Liberian and American Youth Worked Together on National Youth Assessment
Watch a short video on the project!
This has been the first comprehensive attempt to find out what Liberia's youth are concerned about, what they want and need, and what they hope for. It is also the first attempt to compare International donor priorities with the expressed concerns of young Liberians.
To find out, conversations were held with over 1000 young people throughout Liberia's 15 Counties. Twenty international donors were interviewed to find out the extent to which the priorities of international donors are aligned with those of the youth. The interviews were carried out by teams of Liberian and American youth between the ages of 18 and 35 from Liberia's Federation of Liberian Youth and from American University in Washington DC.
The findings showed a significant overlap between international funder priorities, with those of youth, but there is much potential to improve and strengthen the connection between the two. The youth sector needs to be a donor and policy priority with increased accountability from the donors and policy makers toward youth in Liberia.
People under the age of 35 constitute 70 percent of Liberia's population, representing a critical potential. Youth were not only drastically affected by the civil war, but are disproportionately disempowered by such factors as high unemployment, low access to quality education and training, and limited family planning a decade after its end.
The assessment found a range of issues that most concern Liberian youth, including Education, Health, Livelihood/Jobs, Infrastructure, Governance/Politics, Peace and Security, Family and Gender. These are fully detailed in the Report, together with suggestions of ways to engage youth over these issues.
Youth need to be recognized and their voices heard. Despite the challenges that youth face, especially in light of the recent conflict, they demonstrate the potential to engage on every level to foster positive change in their society. Liberian youth today have shown themselves ready to create, maximize opportunity, and build a better future for themselves, their communities, and their country. Paying attention to, addressing the needs and priorities of, and learning from young people is the best way forward for Liberia.
The Report was presented at the Ministry of Youth and Sports on July 17, where the Minister engaged with key stakeholders from government and civil society to discuss the findings and explore possible ways to move forward.
The study is the result of a collaboration between Search for Common Ground (SFCG), American University (AU), the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Liberia, and Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS).