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					                                    A National Youth Policy Framework for Liberia




                     A National Youth
Policy for Liberia: A Framework for Setting Priorities and
                 Executing Action




              Positioning the Youth in
      Post-Conflict Recovery and Reconstruction




                 December 2005




                                                                 December, 2005
                      National Youth Policy for Liberia



TABLE OF CONTENTS
i

FOREWORD ..........................................................................................................III

PREFACE .............................................................................................................. V

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..................................................................................... VI

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ...................................................................................... VII

ACRONYMS …………………………............................................................................VII

CHAPTER ONE: THE CONCEPT OF A NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY

1.1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ......................................................................10
1.2 DEFINITION: W HAT IS A NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY?...............................................11
1.3 THE SEARCH FOR POLICY DIRECTION: RATIONALE FOR A NYP ..............................12
1.3.1 FILLING A POLICY VACUUM ..............................................................................12
1.3.2 Global and Regional Imperatives ………………………………………………12
1.4 THE NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY PROCESS FOR LIBERIA .........................................14

CHAPTER TWO: VISION, PRINCIPLES AND VALUES UNDERPINNING THE NYP

2.1 PREAMBLE .....................................................................................................16
2.2 VISION AND GOALS OF A NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY ...............................................16
2.3 GOAL AND OBJECTIVES OF THE NYP ...................................................................17
2.3.1 THE GOAL ......................................................................................................17
2.3.2 THE OBJECTIVES: ...........................................................................................17
2.4 PRINCIPLES AND VALUES UNDERPINNING THE NYP ..............................................18

CHAPTER THREE: DEFINING THE YOUTH AND DRAWING THE BOUNDARIES

3.1 CONTEMPORARY PRACTICES AND UN DEFINITIONS FOR YOUTH .............................19
3.2 DEFINING THE YOUTH IN THE LIBERIAN CONTEXT ..................................................19
3.3 PRIORITY TARGET GROUPS ................................................................................19
3.3.1 YOUTH WITH DISABILITY ..................................................................................19
3.3.2 STREET YOUTH...............................................................................................20
3.3.3 YOUTH AFFECTED BY HIV/AIDS ......................................................................20
3.3.4 UNEMPLOYED YOUTH ......................................................................................21
3.3.5 OUT OF SCHOOL YOUTH ..................................................................................21
3.3.6 YOUTH EX-COMBATANTS.................................................................................22
CHAPTER FOUR: MAJOR ISSUES AFFECTING YOUNG PEOPLE IN LIBERIA

4.1 LOST OPPORTUNITIES IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING .............................................22
                      National Youth Policy for Liberia



4.1THE ECONOMY AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES ...............................................23
4.3 GENDER-BASED DISCRIMINATION .........................................................................24
4.4 POOR PUBLIC HEALTH CARE AND FACILITIES .......................................................24
4.5 INADEQUATE SPORTING AND RECREATION ...........................................................25
4.6 ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION .........................................................................26
4.7 CULTURAL AND IDENTITY CRISIS ..........................................................................26
4.8 POOR INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY ....................................26
4.9 DISILLUSIONMENT & DISEMPOWERMENT ..............................................................27
4.10 DISPLACEMENT, INSECURITY AND CRIME............................................................27

CHAPTER FIVE: STRATEGIC AREAS OF INTERVENTION

5.1 RATIONALE FOR SELECTION ................................................................................27
5.2 STRATEGIC AREAS OF INTERVENTION ..................................................................28
5.2.1 EDUCATION & TRAINING ..................................................................................28
5.2.2 UNEMPLOYMENT AND UNDEREMPLOYMENT .......................................................31
5.2.3 HEALTH ..........................................................................................................33
5.2.4 YOUTH AND CONFLICT .....................................................................................34
5.2.5 JUVENILE DRUG ABUSE AND CRIME ..................................................................35
5.2.5 EXPLOITATION (SEXUAL AND CHILD LABOR) ......................................................36
5.2.6 GENDER EQUITY AND W OMEN EMPOWERMENT .................................................37
5.2.7 YOUTH AND LEADERSHIP .................................................................................38
5.2.8 YOUTH AND THE MDGS ...................................................................................39

CHAPTER SIX: PARTNERSHIPS AND COORDINATION ARRANGEMENTS

6.1 STAKEHOLDER ROLE ANALYSIS ...........................................................................39
6.1.1 THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT .....................................................................40
6.1.2 THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR .................................................................41
6.1.3 ROLE OF DONORS ...........................................................................................42
6.1.4 THE ROLE OF YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS..............................................................42
6.2 COORDINATION MECHANISMS .............................................................................42

CHAPTER SEVEN: REVIEW, MONITORING & EVALUATION ARRANGEMENTS

7.1 THE M&E FRAMEWORK ......................................................................................43
7.2 MEMBERSHIP OF THE MONITORING AND EVALUATION COMMITTEE..........................44
7.3 THE EVALUATION AND MONITORING PROCESS .....................................................45
7.4 THE MONITORING AND EVALUATION CYCLE ..........................................................47
7.4 COORDINATION AND PARTNERSHIP MECHANISMS .................................................47
7.5 STRUCTURE OF COMMITTEES..............................................................................48

Annexes:          1. Action Plan (2006-2008) ; 2. The „Kakata‟ Declaration
               National Youth Policy for Liberia



Foreword

The road to this National Youth Policy Framework has been long, tedious and resolute. This
process began with my predecessor, the late Hon. Francois Eugene Massaquoi who, in
1998 initiated discussions with the authorities of UNFPA Liberia in order to fund a National
Youth Consultative Conference out of which, it was envisaged, a National Youth Policy
would emerge. Although UNFPA did not provide funds to convene Conference at the time,
the initiative inspired great interest in the process.

At the inception of our incumbency as Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2003, we too, saw the
need to convene a consultative meeting with the youth so as to formulate a national youth
policy for Liberia. This need was seen from two perspectives: firstly, a resolution which was
adopted by the National Conference on Children held on December 16 and 17 1997 in
Monrovia, resolved and called upon government, civil society organizations and other bodies
to “work together in convening National Conference on Youth in order to develop an
all-encompassing and comprehensive national youth policy on youth and children”.

Secondly, and more compelling, the United Nations General Assembly, in its 70 th Plenary
Meeting on December 12, 1997, adopted Resolution (A/RES/52/83), re-affirming the
importance of youth and calling on all member countries to involve the youth and youth
organizations in all matters of concern to them. An earlier Resolution (50/81) adopted on
December 14, 1995, had called on member states to formulate and adopt their national
youth policies in consultation with the youth and youth-related organizations, if they have not
already done so.

I am very proud that we have finally arrived at this stage in the actualization of our own
efforts which earnestly began in 2004. Placing the youth on the national agenda of our
country is crucial and very important to us. It is very important because the young people
constitute the largest segment of the population of our country. As the largest single group,
they have their own concerns, their own aspirations and their own problems which we cannot
continue to ignore or attempt to fashion solutions without consulting or involving them in the
process.

The issues of HIV/AIDS and other STIs, high unemployment, lack of access to primary
education, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, teenage prostitution, teenage pregnancy (an
area where Liberia is listed as one of the worlds highest), etc, are among the issues affecting
the young people of Liberia and which require urgent attention and are hereby, through this
policy document, placed on the national platform to be addressed comprehensively in the
broader context of the country‟s recovery and reconstruction agenda. It is my anticipation
that this National Youth Policy, when enacted, will have set the framework and defined the
mechanism to do just that.

We hope, and we call on all our partners, sector-related government ministries, the UNDP
and other UN agencies, UNMIL, Action Aid Liberia and other youth-focused NGOs, the
Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) and other youth groups, who have facilitated this
process, to remain engaged with us as we continue the drive to place the youth on the
national agenda in Liberia.
              National Youth Policy for Liberia



Wheatonia Y. Dixon Barnes
Minister, Ministry of Youth and Sports, NTGL, Liberia
                National Youth Policy for Liberia




Preface

The 19th President of Liberia, William Richard Tolbert, once remarked that the youth are the
“precious jewels” of the nation. Perhaps one of the realizations dawning the late president‟s
mind was that the youths are the indispensable asset of the nation or the index finger
pointing to the future progress and continuity of the state. If their growth and development
process is obtuse or obscure, it reflects the function of the generic malaise of that nation.
Each nation will prioritise the welfare of its youth consistent with its spiritual and moral ethos.

Unfortunately, ever since the founding of the modern Liberian state in 1847, there has not
been formulated an organised, systematic, practical and realistic approach to addressing the
vexing issues confronting the youth, especially the trinitarian evils of poverty, ignorance and
disease that have shackled the young people. Not that attempts have not been made by
both governmental and non-governmental institutions in the past to address these issues but
none has been adequate and successful. This has been due largely to the absence of a
national policy framework that would define clearly the issues and guide youth development
initiatives.

The National Youth Policy is an attempt to provide that framework that would guide and
direct the policy makers and all those interested and involved in youth development
programmes in the country and maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of these
programmes. The issues highlighted in the policy cover a wide variety of issues of concern to
young people, ranging from a contextual definition of who a youth is to major issues
confronting the young person such as: education and training; economy and employment
and livelihood opportunities; gender-based discrimination; public health; recreation; war-
related psychosocial trauma, etc. Most importantly, these issues were identified by the youth
themselves at a conference organized in August 2005 by the Ministry of Youth and Sports
and the Federation of Liberian Youth, FLY, with the assistance of UNDP, UNMIL, Action Aid
Liberia and other partners.

Efforts must be made by all concerned to make the youth of Liberia feel more empowered –
politically, socially and economically. Government and development partners should do
much more to involved the youth on the formulation, implementation and monitoring of
recovery and reconstruction strategies for our country. It is my hope and expectation that by
formulating this National Youth Policy and its subsequent adoption and passage into
legislation, the youth of Liberia will be placed in the national agenda.



George Gyude Wisner II
President,
Federation of Liberian Youth
               National Youth Policy for Liberia



Acknowledgements

This document could not have been prepared without the partnership mobilized around the
Liberia youth policy project. The Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Federation of Liberian
Youth (FLY), the UNMIL, UNDP, UNICEF and Action Aid Liberia, all worked hard to ensure
success in the process that led to this policy framework document. Starting with the youth
mapping survey and other background studies and analyses, the regional consultations
leading to the national youth conference, a great deal of support and commitment was
demonstrated, which is deeply appreciated.

This unique partnership has also demonstrated how a government and the youth can work
together with national and international NGOs, the UN Mission as well as with UN agencies
in an integrated manner to respond to a felt need, namely to mainstream youth priorities
within national plans, structures and processes, particularly at this historic juncture of
Liberia‟s post-conflict recovery and reconstruction.

Above all, the young people of Liberia who participated in the policy process deserve special
commendation for their sacrifice and determination to see a new and more promising future
for their country. The Liberia youth policy process benefited greatly from the intellectual
guidance and facilitation support of two prominent Liberians with tremendous experience
working with young people, and to whom we are indebted: Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson,
Jr. and Mr. Robert W. Draper. The final validation of the report, its production, distribution
and promotion was sponsored by UNDP Liberia.
                National Youth Policy for Liberia



Executive Summary

A coherent approach to youth issues is a priority for Liberia, one of the most traumatized
countries in Africa, coming out of over fourteen years of civil strife. The vast majority of those
affected by the war are the youth, a large number of who now feel alienated, frustrated and
most vulnerable. They were witnesses to the gruesome murder of their mothers and fathers
and/or other loved ones, besides being the principal perpetrators of these heinous crimes
themselves. The youth population aged between 15 and 24 comprises a significant
percentage of the population, with those under the age of 15 averaging over 40%. With life
expectancy rapidly declining to as low as 45 years of age due to HIV/AIDS, this age group
are now or will become the dominant group in society, most affect by change and also the
most likely agents of change. It is the demographic group that could either sustain peace or
generate further instability in the country.

