michael McCarthy said that Liberian youth, representing 70 percent of the population, have the potential to drive Liberia’s economic growth if empowered and provided with market-relevant jobs and business skills, and pathways to employment or entrepreneurship.

USAID Youth Advance has three main objectives under its overall goal of supporting the positive development of Liberian youth: one, to reinforce foundational skills including basic education; two, to strengthen access to work-based and experiential learning for better self or wage employment; and, three, to help provide an enabling environment so youth can live healthier, more productive lives.

USAID Youth Advance will assist 8,000 youth in transitioning to employment or launching a micro or small enterprise. The program will support youth to access and participate in learning through collaboration with technical vocational education and training institutes, community colleges and universities; to understand and engage with market actors through work-based learning, internship and coaching activities; to access savings and loans groups; and to strengthen peer-mentorship and youth-serving supports.

The official launch of USAID Youth Advance affirms the commitment of the U.S. Government to work in partnership with the Government of Liberia, YLSOs, and the private sector to educate and reinforce the resilience of young women and men to contribute to the positive social and economic development of their communities and their country.

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