The social, education and economic networks and institutions of youth are in disarray. The
circumstances of the youth present great threats to society: some of the manifestations of
the crisis facing young people in Liberia including expansion of organized crime amid
proliferation of small arms and light weapons; trafficking in young children and young
women; unemployment; narcotics and alcohol abuse; prevalence of a culture of violence;
inadequate educational resources; distrust of past and current leadership, cross boarder
security concerns, etc, all reflect a deep-rooted malaise traced to a failure of governance.

These threats are compounded by the fact that many youthful ex-combatants are yet to be
effectively integrated into either jobs or training programs. Unless these issues are
addressed in a systematic and coherent manner, an air of despondency and resignation may
set in at best or at worst they may resort to criminal activities or fall easy prey to war
mongers. It is against this backdrop that dialogue on a national youth policy was initiated.
The Policy document, after defining concepts and setting the context goes further to analyze
some of the key issues affecting young people and suggests ways and means through which
these issues can be properly addressed. It defines the youth in the context of Liberia,
negotiated to constitute the age bracket 15-35. It classifies youth into priority target groups,
e.g. those with disabilities, street youth, youth affected by HIV/ AIDS, unemployed youth, and
early school leavers. The objective of the National Youth Policy is to promote the full
participation of young people in the decision making process and in the development of
programs and projects meant for them.

The policy calls for a coherent approach in dealing with youth issues, delaminated by gender
concerns in addition to integrating supply and demand strategies. It argues for example, that
it is important but not sufficient to increase investments in education and vocational training
since there is no point in making young people employable if the economy cannot produce
the needed jobs for those who enter the job market. In this respect, supply measures should
be complemented by demand side measures so that employment creation is a goal, and not
just a by-product of government policies for investment and economic growth.

The policy document outlines a number of measures for priority action to promote the
participation of youth in the post conflict recovery and reconstruction agenda for Liberia.
These include: education and training; employment; healthcare provision; peace and
reconciliation; promoting gender equity; leadership development; adolescent reproductive
               National Youth Policy for Liberia



health; HIV/AIDS prevention (especially focusing on women and teenage girls); drug abuse
and crime; and protection of child labor. It also defines the facilitation, coordination,
monitoring, advocacy and promotional mechanisms needed to enhance youth issues, and
youth led initiatives, under the guidance of mainline youth serving ministries, the Federation
of Liberia Youth (FLY) and international aid agencies. In order to ensure that the National
Youth Policy is functional, it will be reviewed and revised every two years. It is planned that
National Consultative Meetings will be held yearly on a rational basis in each of the 15
counties. In implementing the policy, the state, private and public sector, adults and youth all
have an important role to play and must be given an opportunity to do so. An short to
medium term action plan is appended to the policy document, so is the „Kakata Declaration‟,
the statement of outcome from the national youth conference held in August 2005 and
attended by over 200 young people from all the 15 counties of Liberia.

The Liberia Youth Policy Initiative is a partnership between the Ministry of Youth and Sports,
the umbrella youth body, the Federation of Liberian Youth, UNDP UNICEF, UNMIL, Action
Aid, and USAID. This partnership is crucial in implementing the concept of an Integrated
Mission in a post-conflict context.
               National Youth Policy for Liberia



ACRONYMS


AAL        Action Aid Liberia
AIDS       Acquired Immure Deficiency Syndrome
CBO        Community Based Organization
FLY        Federation of Liberian Youth
FPAL       Family Planning Association of Liberia
GOL        Government of Liberia
HIV        Human Immunodeficiency Virus
IHL        Institution of Higher Learning
KD         Kakata Declaration
MIA        Ministry of Internal Affairs
MICAT              Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs & Tourism
MGD        Ministry of Gender & Development
MOE        Ministry of Education
MOJ        Ministry of Justice
MOL        Ministry of Labor
MPEA       Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs
       MYS         Ministry of Youth & Sports
NTGL       National Transitional Government of Liberia
NTLA       National Transitional Legislative Assembly
NYP        National Youth Policy
NYSC       National Youth Service Corp
PIP        Partner in Progress
STI        Sexually Transmitted Infection
UL         University of Liberia
UN         United Nations
UNDP       United Nations Development Programme
UNHCR      United Nations Humanitarian Commission for Refugees
UNICEF     United Nations Children‟s Fund
UNMIL      United Nations Mission in Liberia
WHO        World Health Organization
YSA        Youth serving Agency
YMCA       Young Men Christian Association
YWCA               Young Women Christian Association
National Youth Policy for Liberia
National Youth Policy for Liberia
                                                            A National Youth Policy Framework for Liberia




Chapter One:
The Concept of a National Youth Policy




1.1 Introduction and Background

Liberia is, perhaps, one of the most severely war-affected nations in Africa.
Fourteen years of civil conflict have left a devastated, war-ravaged society,
struggling to recover from destruction, suffering, pain and death. The war
depopulated the rural areas, severely disrupted traditional social systems and
structures and completely shattered state institutions. Over 250,000 persons were
killed, approximately 500,000 displaced internally, and about 800,000 sought
refuge in neighboring countries at the height of the war. There are a variety of
factors that underlie the Liberian state collapse, but none are more significant than
decades of corruption, combined with massive historical disparities between a
privileged elite and an impoverished population. The Liberian GDP averages
today $158 per annum, less than 50% of its pre-war levels, with national debt
standing at an unsustainable US$2.8                                                billion,
representing a whopping 707% of GDP. A Liberian youth of 30 years today
                                                         in a state
Unemployment in the formal sector is has lived all his/herof civil conflict         85%.
                                               virtually            life, with the
Absolute and extreme poverty stand at last fourteen years being full-              76.2%
and 52% respectively. In terms of Human fledged armed conflict.
Development Index, Liberia is not even                                             among
the 177 countries listed in the 2005 Human Development Report.

The vast majority of Liberians those affected by the war are the youth, a large
number of who now feel alienated, frustrated and vulnerable. They were witnesses
to the gruesome murder of their mothers and fathers and/or other loved ones. In
some cases youth were the principal perpetrators of these heinous crimes
themselves. Changing their mind-set is therefore most urgent. The youth
population aged between 15 and 24 comprises a significant percentage of the
population of Liberia, with those under the age of 15 averaging over 40%. With life
expectancy rapidly declining to as low as 45 years of age due to factors including
the spread of HIV/AIDS, those aged between 15 and 24 are now a dominant group
in society. Liberia‟s youth are most affected by change and also have the potential
to be the most powerful agents of change. As such could either sustain peace or
generate further instability in the country.




                                                                                         December, 2005
                                     National Youth Policy for Liberia




     Yet past experience and current circumstances for the youth portends great risks
     to the country‟s future stability. The social, education and economic networks and
     institutions of youth are in disarray. The circumstances of youth present great
     threats to society: expansion of organized crime amid proliferation of small arms
     and light weapons;

                                                                    trafficking in young children and
         The concept of a National Youth Policy (NYP)
                                                                    young women; unemployment;
A NYP is a framework that endeavors to address issues affecting     narcotics and alcohol abuse;
young people. It provides broad-based strategies that can be        prevalence of a culture of violence;
pursued to give the youth meaningful opportunities to reach their inadequate educational resources;
maximum potential. The NYP recognizes that the youth are a
key resource that can be tapped for the benefit of a nation. Yet    distrust of past and current
not a single stakeholder can carry out youth development alone.     leadership, and the spread of HIV.
Everyone in the community- both young and old- should play These threats are compounded by
their respective roles to see that the aspirations and hopes of the the fact that many youthful ex-
youth are met. Many of the youth who are productive and             combatants are yet to be
energetic remain unemployed, continue to suffer from poor
health, and lack sufficient material and emotional support. In      effectively re-integrated into either
addition there are those youth that have special needs that         jobs or training programs. Unless
require attention. These include those living on the streets, those these issues are addressed in a
affected by HIV/AIDS, and those with disabilities. Young girls      systematic and coherent manner,
are especially vulnerable.                                          an air of despondency and
The major impediment to addressing youth problems in many
countries has been the absence of a comprehensive youth policy      resignation may set in at best or at
to provide a broad framework that integrates youth issues and       worst; youth may resort to criminal
concerns into the national development process. The                 activities or fall easy prey to war
development of a National Youth Policy for Liberia aims to          mongers. It is against this
address these challenges.                                           backdrop of high risk but also
      great potential that dialogue on a national youth policy was initiated.


     1.2 Definition: What is a National Youth Policy?




                                                                                                            11
                          National Youth Policy for Liberia

A National Youth Policy is the guiding principle for designing, planning and
implementing all activities relating to the development of youth. The policy
provides a framework for government, non-governmental organizations, and the
private sector in planning and implementing gender-balanced programs which
cater to the needs and aspirations of youth. When enacted into law, it will reflect
a manifestation of the political will of government and the commitment of all
stakeholders to foster the cause of fully developing the capacity of youth and to
integrate them into all sectors of the society. In as much as a National Youth
Policy addresses concerns and issues crucial for the growth and development of
young people, it also provides validity and direction for implementing programs
and services meant for youth. The policy spells out specific outputs and outcomes
in the form of an Action Plan, which is appended to the National Youth Policy
Document.

1.3 The Search for Policy Direction: Rationale for a NYP

1.3.1 Filling a Policy Vacuum

Liberia does not have a youth policy. The absence of such a policy has continued
to impede the design and implementation of youth programs. Instead, many
interventions have remained rather adhoc, reactive and uncoordinated. While
there have been efforts by both non-governmental organizations and other youth
serving agencies to respond to the needs of youth, these programs have not for
the most part been tailored to their specific needs. These interventions have also
been largely urban based, thus neglecting youth in rural areas. Similarly, even
though past governments had convened major conferences on sectoral reforms,
and discussed such issues as education, rural development, unemployment,
education, health and agriculture, these initiatives have not translated into policies
and programs that make a difference in young peoples‟ lives.


Many aid agencies and other groups have been urging the NTGL through the
Ministry of Youth and Sports to formulate a policy framework to help clarify all
these issues and more importantly, to mainstream youth activities within national
plans, structures and processes. A NYP is an important instrument which
recognizes that the future of every country lies in its youth population. It is the
youth of today who grow up into the women and men of tomorrow
on whose shoulders lies the responsibility of steering the nation. Statistics have
shown that 55.6% of the population of Liberia is composed of young people less
than 20 years of age.
What this means is that the country has a youthful population, a majority
demographic group with which society has to contend. This group must be given
the opportunity to participate in all efforts of nation building.

Similarly, the NYP addresses the question of continued marginalization of young
people in the decision-making processes. It aims to propel them to the mainstream
society and afford them the opportunity to be actively involved in the affairs of their
                                                                                          12
                                              National Youth Policy for Liberia
       country. Such stimulation will awaken them to the realization that they must learn
       to stand on their own and take initiatives which will benefit them in future. The
       involvement of youth will no doubt equip them with appropriate skills and
       knowledge to be able to identify a positive role in society.


       1.3.2 Global and Regional Imperatives



       The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) campaign offers an opportunity to
       address the present and future needs of young people in Liberia. As reflected in
       the first MDGs Report for Liberia published in 2004, all eight goals target and
       affect youth. The youth are not only beneficiaries of improved human well being,
       but should also be recognized as principal actors in enabling Liberia to achieve the
       MDGs. The increased understanding among young people, of their countries‟
       commitments towards achieving the MDGs, would enable them to contribute their
       skills and energies. Youth have a role in
       the formulation and implementation of development policies in the next 10 years
       leading to 2015. This calls for increased recognition of the role the youth will play
       in overcoming extreme poverty and achieving sustainable human development.
       Government, civil society and development agencies should therefore create an
       enabling environment and provide tangible support to empower youth
       organizations and forums to contribute to this process.

       Within the context of the Mano-River Union (MRU) sub-region, efforts are
       underway to mainstream youth activities into country strategies and programs 1. At
       the regional level, a key declaration from the UN/ECA Fourth Africa Development
       Forum held in Addis Ababa in October 2004, with the theme „Youth and
       Governance‟, included a plea to countries to „„hasten the development of National
       Youth Policies in all African countries so that youth




       issues are mainstreamed within structures and processes of government at the
       national, sub-regional, regional and international levels‟‟2

       On a global level, the UN General Assembly in its resolution 44/59 mandated the
       World Forum of the United Nations System to serve as a channel of
       communication between youth organizations and United Nations bodies and


1
  Liberia was one of the countries that participated in the Mano River Union (MRU), ECOWAS and UNDP, the Youth Peace and Development Forum for
the Mano River Union countries and Côte d’Ivoire between 10-12th January 2005 in Conakry, Guinea. The Forum was co-funded by UNDP Africa
Regional Programme to Strengthen Africa's Regional Capacities for Peace building and USAID West Africa Regional Programme. Among the
recommendations from the meeting was for countries to formulate policies for addressing youth issues.
2
   Addis Ababa Declaration, ADFIV Symposium on Youth and Governance, Addis Ababa, October 2004 UN/Economic Commission for Africa and
African Union (ECA/AU).

                                                                                                                                           13
                                                  National Youth Policy for Liberia
                       3
        agencies . The Secretary General referred to the Youth forum as “a splendid
        example of young people coming together to work out their own agenda, without
        waiting for the Governments to tell them what to do”. The first and second
        Sessions of the World Youth Forum were convened in Vienna, Austria in 1991 and
        1996. The third took place in Braga, Portugal and the fourth session was in Dakar
        Senegal in 2001 under the theme “Empowering youth for action”. It is in response
        to these imperatives that the Ministry of Youth and Sport (MYS) set up the Liberia
        Youth Policy initiative, a technical working group established to assist in putting in
        place a process and mechanisms leading to the formulation of a youth policy for
        Liberia.4


        1.4 The National Youth Policy Process for Liberia

        To begin the process, a national youth mapping exercise was conducted early in
        2005 to identify a variety of issues relating to youth, including their organizations,
        their location, what they are doing, their key concerns and aspirations. Some of
        the issues identified as priority areas of attention through this mapping exercise
        included education, training, the economy, employment opportunities, security,
        juvenile crime and drug abuse, youth and HIV/AIDS, health, gender equity, and
        imbalances and biases affecting young females. The role of young people in
        politics, the media, leadership development, as well as youth participation in the
        decision-making process were also identified.

        The results of the mapping exercise provided a basis for initiating dialogue leading
        to a national youth policy conference, held from 21-27 August 2005. Participants in
        the conference came from all the country‟s fifteen counties. The conference,
        attended by over 200 youth representatives from across the country together with
        a cross-section of stakeholders involved in youth programs, provided a platform to
        discuss key issues affecting young people of Liberia. A key output from this
        conference was the “The Kakata Declaration”, a statement committing the youth of
        Liberia to renewal and to positioning young people in national reconstruction
        efforts. It provided the vision for a National Youth Policy, which, once finalized, will
        be submitted to the new government upon assuming power in early 2006.



        It is expected that the policy will begin to address issues such as youth and armed
        conflict; education including primary, elementary, secondary, tertiary,
        vocational/technical, adult literacy, night schools and national traditional forms of
        learning, and child rearing; HIV and young people; juvenile crime and drugs; youth
        sports and recreation; and youth voluntarism, among others.


3
  The United Nations General Assembly, by its resolution 56/117 of 19 December 2001, called upon all Member States as well as all UN bodies and
agencies, IGOs and NGOs concerned, in particular youth organizations, to make every possible effort to integrate a youth perspective into all the relevant
planning and decision-making processes by implementing the World Programme of Action for Youth
4
  The Liberia Youth Policy Initiative is a partnership between the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the umbrella youth body, the Federation of Liberian
Youth, UNDP UNICEF, UNMIL, Action Aid, and USAID.

                                                                                                                                                      14
National Youth Policy for Liberia




                                    15
                             National Youth Policy for Liberia


   Chapter Two:

   Vision, Principles and Values Underpinning the NYP


   2.1 PREAMBLE

   WE, THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF LIBERIA, UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF GOD
   ALMIGHTY, THE MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORTS AND THE FEDERATION
   OF LIBERIAN YOUTH (FLY) DO CONSIDER OURSELVES AS THE NUCLEUS
   OF SOCIETY AS WELL AS AGENTS OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL
   CHANGE NOW AND AT EVERY JUNCTURE OF LIBERIAN HISTORY.
   CONTRARY TO THE VIEW THAT THE YOUTH ONLY REPRESENT THE
   FUTURE, WE, THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF LIBERIA, BETWEEN THE AGES
   FIFTEEN (15) TO THIRTY-FIVE (35), DO CONSIDER OURSELVES AS MAJOR
   PARTNERS AND STAKEHOLDERS OF DEVELOPMENT IN LIBERIA TODAY,
   AND WOULD BE LEADERS OF THE FUTURE. BY SO DOING, THIS ORGANIC
   AND SACRED DOCUMENT CREATED AND FASHIONED BY THE YOUNG
   PEOPLE OUTLINES THE CONCERNS AND ISSUES AFFECTING US AND OUR
   COUNTRY. IT IS A MAJOR VEHICLE FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
   INTENDED TO ENHANCE THE ADVANCEMENT AND ENJOYMENT OF LIFE IN
   SAFETY AND SECURITY. THE NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY DOCUMENT
   PROVIDES A FRAMEWORK FOR ENGAGING YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE
   ECONOMIC, EDUCATIONAL, HEALTH, SECURITY, GENDER, POLITICAL, AND
   SOCIAL-CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY. IT IS OUR SOLEMN
   BELIEF THAT EVERY EFFORT WILL BE MADE TO PLAN AND IMPLEMENT
   YOUTH –FOCUSED PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS IN A COHERENT AND
   INTEGRATED MANNER AS SPECIFIED IN THIS POLICY DOCUMENT. FROM
   CAPE MOUNT TO CAPE PALMAS, FROM MOUNT NIMBA TO MOUNT GIBI
   AND THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE REPUBLIC, WE THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF
   LIBERIA, SAY “ THIS IS OUR AFFIRMATION” AND PLEDGE.

   2.2 Vision and Goals of a National Youth Policy

   The formulation of the Liberia National Youth Policy positions young people both
   as major source of human capacity and as agents for the advancement and
   innovation in all aspects of life. The formulation of a National Youth Policy for
   Liberia at this time of transition from war to peace and recovery must be founded
   on a vision that will articulate a shared image of the present and future for Liberia,
   that all young people can identify with, and share with their older persons,. A
   number of reform initiatives are currently underway in Liberia at the grass roots
   level, with which young people should be linked. Therefore the rationale for a
   vision is to:-

1 To develop a sense of unity among young people, particularly as there are so
  many different group identities in Liberia;
                                                                                            16
                              National Youth Policy for Liberia

2 To provide a sense of direction for the youth, especially as Liberia is just emerging
  from conflict. It is important to agree on where the country‟s young people, just as
  the nation itself, wants to be in 10, 15, 20, 25 years;
3 Create a sense of ownership of the development process among young people

    The Liberian National Youth Policy aims to strengthen the values and principles of
    being good citizens and partners in the development process. Young people are
    custodians of the country‟s future; hence, they serve as strategists and
    development agents. Therefore every effort should be made to ensure that young
    people are integrated and involved in all development plans at all levels. The
    Liberian National Youth Policy is geared towards promoting programs that will
    enhance national sustainable development and stability for Liberia.

    A National Youth Policy will establish the necessary framework for re-designing
    existing youth programs and projects. At present, all polices and programs are
    only tailored to the needs of government, specific youth serving organizations, and
    religious institutions with no inputs from the youth themselves. This trend must be
    reversed by involving young people in decision making at all levels.

    In summary, the vision of the national youth policy in Liberia is to “enable young
    people to secure the right to live in safety and security and the opportunity
    to realize their dreams and aspirations, and to exploit their maximum
    potential by participating productively, in the economic, cultural, political,
    social and religious life of society, and by so doing, prepare them today as
    tomorrow‟s leaders”.

    2.3 Goal and Objectives of the NYP


    2.3.1 The Goal

    The overall goal of the National Youth Policy is to promote youth participation in
    the national decision making process. It also aims to enable young people to
    provide input in community activities, national programs and democratically-chose,
    youth-centered activities and initiatives. The NYP emerges out of the needs
    expressed by young people themselves and their desire to stake their claim in
    national life. At the global level, the NYP is a means to contribute to the
    achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by articulating the key role of
    youth in society.

    2.3.2 The Objectives:

    The objectives of the policy are:

   To sensitize all stakeholders on the issues affecting the youth in Liberia so as to
    mainstream them in policies and programs;

                                                                                          17
                              National Youth Policy for Liberia

   To make a case for partnerships in implementing initiatives and programs which
    help youth to fulfill their expectations and needs;
   To identify, explore and suggest ways and means through which youth can be
    empowered to take initiative and promote the spirit of national service,
    volunteerism and self-help activities;
   To propose ways of mentoring youth to be good citizens and to create conditions
    in which the youth will empower themselves and realize their full potential;



    2.4 Principles and Values Underpinning the NYP

    A key tenet of this policy process is that any national development requires the
    support to youth-led programs and youth oriented initiatives is an imperative for.
    The NYP of Liberia should be seen as a basis for prioritizing public actions and
    programs undertaken by the government and other youth-serving agencies,
    primarily to ensure that they make an impact in responding to the aspirations of
    young people. The NYP is consistent with existing laws of Liberia and the broader
    developments aspirations of the country. More particularly, it is an integral part of
    the post-conflict recovery and reconstruction phase, articulating the needs,
    defining the roles and spelling out the responsibilities of young people of Liberia.
    Specifically, the key principles that underpin the Liberia NYP are the following:

o Respect for the cultural norms, beliefs, mores, and ethical values system. The
  National Youth Policy should respect the cultural, religious, customs and ethical
  orientation of youth and should conform to universally accepted human rights
  practice without discrimination based on gender, race, age, ethnicity, political,
  religious affiliation and social orientation;
o Peace and reconciliation as cornerstones for positive, non-violent change in
  Liberia;
o Equal opportunity. The policy will promote the principles of equal opportunities and
  equitable distribution of programs, services, and resources. It will also endeavor to
  promote equal access to socio-economic opportunities for the youth, with gender
  equality as a guiding principle.
o Civic Responsibility;
o Active participation at all levels of life;




                                                                                            18
                         National Youth Policy for Liberia




Chapter Three:
Defining the Youth and Drawing the Boundaries



3.1 Contemporary practices and UN definitions for Youth

One challenge in formulating a NYP is getting consensus as to who constitutes the
youth. Unfortunately, there has not been any national process or discussion by
young people or national government on whether to embrace the definition
adopted by member states of the UN in the 1985 Guidelines on Youth (ages 15-24
years) or to lean towards the UN Convention on the Right of the Child, which
defines a child as anyone under the age of 18 years. The final option was to define
it according to national standards based on Liberia‟s socio-cultural heritage.

3.2 Defining the Youth in the Liberian Context

In the context of the Liberian culture, a youth is a male or female who falls within
the age range of 15 to 35 years. This age-group represents 55.6% of Liberia‟s
population of 3.5 million, and constitutes the highest source of human resource
capacity. Despite this there are limited opportunities to absorb youth (both female
and male) in the job market. The status of youth has been neglected and ignored
over the years by policy makers who not included them in three design, planning,
or implementation of programs and policies. For the past 25 years, the youth of
Liberia have been manipulated by politicians to bring about the chaos and

anarchy witnessed in Liberia and orchestrated by adults for their own ends. Youth
are in no way involved in the social, economic, political or cultural development
plans, nor in the decision- making process. Youth have thus been deprived of their
participatory rights as citizens of Liberia. It is hoped that the formulation of the
NYP will focus national attention on youth issues and priorities.

3.3 Priority Target Groups

This policy document is a basis for developing interventions for all the youth in
Liberia. However in addressing the needs of the youth, special attention shall be
paid to certain groups selected on a priority basis. The identification and
categorization reflects specific needs to be addressed. Government and youth
serving organizations will give particular emphasis and attention to each of these
target areas.

3.3.1 Youth with Disability


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                                   National Youth Policy for Liberia
     Disability is not inability, yet in Liberian culture, parents feel ashamed of having
     disabled children. Young men and women with disabilities require specific support
     to ensure that they have adequate access and opportunities to participate fully in
     society. For many youth a disability leads to rejection, isolation and discrimination,
     hindering their psychological and emotional development. Special measures must
     be put in place to ensure that the needs of disabled youth are adequately
     addressed and that they are fully integrated into society.

     Respect for human rights, participation and inclusiveness are promoted, as the
     NYP advocates for greater awareness and response to the needs of young
     women and men who have mental or/and physical disabilities.

     3.3.2 Street Youth

     The conflict in Liberia let to the breakdown of the social fabric, of family and
     community support networks. As such, there is a high incidence of young people
     and families living in the streets. Of particular concern are the street youth, which
     refers to young people who live and/or work in the streets. These includes Yana-
     boys and girls (street sellers); wheelbarrow and or loader associations. These
     groups have special needs and are especially vulnerable. They lack any protection
     supervision or direction from responsible adults. The policy advocates for re-
     integration, rehabilitation of street youth in the communities and strengthening the
     family and community ties.

     3.3.3 Youth affected by HIV/AIDS

     The age cohort 15-35 has been affected the most with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
     With an estimated adult prevalence rate of 8%, HIV/AIDS poses a major public
     health problem in Liberia. Primary prevention through targeted interventions
     particularly amongst young people, who constitute the majority of the population,
     should be the main stay of the response to this growing epidemic. Young people
     are a very important target group for interventions because of their vulnerability,
     impact and potential for change. In a recent KAP study conducted by UNICEF, it
     was revealed that while knowledge and awareness on HIV/AIDS, its causes and
     how it can be prevented are high (93%). this has nevertheless not

     translated into positive behavior change5. In addition, there are serious
     misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and resentment to People Living with Aids
     (PLWA).

     The high rate of teenage pregnancies, abortions, school drop outs and sexually
     transmitted diseases confirm that youth are engaging in early sexual activities,
     increasingly being exposed to HIV/AIDS. In addition to this, the increased drug
     and substance abuse, cultural practices, violence and anti-social behavior, illegal
     abortion, and the lack of basic services and public information have increased the
5
‘Knowledge about HIV/AIDS, Attitude Towards People Living with Aids (PLWA) and Sexual Practices (KAP) Among
Young People in Liberia’, UNICEF Liberia, September 2005, p. 6.
                                                                                                          20
                          National Youth Policy for Liberia

risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. On the other hand, the uptake of contraceptives is
limited, only 23% use condoms. The policy advocates for community-based care
and positive living for this target group.

The impact on female youth is even more worrying. The onset of sexual activity
among the youth begins quite early in their life. Over 55% of girls between 15-19
years old have had sexual intercourse. Sex at this age has adverse effects on
health and other socio-economic consequences. Studies have shown that most
adolescent pregnancies (around 90%) are unplanned. High level of unprotected
sexual activity exposes the female youth to the risk of contracting STD‟s including
HIV/AIDS. The extremely low levels of education attainment, forced sex during the
war, sexual exploitation and sex work to generate income, and early

marriages face the female youth. These have led to low participation and
representation of women youth in decision-making position and have lowered
access to decision making. Traditional gender roles for young people over-
burdened the female youth, limiting their opportunities for progression and self-
development.

3.3.4 Unemployed Youth

Owing to the prolonged conflict, the Liberian economy has not been able to
generate new jobs for youth and is unlikely to do so in the near future. Due to the
scarcity of formal sector jobs, young people mostly find work in the informal
economy, working very long hours under poor conditions and for a small income.
But even the informal economy‟s ability to absorb an ever-increasing number of
young people has been severely affected by the war. The situation for girls is even
worse. Many young girls drop out of school because of teenage pregnancy and
marriage or financial difficulties where parents prefer to educate their male
children. Girls therefore end up with less education and fewer skills than boys,
which increases discrimination against them in the labor market.


n short, lack of employment opportunities for young people has added to Liberia‟s
entrenched poverty and underdevelopment. The violent youth sub-culture that
prevails, in turn, further deteriorates the fragile social fabric of the country. Youth
inability to find gainful employment is increasingly considered both a socio-
economic but also a political
and security concern. This is posing a serious obstacle to peace and development
in Liberia. Unemployment brings along with it social ills, such as participation in
crime, alcohol and drug abuse. Unemployed youth should be provided with access
to services and support programs and opportunities for further training.

3.3.5 Out of School Youth

The years of violence in Liberia destroyed the education system, preventing
children from attending school and disrupted education and training programs. As
                                                                                          21
                          National Youth Policy for Liberia

a result, many young people find themselves out of school. Although the Ministry
of Education is slowly regaining capacity and schools are reopening, a generation
of young people has lost crucial years. The out of school youth represents a
special category of youth in terms of accessibility to socio-economic and other
opportunities. In the past, warring factions and violent youth gangs have exploited
the sense of alienation and marginalization of out of school, jobless and frustrated
young men and drafted them into war. This gave them the illusion of power by
providing them with an income, an occupation, power and recognition. As a
remedy, much emphasis is needed to educate youth so as to begin nurturing a
class of educated youth that have the potential to play a meaningful role in society.
Access to secondary schooling and skills training must be prioritized.

3.3.6 Youth Ex-Combatants

A large proportion of the demobilized former combatants are young people.
Although efforts are underway to reintegrate them into society, they still remain a
target group for either

ensuring peace of creating further instability. They remain a threat to national and
regional security. The combination of massive urbanization, endemic youth
unemployment and the opportunities for armed violence constitute an explosive
mixture that could easily generate violent armed conflict, especially at this fragile
time of transition. The lack of human security, of which economic security is an
integral part, gives young ex-combatants few opportunities to become an asset
rather than a threat to their societies. Without gainful employment and sources of
livelihoods, this group can easily become a factor for political destabilization.


Chapter Four
Major Issues Affecting Young People in Liberia


4.1 Lost Opportunities in Education and Training

Fourteen years of intermittent civil war in Liberia have resulted in the destruction of
schools and teacher training facilities, the loss of teaching materials and a
dramatic reduction in the numbers of qualified teaching staff. Those teachers who
remained in the classroom were affected by the erratic payment of wages by the
national authorities.      The prolonged conflict has undermined the national
educational system by disrupting normal academic cycles and leaving an entire
generation of young people without access to organized learning. As a result,
Liberia‟s literacy rate today stands at less than 40%.

The end of the war offers an opportunity to finally redress this dramatic situation.
At the institution of free and compulsory primary education, effected into law in
2003, has not yet been realized. Added to this must be an increased emphasis on
improving quality and access to secondary education for young Liberians.
                                                                                          22
                                     National Youth Policy for Liberia
      Reconstructing the formal education system alone will not address the needs of
      those who may have already passed school-

      leaving age and would be better served by accelerated learning and vocational
      training programs or apprenticeship schemes. Liberia currently lacks diversified
      skills training programs which are designed on the basis of labor market demand.

      It is also important to point out that it was not the conflict alone which was
      responsible for the poor state of education in this country. Much of the problem
      can be linked to a general historical under provision of schooling facilities in rural
      parts of Liberia, which discriminated against those living outside of the urban
      areas.

      The high dropout rates prevalent in Liberia today can be linked to the devastating
      impact which the war has had on the country‟s social fabric. At the same time,
      however, it is made worse by prohibitively high school fees which force many who
      are willing to learn to abandon their schooling. This problem is frequently more
      acute in the case of young girls who are often the first to be taken out of school by
      their families in situations which do not allow for all children to attend classes.
      They may also be prevented from obtaining a formal education due to early
      marriage or parenthood, obligating them to perform house chores or having to
      engage in income-generating activities to support their families. Early marriage
      should be

      discouraged especially so the cases that do not get the consent (age of 16-18 yrs
      old in Liberia) of the female youth. Cultural and traditional norms that negatively
      affect or hold back the girl child should be abolished. For example; FGM (FEMALE
      GENITAL MUTULATION), EARLY MARRIAGES WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF
      THE FEMALE YOUTH, etc) contributes negatively to the educational and training
      opportunities for female youth.

      4.1 The Economy and Employment Opportunities

      The economic growth rate of Liberia over the past two decades has not been
      sufficient to absorb those coming into the labor market, resulting in high
      unemployment rates particularly among the youth. Besides being a direct cause
      of the poverty now affecting much of Liberia‟s population; the lack of viable
      alternatives for sustaining their livelihoods encouraged young people to take part
      in the civil war as a means of survival. According to a recently published report,
      the socio-economic and political marginalization of the youth and their subsequent
      manipulation during the crisis in West Africa played a major role in fuelling conflicts
      and job creation is an integral part of the humanitarian and reconstruction
      strategies. 6 The feelings of frustration and helplessness that led people to take up
      arms in the first place return when they cannot find a job, making them vulnerable.


6
 ‘Youth Unemployment and Regional Inseucity in West Africa: United Nations Office for West Africa, December 2005,
p. 8.
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                          National Youth Policy for Liberia

The conflict, in turn, has had a devastating effect on all sectors of the economy.
Production in key industries was disrupted, and as a result most enterprises either
reduced or completely eliminated their workforce. To this day, the economy
remains

weak with 75% of the population living on less than one dollar a day and the
absorptive capacity of the labor market remaining very low. Only approximately
25% of young people find formal employment on the job market.



As a result of the war, many youths still remain without skills and education
despite current assistance programs. In addition, many were traumatized by the
conflict and remain unable to enter the job market as competitive actors. Their lack
of work experience means that they can fall victim to exploitation by employers,
enduring low wages and poor working conditions.

4.3 Gender-based discrimination

Traditional and formal parts of Liberia‟s society are largely male-dominated, with a
resulting tendency to discriminate against women and girls in the areas of
employment, data information as it relates to male and female youth.
Consequently, they remain vulnerable to harmful practices such as restricted
access to education, arranged marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). They
can also fall victim to domestic violence and sexual exploitation. These factors
play a decisive role in preventing female youth from fully participating in the social
and economic lives of their communities.

4.4 Poor Public Health Care and Facilities

One of the highly consequences of the civil war in Liberia is the destruction of the
health care delivery system which. To date, it remains undeveloped and cannot
cater for the needs of the majority of the population. Before the war, there were
296 primary health care facilities operating in Liberia. Of these 132 are now
operational of which 30% are supported by NGOs and religious groups. Owing to
the destruction of the infrastructure, many trained health staff are very reluctant to
work in rural areas worst hit by the conflict. Prior to the civil war, there were 18
hospitals. Today, only 12 are fully operational and these are clustered around
urban centers causing a severe disparity in affordability and accessibility of
medical care between rural and urban dwellers. The country‟s population of close
to three million is currently being served by only a handful of medical
professionals. The high rates of infant and maternal mortality, the high incidents of
severe stunting among children and the high rates of illiteracy bear testimony to
the consequences of prolonged violent conflicts

Some of the major health-related problems confronting youth today are the poor
standards of sexual and reproductive health, the continuing prevalence of
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                               National Youth Policy for Liberia
preventable “killer” diseases such as polio and measles and the spread of
HIV/AIDS. The high incidence of the spread of the deadly disease HIV/AIDS,
drugs and substance abuse are common concern of youth and must be addressed
adequately.    The future of the youth is threatened by HIV / AIDS disease,
according to Ministry of health statistics between 1986 to 2002 the AIDS cases
has increased among young people ages 15 to 24 from 4.2% to 12.9%.
Reproductive health is another form of health problem, which impacts generally on
the youth population. Some related consequences or side effects include;
teenage pregnancy, abortion, prostitution and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Regarding malaria, Liberia is a stable malaria endemic country, and the disease
has been the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, accounting for over 10%7 of
all deaths in health facilities. The proportion of clinic attendance due to malaria
increased from 34.6% in 1997 to 50% in 2000. At 3.4% annually, Liberia has a
very high population growth rate. The major contributing factor to the rapid growth
of the population is the high fertility rate, estimated at 6.2 per woman, coupled with
a relatively low contraceptive prevalence rate of 5.7 percent, and early age of
marriage and child birth. This high level of fertility and growth rates have resulted
in the youthful structure of the population, with 54 percent below age 20 while 43
percent are children aged 0-14. There is marked increased in the number of
teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions as well as single and unemployed
mothers especially among youths and young adults less than 25 years of age.

Maternal mortality estimated at 578/100,000 lives births as at 2000 is among the
highest in the world. Access to quality maternal care is very low. According to
1999/2000 Liberia Safe motherhood needs assessment 11 percent of pregnant
women deliver in health institutions under the care of skilled health workers? This
leaves a significant number of births taking place outside health facilities and often
without assistance of trained health personnel. As a consequence of this,
complication of pregnancy and childbirth, malaria and other diseases are the
leading causes of death and delivery of women.



4.5 Inadequate Sporting and Recreation

The sport sector in Liberia continues to suffer from inadequate funding and poor
facilities. Hence, the country is missing out on the opportunity to use sport as a
means of reconciliation and peace building. Clubs and organizations are unable to
support either those wanting to take up sport as a recreational pastime or those
who would like to engage in it professionally. As a result, the frequency of
organized sporting events has remained low and the country currently struggles to
develop the potential of its talented young athletes. All sporting areas must be
included such as; swimming, basketball, table tennis, track and field, horse shoe,
badminton, long tennis, kickball, soccer, golf, volleyball, etc .

          7
              MOHSW Surveillance System
                                                                                         25
                          National Youth Policy for Liberia



4.6 Environmental Degradation

The degradation of the natural environment through harmful practices such as
improper waste management, uncontrolled mining and deforestation places a
question mark over the sustainability of Liberia‟s current process of development.
In the absence of greater efforts at preserving the environment, future generations
will be increasingly faced by threats such as soil erosion, pollution of freshwater
resources, and the disappearance of indigenous fauna and flora.

4.7 Cultural and identity crisis

Liberia‟s cultural heritage has been severely undermined by the country‟s recent
violent conflict. Due to the widespread upheaval, many traditional forms of creative
expression were suppressed while cultural values and norms weakened. Today,
as they try to assimilate foreign conventions and attitudes as part of their country‟s
modernization process, many Liberian youth are at risk of suffering an identity
crisis. The question of an official indigenous language, national identity card for
every citizen to be issued by local government institution, etc should be reviewed
for concrete action leading towards the establishment of a national indigenous
language and revitalized national identification scheme.

This threat is amplified by the shortcomings of the Liberian educational system
(which until now has emphasized the country‟s historical links with the West at the
expense of its African genealogy) as well as the absence of funding for cultural
and artistic pursuits. As a result, the country‟s youth face significant challenges to
rediscover their national heritage and preserve it for future generations.

The question of a national identity became a major crisis during the recent
electoral process in the country. National government must be exploring the
possibilities of revitalizing the National Identification Card Scheme in Liberia. This
process should be decentralized throughout the country involving local
government system. The national identity card that will be given to every Liberian
must be respected by public and private institutions.


4.8 Poor Information, Communication and Technology

Liberia has fallen far behind even among other developing countries in terms of
access to telecommunication and information technology. In particular, the scarcity
of internet services leaves most Liberian youth unable to benefit from this highly
effective communication and research tool. Although this backlog is now being
redressed with the rapid introduction of mobile telephony and the proliferation of
newspapers and radio stations throughout the country, this has not necessarily
translated into the provision of accurate and up-to-date information relevant to
young people. Information campaigns on topics such as HIV/AIDS, drug abuse,

                                                                                         26
                           National Youth Policy for Liberia
unemployment, education, poverty reduction and other problems affecting the
youth have generally not received adequate attention and coverage in the media.

4.9 Disillusionment & Disempowerment

Young people frequently feel that they are confronted by a paradox - trying to
become integrated into the existing social order, yet at the same time acting as
agents of change for a better tomorrow. As they aspire to become fully involved in
the life of their society, they must be encouraged to participate in the processes of
governance and decision-making. Failing that, young people may become
frustrated to the point of engaging in violence against the established order. Some
of the youth who fought in Liberia‟s civil war did so out a desire to upset the rigidly
hierarchical structures of traditional rural society.

Yet while the youth today constitute over 50% of Liberia‟s population, they hold
very little influence over the country‟s political and economic life. This exclusion
can be attributed to established social attitudes and customs, as well as significant
economic barriers. There is currently also a lack of effective structures for
empowering the youth with most youth organizations suffering from a shortage of
financial and technical resources.

4.10 Displacement, Insecurity and Crime

Young people make up a significant proportion of those involved in criminality in
Liberia today. While the civil conflict cannot be blamed for all of the ills of Liberian
society, it has contributed to this state of affairs in three important ways.

Firstly, the war gave rise to a segment of the population for whom violence and
looting became a way of life. Secondly, it deprived young people of the positive
influence of role models such as parents or community leaders leading to the
erosion of moral and family values. Thirdly, the war led to the collapse of the
criminal and justice systems resulting in impunity for those engaging in delinquent
behavior such as theft, rape and drug abuse. In addition to this, the situation of
cross boarder conflict and security especially in the southeastern, northern and
western Liberian region (Liberia & Ivory Coast; Liberia & Guinea-Conakry; and
Liberia & Sierra Leone needs to be reviewed periodically.


Chapter Five:
Strategic Areas of Intervention


5.1 Rationale for Selection

As indicated in the previous chapter, the issues affecting the youth of Liberia are
many and diverse. All the issues outlined warrant urgent attention and
intervention. However, given human and resource constraints, it would be difficult
                                                                                           27
                          National Youth Policy for Liberia


to tackle all these issues simultaneously and effectively. There is therefore a need
to be strategic and prioritize the major issues.
Many of the issues arise out of three underlying causal factors, which must be
addressed a priori in order for Liberian youth to effectively and actively undertake
their role and responsibility in the reconstruction and nation building process.
These priority areas are education and training; employment; and health. The lack
of education, high levels of unemployment and inadequate health services have
contributed directly to problems such as juvenile drug abuse and crime and abuse
of the youth in various forms.

There are also crosscutting issues which need to be considered across all the
areas, in particular the issue of gender. The exclusion of girls from active
participation in the development process has negatively impacted on development
of the youth as a whole. Youth with disabilities have also been marginalized, also
to the detriment of all youth. Liberia will only progress if all her human resources
are developed and this includes men and women; the able and the disabled. As a
post war nation, Liberia has a particular challenge in addressing the needs of ex-
combatant youth. Issues of juvenile crime and drug abuse which has come about
as a direct consequence of the war and the proliferation of drugs, alcohol and
arms and the breakdown of the supporting social structure also need to be
prioritized.

These areas have been identified as priority action areas. Through strategic
intervention in these identified areas there will be direct and indirect impact across
all youth related issues. These priority action areas relate to the Millennium
Development Goals, which represent a basic action plan for communities, youth
and individuals to take charge of their own lives and circumstances, to make their
society better. Focusing on health, education, employment equality, and
environment; the MDGs represent an overarching framework through which youth
can achieve their goals.


5.2 Strategic Areas of Intervention

5.2.1 Education & Training

 The illiteracy rate in Liberia is a staggering 63%, with 73% of women being
illiterate, compared to 50% of men. There is also rural-urban disparity with
approximately only 25% of rural dwellers that can read and write, compared to
61% of urban dwellers (LDHS, 2000).




The high levels of literacy in Liberia are due to several factors, among them:


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                               National Youth Policy for Liberia


a)                Access - most Liberians, particularly those in the rural areas, lack
     access to educational facilities.


b)                Affordability – many youth have missed out on basic primary
     education because parents cannot afford to send their children to school. This has
     an added gender dimension because in families that do not have the money to
     send their children to school, education of the male child is prioritized at the
     expense of the girl child.

c)               Quality of education – many educational facilities are understaffed
   and poorly equipped. In order to develop leaders capable of competing on the
   world stage, urgent action needs to be taken to ensure that educational facilities at
   the primary and secondary level are well staffed and equipped.
d)               Poor education opportunities for people with disabilities

     These factors have been compounded by the long years of conflict and the
     disruption this caused to the school system, as well as the large number of ex-
     combatants who lost out on an education due to the years of active service in
     various militias. Liberia now has the distinction of being one of the only countries in
     the world where the older generation is more educated that the youth. The lack of
     education among youth has contributed to high unemployment among the youth
     as they lack the requisite skills and knowledge to enter the workforce or create
     employment opportunities for themselves. Urgent action is required in this area to
     reverse the declining rate of literacy in the country and to develop the capacity of
     the youth as an important national human resource to contribute towards
     sustainable national development

     Action needs to be taken to deal with these underlying constraints. The policy
     makes the following recommendation;

              There should be compulsory and free primary education for all
              There should be a feeding program for children in all primary schools
  throughout the country.
              Government to move towards the provision of free quality secondary
  education
              Educational and vocational institution should be decentralized to give
  equal access and opportunities to every young citizen of Liberia:


-    There should be at least 3 well-equipped public junior and senior high school in
     each county.
-    One University College/department in each county or cluster of counties.
-    Incentive schemes to encourage private colleges and polytechnics to relocate out
     of capitol into the counties


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                              National Youth Policy for Liberia

-   Each county should have a public library to facilitate access to information by all
    and encourage the culture of reading in Liberia
-   Each public library should be equipped with a mobile library to ensure every village
    has access to the resources of the public library.
-   A program of book reading clubs be formed through the library and public schools
    to increase reading opportunities
-   Inter-school competition in the areas of music, quizzing, sports, etc to develop the
    latent talents of students.
-   Civic education should be emphasized in all schools lifting up the importance of
    the Flag, National Anthem, Pledge of allegiance, Patriotic songs (Lone Star
    Forever, etc), Constitution, Universal declaration of Human Rights, Respect for the
    elderly/aging, women and children.

 All public and private schools should be well equipped with libraries and
   laboratories
 A National Language should be taught in schools at all levels in Liberia and
   KPELLE is recommended.
 In all our educational and training institutions, there must be a greater emphasis on
   information sharing and communication technology. The use of the local
   vernaculars will be an added advantage.



 There should be adult education programs, including night schools to cater for older
   students especially for ex-combatants and young mothers

 Revitalize teachers training colleges and organize refresher courses to train
   teachers in new methodologies of teaching.

                 - Adequate remuneration for teachers particularly in rural areas.

-   Payment to be decentralized to county/district level;
-   Benefits such as housing to be provided for the teachers

-   The quest for quality education must be equal to attractive quality remuneration for
    trained and qualified teachers.

                 - Monitoring of school to be decentralized to county levels through
    county educational boards with representation from Ministry of Education, county
    administration, teachers, parents and youth.

                 - Learning facilities provided for the disabled

-   Special schools provided and equipped for disabled (blind, mute etc) within in
    each cluster of counties;
-   All public and private institutions of learning should have learning facilities for the
    disabled
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                                 National Youth Policy for Liberia


 -    Braille libraries for the blind in each post secondary institutions
 -    Access for children and youth with disabilities in all schools

                   - Leadership Development Program for Youth.

- Leadership Courses to be mandatory in all-tertiary educational institutes.
- Leadership qualities and skills to be taught at junior and senior high level
- Training teachers on leadership training to facilitate integration of leadership
     development programs in the curriculum

                   - And that government revises the school academic calendar to its
      original March to December schedule/system to accommodate the return of
      students to rural areas to assist their parents/guardians during the
      farming/agricultural seasons and for other cultural festivities. It will allow students
      to enjoy their summer months with families and friends. This will not be possible
      with the current September to June school system.


      5.2.2 Unemployment and Underemployment (ECONOMIC SECTOR)

      Unemployment in Liberia is estimated at approximately 85% of the labor force.
      Reasons for this include the following:

     a) Contraction of the economy due to the conflict and insecurity in the country
     b) Lack of skilled and trained individuals to fill highly technical and skilled posts
     c) Culture of entrepreneurship is lacking among many Liberians, especially the
       youth

      With the cessation of hostilities, international investors have begun to come back
      into the country. But while Liberia was mired in conflict over the past 15 years,
      great strides in technology have been made. The Liberian labor-force needs to
      catch up with these advances. The policy makes the following recommendation:

  There should be a national Entrepreneurial Development Programme with a
   special focus on the youth. Among other key action points related to this are:

 -    There should entrepreneurial training projects for youth, especially young women,
      teaching basic skills on how to start and mange a business
 -    There should be projects to ensure access to micro-credit for youth, especially
      females.
 -    Regulations of the banking system should be encouraged to open branches
      throughout the capital to facilitate capital formation throughout the country.
 -
      Development of a program linking vocational and technical training programs and
      projects to job training. Actions could include:


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                             National Youth Policy for Liberia

-   Viable internship program for youth to be developed with private sector to expose
    youth to on the job training
-   National Youth Service Corp scheme be developed to ensure that youth
    graduating from secondary schools and colleges get hands on experience through
    jobs in the various counties/regions. This gives them the opportunity to share their
    knowledge and skills with different communities. This program has the twin benefit
    of job experience and cross-cultural exposure.
-   Apprenticeship program for the youth for vocational and technical jobs. These
    programs should be tied to literacy programs to ensure that the youth who benefit
    from the program also come out with basic literacy skills as well as job experience.
-   Government agencies, businesses, and institutions provide regular vacation jobs
    to youth during their vacation period

 Employment for the Disabled. Here action is required along the following fronts:

-   All public buildings and workplaces should facilitate access for the disabled
-   Absorption of youth with disabilities into workforce through the identification of
    specific post/occupations that can be occupied by disabled. For example the mute
    can type and be typists and data entry clerks. These should be linked to training
    programs for the disabled, for example, Don Bosco initiated a successful project to
    train the mute.
-   Welfare centers be built for young people who are differently able so as to provide
    for them and take them off the streets. Existing centers should be revitalized and
    others be built throughout Liberia.

 Companies and corporations operating in areas for the purpose of exploiting
  natural resources should remit a percentage of their income through the
  government to the community for the development of the human resources among
  the youth population.
 Qualified Liberian nationals should be given preference for all job placements.
  Only in the instance where no qualified Liberian can be found should a foreign
  national be employed, and this with the provision that a Liberian be trained to take
  over that post within a specified period of time.
 Need for an affirmative action program for women to become more active in the
  workplace especially in traditionally male dominated field and senior management
  posts.
 There is a need for the development of an industrial development program, which
  would create linkages between the primary production sectors and develop
  industrial capacity and create job.
 Calls for the full implementation of the Liberianization policy in the new Liberia.
 Essential goods and services should not be monopolized by any one
  individual/company because it will directly or indirectly affect the growth and
  development of young people negatively. Therefore, National Government should
  look into this matter seriously so that many persons or companies can be involved
  in the importing and selling of these essential commodities/goods.
 Labor Laws to be revised to include the following:


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                              National Youth Policy for Liberia



-   Ninety percent of all jobs within any company or organization should be reserved
    for Liberians who have the requisite qualification or credentials.
-   Enactment of minimum wage, which is periodically reviewed to reflect cost of
    living.
-   Review of labor laws to ensure minimum working conditions and conditions of
    service. These laws should be enforcement through regular monitoring
-

-   Government should ensure adequate policy framework for the creation of jobs,
    through a robust legal system, which ensures the protection of property.


    5.2.3 Health

    Health is a major issue among the youth. The civil conflict has to large extent
    greatly reversed the gradual progress the country was making in health care. The
    current level of poverty, unemployment, and declining situation of the health sector
    has all contributed to the country‟s current ill-health situation. Access to adequate
    health is limited by bad and deteriorating health care facilities and the exodus of
    qualifies doctors from the country due to the war. The disruption in the Liberian
    economy occasioned by the war also compounded the problems of the country‟s
    health sector in the context of health care financing. The national budget for health
    declined considerably accounting for 6.1% of the total national budget. Total health
    budget as a proportion of GDP fell significant below the WHO stipulated minimum
    of 5%. The current expenditure level is less then US$1.00 per capita which is
    unacceptable.

    We therefore submit the following policies for prompt action;

 Access to adequate health care, along the following lines:

-   That health centers be staffed by qualified personnel who are adequately trained
    and paid salaries commensurate with their qualification.
-   Health facilities should be decentralized through out the country, with at least on
    hospital in each county and one health post in each district.
-   That youth must be encouraged to pursue studies in the medical field.
-   Surgical and piercing instruments be sterilized throughout to prevent the
    transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections);

 Health Education –

-   HIV/AIDS awareness program be carried out in every county at every level
    through peer education. Youth should be trained as peer educators in health and
    sex, and in how to support behavior change among their peers.
-   That health and sex education could be integrated into the academic curriculum.

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                             National Youth Policy for Liberia

-   That adolescent health and sex education be incorporated in all media information
    programs;




    5.2.4 Youth and Conflict

    A Liberian youth aged 30 and below has grown up in a period of conflict. From the
    rice riots of 1979 to the coup of 1980, the 1985 Quinwonkpa failed coup attempt
    and the series of civil wars from 1989 to 2003 has produced a nation of youth
    scarred by the ravages of conflict and war. Young people have suffered the
    brutalities of this war as well as in some cases being principal instigators of the
    conflict. It is imperative that this cycle of violence be broken.



    The policy recommends the following:

                  That Liberian youth throughout the length and breadth of the
    country deny the use of violence as a means of solving conflict or effecting
    change.

                    Civic education and responsibilities of the youth toward nation
    building be taught in the schools from primary to secondary levels.

                     Reformation of the justice system to ensure that individual and
    group liberties are not abused or denied by the executive branch or agents of the
    executive branch.

                    Reform of the governance structure of Liberia to foster
  democracy and citizen participation in development process through such
  mechanism as decentralization.
                    Collective responsibility of the family and community in guiding
  the youth. Parents should have primary responsibility toward their children
  reinforced by community and church/mosque/traditional value system. Parents,
  who neglect their children thus causing them to be delinquent, should be
  persecuted under the juvenile law of Liberia.
                    Reconciliation, dialogue, healing, conflict management/prevention
  and psychosocial counseling programs should be developed across the Country
  for young people.
                    There should be a process of organizing peace building or peace
  sustaining networks in various local communities geared towards genuine peace,
  unity, stability, security and reconciliation. These networks or clubs should be
  involved in various community activities (such as agriculture, health, road
  construction, construction of schools, clinics, etc) leading to growth and
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                              National Youth Policy for Liberia

    sustainable development. There must be need assessment in those communities
    before deciding on which activity they will be involved in together utilizing the gifts
    and energies of young people.
                      Inter and Intra-generational violence issues involving youths and
    adults should be looked into with emphasis on holding adults who influenced
    young people responsible for the violence. These adults should be investigated or
    charged with crimes against humanity.
                      Young people should advocate and campaign against the
    proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Liberia, West Africa, Africa and the
    World
                      The challenge of youth to youth relations (in and out of school
    youth; tribal, ethnic and gender groups, etc) should be handled with care and
    those who are trained professional in those areas should worked along with these
    young people for positive contribution to the community and society.
                      The youth to elder relations challenge is another major area of
    concern for young people. There will be a need for the relationship between young
    people and the elderly to be improved. Young people should know that respect for
    elderly (fathers and mothers) is the beginning of their contribution and civic
    responsibility to society at large.

    5.2.5 Juvenile Drug abuse and Crime

    As a direct consequence of the war and lack of educational and employment
    opportunities for the youth, many youth find themselves idle with very little to
    occupy their time and minds. Having just come out of a war in which drugs, alcohol
    and weapons were readily available without restraint juvenile drug abuse and
    crime has become major problems. This needs urgent and special attention to
    ensure that we do not lose energy and promise of an entire generation of young
    people who have been scared by war and conflict.

    This policy therefore proposes the following:

 Reform of the judicial and legal system, including:

-   Strengthened capacity of drug enforcement agency with more resources and
    trained manpower
-   Creation of a juvenile unit within the Liberian National Police to deal with juvenile
    crime. Juveniles are considered to be youth under the age of 18. .
-   Training of LNP in child and youth protection.

-   That the criminal justice system be restructured to accommodate competent
    lawyers and justices who will maintain and protect the credibility of the justice
    system;
-   That juvenile courts be established throughout the country to handle juvenile
    cases within juvenile correction centers;
-   That community-based diversion programs for juveniles found guilty of petty
    crimes be established to support rehabilitation.
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                              National Youth Policy for Liberia


-   That government and youth serving institutions provide benefits and incentives to
    lawyers and justices so as to curtail malpractices within the criminal justices
    system;
-    That the recruitment of police officers be based on individual within the age
    bracket 18-35 years, physically fit, having no criminal record, with good social and
    moral conduct and be at least a high school graduate;
-   For juveniles found guilty of capital offenses, detention facilities must be separate
    from those of adults. Existing prisons and correctional centers be improved and
    equipped rehabilitation facilities, and skills training programs and other needed
    materials provided so as to transform the lives of prisoners during detention;

 Strengthening of social service, covering a broad spectrum of areas including:

-   Establishment of rehabilitation centers and program for addicts and juvenile
    delinquents
-   Awareness programs in schools and media about the dangers of drugs and a life
    of crime.
-   Community based programs to teach youth about their civic responsibilities and
    responsible behavior
-   Program of Peer educators/counselors to reach out to youth affected by drug
    abuse and crime
-   Department of social work be revitalized, staffed and funded to work with youth on
    the streets and those engaged in drugs and crime.
-   Psycho-social counseling programs for youth affected by the war
-   That parents who neglect their children, or force them into exploitative practices
    such as labor or sex work should be persecuted under the juvenile law of Liberia.
-   The re-institution of discipline and good behavior among young people in society
    in the context of:
    * instituting curfew period for young people up to the age of 18 years when they
    can be seen in the streets at night;
    * establish limit for young people to purchase tobacco, cigarettes, liquor, etc;
    * Age limit for young people to enter video clubs, night clubs, cinemas (a
    suggested age limit could be 18 or 21);
    * re-establish and strengthen the movie censorship board to ensure that proper
    rated movies are shown in video clubs and cinemas, etc.

 Creation of Recreational facilities, including:

-   Developing sports facilities and programs as means of engaging youth in activities
    to occupy their mind.
-   Encouraging the development of recreational facilities for the youth. Create parks
    and other nature facilities for the youth and adults to enjoy.


    5.2.5 Exploitation (Sexual Exploitation and Child Labour)


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                             National Youth Policy for Liberia


   Due to the high illiteracy rates and high unemployment in the country, many youth
   are forced to succumb to demeaning and low wage forms of labor, including
   sexual exploitation. These practices force children to work under dangerous and
   life threatening conditions for very little wages. This policy therefore calls for the
   following:

 - Rehabilitation Centers to provide care, counseling and support for women
  recovering from GBV, prostitution and teenage pregnancy
 - Educational programs and trade training for sexual workers.
 - Support to sex workers, including counseling and access to micro-credit.
   Enactment of preventive sanctions for sexual offenders. Sexual offenders unit
  within the national police force that is sensitive to deal with such issues. More
  women on the police force to deal with gender related crimes, special social work
  training for such police officers.
 - Further strengthening of the Women and Children Protection Section of the LNP,
  with sections established at all police stations in Liberia.
 - Enactment of minimum wage, which is periodically reviewed to reflect cost of
  living.
 - Review of labor laws to ensure minimum working conditions and conditions of
  service. Enforcement and monitoring of labor laws.
 - Awareness through media and community social workers on child labor and
  rights of children to childhood (taking culture norms into consideration)
 - The issue of child trafficking, sexual abuse and harassment should be reviewed.

   5.2.6 Gender Equity and Women Empowerment

   The social-culture of Liberia has created a male dominated society, thereby
   discriminating against the female. Women are forced into early marriage with older
   men. Others succumb to teenage pregnancy and prostitution due to lack of
   opportunities for women. Many women are also victims of gender-based violence
   from their partners. Women form the majority of the population in Liberia. Liberia
   cannot and will not progress without the active participation of this segment of the
   population. Bias and discrimination against women has to be reversed, and this
   has to start with youth.

   To reverse this situation, the following policies should be promulgated for prompt
   action:

 - That there be total abolition of traditional practices which affect the female youth
  (e.g. force marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM);
 - That all youth male and female support the Inheritance Bill as passed by Law
  that rape in what so ever form against young female is considered a capital crime
  and its penalty be determined by the laws of the land.
 - That persons engaged in battering sexual abuse of children, and partners are
  considered as a crime and such violators be prosecuted.
 - Educational and training programs for teenage mothers

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                             National Youth Policy for Liberia


 - There should be Role model programs to encourage girls to strive to achieve
  their potential
 - Recognition at national level of the important role of women and assigning of a
  monetary value to their role
 - Awareness on need for girls to go to school and creating an equal playing field
  through equal allocation of house work in the home.


   5.2.7 Youth and Leadership

   Civil instabilities are perpetuated by and through young people which is a sign of
   protest for their exclusion in the decision making process and policies of
   governance which affect them. The youth must begin to get involved in and
   contribute to the nation building process. In order to adequately address this
   situation the below listed actions are proposed for implementation:

 - That youth leadership programs be introduced in the educational system at all
  levels (e. g. vocational training institutions, secondary level, and college and
  university levels);
 - That youth leadership programs be introduced at levels including internships, on-
  the-job training etc.
 - That a mentoring program be instated for young professionals to introduce them
  to the practical world of work.
 - That positions in government and other agencies responsible for international
  scholarships are headed by competent persons, among them youth
  representatives;
 - That thirty percent (30%) representation in government at all levels is occupied
  by qualified youth representatives through the electoral or appointive process.

 - That youth be represented within the national legislature based on three
  geographic regional arrangement, (e.g. western, Central and Eastern regions)
 - That professional youth in different area of specialties and skills are given equal
  opportunity to occupied positions for which they are competent in both the private
  and public sectors just as other adults.
 - That government provide scholarships to deserving youth who have graduated
  from vocational, secondary, and collage levels;
 - That an enabling environment for continuous partnership, peace, security and
  solidarity be fostered between and among young people in Liberia and their
  colleagues in the Mano-River Union (MRU), ECOWAS, African Union (AU),
  European Union (EU), and the United Nations
 - The empowerment and decentralization of the Federation of the Liberian Youth
  (FLY) must be of highest priority in the growth and development of young people.
  This will enable FLY to respond to the current realities of youth development and
  transformation in Liberia. The following actions will assist in the process:
-                           Capacity building for local, county, regional and national
  leaders and coordinators in addition to staff at the secretariat;

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                              National Youth Policy for Liberia


-                              Reintroduction of the identification cards scheme to be
     operated by FLY for all youth and students in primary and secondary schools plus
     other young people who are out of school;
-                              Use of rural based community radios for sensitization of
     communities, spot messages and jingles on the National Youth Policy document;
-                              Revitalizing the Liberia National Student Union (LINSU) to
     include students from secondary and tertiary institutions;
-                              FLY structures to be reviewed so as to correspond to the
     current realities of youth groups in counties, regions and throughout the country


     5.2.8 Youth and the MDGs

     The Millennium Development Goals set out 8 specific development goals and
     targets to be achieved by national government and their partners in a set
     timeframe. By 2015 all United Nations Member States have pledged to:
1.    Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2.    Achieve universal primary education
3.    Promote gender equality and empower women
4.    Reduce Child mortality
5.    Improve maternal health
6.    Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7.    Ensure environmental sustainability
8.    Develop a global partnership for development

       All eight goals target and affect the youths‟ well being directly as well as the
     country‟s ability to sustain development improvements in the future. The youth are,
     therefore, not only beneficiaries of improved human well being, but should also be
     recognized as principal actors in enabling Liberia to achieve the MDGs. This
     principle is consistent with the UN Secretary-General‟s Reform Agenda, which
     recognizes young people as society‟s best chance of meeting the Millennium
     Development Goals.

  The policy recommends action along the following lines:
 - That massive advocacy and awareness program about the MDG be carried out
  amongst the youth to encourage young people to participate and implement the
  objectives of the millennium goals;
 - Selected youth from each county and district be trained in MDG awareness
  raising to become MDG champions within their communities



     Chapter Six:
     Partnerships and Coordination Arrangements



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                          National Youth Policy for Liberia




6.1 A Stakeholder Role Analysis

In order to effectively implement the National Youth Policy and its Plan of Action, a
variety of diversified partners, youth groups and other youth serving agencies must
be involved in the process to make the policy a reality. Stakeholders include, the
Ministry of Youth & Sports, other Ministries and FLY, which have statutory
responsibilities to take lead in the implementation process to achieve the goals
and objectives specified in the National Youth Policy and the Plan of Action. Other
stakeholders should include development partners, NGOS, CBOs county
authorities, the private sector, the media as well as experts in thematic areas.

6.1.1 The Role of the Government

If unemployment, underemployment, hunger and poverty are to be minimized, the
Government and institutions responsible for employment must include young
people in their National Recovery Plan. The Government will be expected to
adopt an integrated approach and create synergy between programs for youth.
Programs and policies must be part of a conceptual framework and Government
must foster regular meetings for information exchange and coordination with the
key stakeholders on a national and regional level. An effective information system
with a focus on youth should be set up with improved monitoring, reporting and
analysis of youth-focused programmes to better identify and address gaps for
intervention.


Job creation for youth must be an integral part of all macroeconomic and sectoral
policies. In turn, economic policies should be examined from a youth
empowerment perpective. National Planning frameworks should spell out the
agenda for young people, and the Government should prepare national reviews
and action plans on youth with the advice of social partners and other key
stakeholders including youth organisations. These should explicitly address youth
priorities in national economic and social policy preparation, implementation and
evaluation.

Good governance is not only conducive to economic wealth and declines in
absolute poverty but also serves as a preventive mechanism against the rising
number of alienated youth. Clear structures for youth participation in policy
formation and programme design, in particular the PRSPs must be set up. In this
regard, the Youth Employment Network (YEN), created under the impetus of the
Millennium Declaration to develop and implement strategies that give young
people a real chance to find decent and productive work, provides an important
vehicle. In addition, the YEN has outlined roadmaps for governments to formulate
and prioritise policies aimed at creating youth employment. Governments have
further committed themselves through UN General Assembly Resolutions to

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                                        National Youth Policy for Liberia
      develop and implement National Action Plans for Youth Employment and to
      involve youth in the process.8

      Equal opportunities for men and women should be mainstreamed into all public
      policies, especially in education, training and employment. Governments should
      pass and implement legislation mandating equal pay for work of equal or
      comparable value, enforce sexual harassment policies, support young women‟s
      efforts to organize their workplaces and ensure adequate protection against
      exploitation in the workplace.


      There is one largely underutilized area of job creation which is particularly relevant
      for countries recovering from or threatened by conflict, including investment in the
      types of basic infrastructure required to jump start the stalled economy

      and to benefit the poorest groups. These can be implemented using cost-effective
      and high-quality labour-based methods. Agricultural feeder roads, reforestation,
      slum upgrading schemes, drainage and irrigation works, anti-erosion works, small
      dams, local schools and community health centres are specific interventions which
      can help re-build Liberia and at the same time create the new jobs required to
      ensure durable peace. Training for small-scale labour-based contractors combined
      with procurement procedures which do not discriminate against these enterprises
      can double or triple the employment impact of infrastructure investments without
      compromising quality, cost-effectiveness or implementation schedules.

      6.1.2 The Role of the Private Sector

      Small and Medium Enterprises are the main potential employers of young people.
      This sector should be boosted by an enabling environment for business and
      investment, assisting businesses to sustain and grow and by increasing access to
      micro-finance. Private businesses and socially responsible enterprises should be
      encouraged to support young entrepreneurs. Mentorship or coaching programmes
      should be implemented to allow large firms to play an important role in supporting
      young entrepreneurs.

      Private-public partnerships can help make educational and training programmes
      more relevant to the market. They can also explore options for raising capital and
      delivering services. Forums, events, programs, and conferences could bring
      together leading representatives of the industrial sector, academia, and regulating
      bodies for this purpose. University faculty could conduct field visits to benchmark
      industries to learn more about their operations and priorities and vice versa.
      Employers‟ and workers‟ representatives can play a constructive role in fostering
      partnership and cooperative network relationships between industry and schools,
      colleges and training institutions.


8
 See United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/57/165 (December 2002) on Promoting Youth Employment and United
Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/58/133 (January 2004) on Policies and programmes involving youth.
                                                                                                                        41
                          National Youth Policy for Liberia


Small youth enterprises should be assisted to cooperate with each other and with
other enterprises and third-sector institutions like universities, specialized sectoral
institutions and others in order to enable them to become more competitive with
large enterprises. They can cooperate and reduce costs by sharing some more
expensive investments as well as experiences and knowledge.

6.1.3 Role of Donors

Development partners will be expected to marshal resources and provide technical
assistance in support of the policy. The needs and aspirations of young people
should be defined in the donor frameworks such as the GEMAP with resources
and other forms of technical assistance to youth-focused programmes clearly
articulated. In addition, donors should help to distil global experience and best
practice and bring it to bear upon the youth of Liberia.

6.1.4 The Role of Youth Organizations

Civil society organizations also have a key role to play in implementing the NYP.
They should help in creating opportunities, processes, and forums for education
and training policies and programmes, especially for low-income youth. The United
Nations resolution on promoting youth employment calls for Member States to
involve youth groups in the development of action plans on youth empowerment
through employment.

Youth organizations can also endow youth with some core professional skills like
management or communications. Since the internet is easily accessible in Liberia,
alternative modes of communication should be explored, including radio
broadcasts, theatre, newspapers or pamphlets. If provided with adequate
equipment and professional trainers, youth radio can give a fairly large number of
young people a voice and information, stimulate interethnic dialogue, and give
youth an idea of life beyond violence.




6.2 Coordination Mechanisms

The MYS will be responsible for co-ordination of all partnership activities revolving
around the implementation of the NYP. This will involve the convening of all
meetings for review and evaluation of programmes and projects emanating from
the Action Plan. This will involve the establishment of relevant sub-committees to
oversee sectional activities. Besides the sectional committees, a Financial
Committee (FC) will be put in place to ensure the adherence to the budgets of all
programmes and projects. This Committee will comprise members from the MYS,
FLY, donors and other key partners.


                                                                                          42
                         National Youth Policy for Liberia

All key committees or sub-committees should include representatives from the
youth (besides representation from FLY). With the exception of the National Youth
Policy Implementation Committee (NYPIC), the size of the committees or sub-
committees should not exceed ten (10) members, though this number may be
revised by a full session of the National Youth Policy Implementation Committee
(NYPIC), should clear justification for that course of action exist. Youth
representation in all committees and sub-committees is predicated on the fact that
the youth know exactly what their problems are and will obviously have ideas on
approaches for resolving these problems. This will ensure relevance of actions to
youth needs. It will also be prudent to sound youth opinion before key decisions or
actions are taken. The principle behind the consultations will be to maintain
ownership and sustainability.




Chapter Seven:
Review, Monitoring and Evaluation Arrangements




7.1 The M&E Framework

The Liberian National Youth Policy (NYP) defines the issues affecting the youth
that should be addressed. As with any other client-targeted program, the NYP will
need to be appraised on a regular basis. This will involve the use of standard
management techniques which are interactive and mutually supportive, through an
                                                                                      43
                           National Youth Policy for Liberia

evaluation and monitoring process which will gauge progress made in addressing
these issues. Additionally, it will set targets for this purpose. It is worth noting that
the issues addressed in the National Youth Policy will tackle problems that have
been “boxing-in” Liberia‟s youth on a daily basis. At the same time, it raises issues
that the government will need to address in a concerted manner. While the
problems are closely tied to the targets contained in the UN Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), they also happen to be ones that need urgent
attention.

The review, monitoring and evaluation process will seek to measure progress or
its absence, track project/program resources and monitor implementation to
ensure transparency and accountability. It will also set out the roadmap that will
define coordination mechanisms among the different parties involved in the
implementation of the National Youth Policy. The NYP‟s primary objective of
empowering the youth of Liberia will be achieved if all key stakeholders, including
the youth, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS), the Federation of Liberia Youth
(FLY), youth-serving agencies, government ministries (Education, Planning,
Gender, etc) local and international partners (UN, INGOs – AAL-I, YMCA/YWCA,
WVI, etc) - collaborate with the government of the day to push forward the youth
agenda.

It is essential that the NYP is supported, especially in its implementation and
evaluation. Also, the monitoring, coordination and the expansion of partnership
programs will ensure more inclusion and participation of diverse partners, thus
guaranteeing ownership and mainstreaming youth issues in the national
development agenda. The achievement of key objectives through joint action will
guarantee the NYP‟s success as a tool for change. The government will be able to
know what new issues it will need to address or which old ones it should refocus
on during the first and subsequent NYP revision cycles. The NYP will be revised
every two years.

7.2 Membership of the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee

The evaluation of the National Youth Policy and its associated programs and
Action Plan will be undertaken by stakeholders chosen from key government
ministries, youth and youth-serving agencies and organizations. The Ministry of
Youth and Sports (MYS) and the

Federation of Liberia Youth (FLY) will be co-conveners. The MYS will establish a
secretariat in its headquarters to be chaired by a person who is a Deputy Minister
(or equivalent) in the Ministry to be designated by the Minister, with the FLY
providing the Co-Chair. The Chairperson will convene the meetings to which key
stakeholders will be invited. The requirement for inclusion in this committee, to be
known as the “Monitoring and Evaluation Committee”, will be a track record of
service to the youth and/or youth causes and advocacy. All efforts will have to be
made to ensure that politics or political considerations are discouraged from the
operations of this committee. The representatives from the youth-serving
                                                                                            44
                              National Youth Policy for Liberia

     ministries and agencies will constitute the membership of the Monitoring and
     Evaluation Committee, and will be expected to meet regularly throughout the year.
     While the monitoring function will be an on-going process, the committee will put in
     place plans for the evaluation of each specific program at least six (6) months
     before the expiry of the program/project period.


     The MYS will be responsible for sensitization and raising support for the evaluation
     and monitoring exercise. The Ministry will also co-ordinate the development of
     measurement tools by the stakeholders, in addition to setting the benchmarks that
     will be used for that purpose. The data collection tools to be used for gauging the
     implementation of the NYP and the Action

     Plan will be determined by the Evaluation and Monitoring Committee. Finally, the
     results of the evaluation will be disseminated through the Office of the Minister of
     Youth and Sports.

     7.3 The Evaluation and Monitoring Process

     The evaluation and monitoring process will consider progress made in
     mainstreaming youth issues in the national development agenda. It will also
     measure the achievement of measurable benchmarks as indicated below. The
     issues to be considered in the evaluation will take into account the following
     parameters:

i.   Benchmarks and indices will be developed by the stakeholders to measure
     progress for each problem or issue identified by the policy document and the youth
     as the case may be.
ii. The evaluation of the objectives within the Policy and Action Plan documents will
     be done every two years.
iii. Monitoring will be an on-going process.
iv. The measurement of progress or lack thereof will include but not be limited to the
     following issues/areas:

a. Number of out-of-school youth who would have joined technical or vocational
   training institutions during the period under scrutiny;
b. Number of illiterate youth who will have joined adult literacy classes across the
   country;
c. Level of awareness on HIV/AIDS among rural and urban youth, and whether this
   knowledge is reflected in any change in sexual behavior;
d. Reduction in unemployment among the youth, i.e., percentage of youth placed in
   short-term and long-term employment through government initiated or co-
   coordinated projects and programs;
e. Number of youth attending high school as a proportion of youth across the
   country;
f. Number and types of institutions developed by government to cater for youth with
   special needs such as hearing, physical, sight and other types of impairment;
                                                                                            45
                              National Youth Policy for Liberia


g. Number and types of institutions developed by government to cater for out-of-
   school youth;
h. Number and types of facilities (such as stadium, recreation facilities, halls, etc)
   developed by government within the evaluation period;
i. Number and kinds/types of legislation passed by Parliament to empower diverse
   categories of youth, e.g., legislation to discourage cultural practices that hinder the
   progress of the girl-child;
j. Number and kinds of legislation passed by Parliament to address issues of access
   to education;
k. Number and kind/types of legislation passed by Parliament to address youth
   unemployment or increase employment opportunities among the youth;
l. Number and kind/types of legislation passed by Parliament to ensure youth are
   given preference in employment, i.e., affirmative action;
m. Number and kind/types of legislation passed by Parliament to address the needs
   of youth with diverse forms of impairment,
n. Number of legislation passed by the legislative assembly to ensure the inclusion of
   youth in decision-making capacities or address issues of discrimination against
   youth involvement in decision-making at national and community levels;
o. Number of legislation passed to cater for youth-specific health needs;
p. Number of legislation passed to deal with drug abuse and related problems;
q. number of legislation set up to deal with psycho-social problems among the youth;
r. legislation passed by Parliament to protect the girl-child from rape, sexual abuse
   and exploitation;
s. And finally, the number of counseling centers set up by government to deal with
   disturbed youth.


   The monitoring process will be a continuous exercise that will provide to the
   stakeholders indications of progress and/or their lack thereof in the achievement of
   program or project objectives. Monitoring will be carried out by sectional
   committees or any other committees as may be designated by the Evaluation and
   Monitoring Committee. Regular reports are an integral part of the monitoring
   function. In this case regular reports will be submitted by the sectional committees
   to the Evaluation and Monitoring Committee.

   To ensure a smooth and immediate response to issues raised in the reports, the
   reporting must be presented in a systematic and timely manner. The reports so
   submitted will inform remedial action by the National Youth Policy Implementation
   Committee (NYPIC), with the information gathered forming the basis for decision-
   making by different levels of management within the Ministry and the Government
   of Liberia. The NYPIC will be chaired by the presiding Minister in the MYS, and will
   have membership from the FLY, youth, other government ministries dealing with
   youth issues (health, education, gender, planning and economic affairs), donors
   and partners.



                                                                                             46
                               National Youth Policy for Liberia


7.4 The Monitoring and Evaluation Cycle

This will involve the development of relevant tools, following the monitoring and
evaluation cycle as represented below:



                                                       Preparation,
                                                       Pre-testing and
                  Revision and                         Approval     of
                  implementatio                        Evaluation and
                  n of Evaluation                      Monitoring
                  Results                              Tools




      Appraisal/                                                    Compilation of
     Evaluation of                                                   Evaluation
     data vis a vis                                                    Data
      Action Plan




                                     Analysis of
                                     Data from
                                     Evaluation
                                     Exercise




7.4 Coordination and Partnership Mechanisms

The MYS will be responsible for co-ordination of all partnership activities revolving
around the implementation of the NYP. This will involve the convening of all
meetings for review and evaluation of programs and projects emanating from the
Action Plan. This will involve the establishment of relevant sub-committees to
oversee sectional activities. Besides the sectional committees, a Financial
Committee (FC) will be put in place to ensure the adherence to the budgets of all
programs and projects. This Committee will comprise members from the MYS,
FLY, donors and other key partners.

                                                                                        47
                                National Youth Policy for Liberia




All key committees or sub-committees should include representatives from the
youth (besides representation from FLY). With the exception of the National Youth
Policy Implementation Committee (NYPIC), the size of the committees or sub-
committees should not exceed ten (10) members, though this number may be
revised by a full session of the National Youth Policy Implementation Committee
(NYPIC), should clear justification for that course of action exist. Youth
representation in all committees and sub-committees is predicated on the fact that
the youth know exactly what their problems are and will obviously have ideas on
approaches for resolving these problems. This will ensure relevance of actions to
youth needs. It will also be prudent to sound youth opinion before key decisions or
actions are taken. The principle behind the consultations will be to ensure
ownership and sustainability.

7.5 Structure of the Committees



                                National Youth Policy Implementation Committee
                                     – Chair: Minister of Youth and Sports



 Finance Committee –Chair – Deputy        Evaluation and Monitoring         Other Committee as deemed necessary
   Minister Financial Committee -         Committee – Chair: Deputy
                                                   Minister


             Sectional                             Sectional Committee
                                                         Sectional
            Committee                             Committee




                                                                                                             48
National Youth Policy for Liberia




                                    49
             National Youth Policy for Liberia




               THE APPENDIX

1.The National Youth Policy Action Plan
2. The „Kakata‟ Declaration




                                                 50
                                            A National Youth Policy Framework for Liberia




                 THE „KAKATA‟ DECLARATION




AN OUTCOME STATEMENT OF THE YOUTH OF LIBERIA FOLLOWING THE
   CONCLUSION OF THE NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY CONFERENCE,
  BOOKER WASHINGTON INSTITUTE, KAKATA CITY, MAGIBI COUNTY
                     21-26 AUGUST 2005




                       AUGUST 2005




                                                                         December, 2005
                   National Youth Policy for Liberia


                       THE „KAKATA‟ DECLARATION

WE, THE DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL YOUTH CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE,
COMPRISING OF A CROSS-SECTION OF YOUNG PEOPLE FROM THE POLITICAL
SUB-DIVISIONS OF LIBERIA, HIGHER INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING, NATIONAL
YOUTH GROUPS, THE FEDERATION OF LIBERIAN YOUTH (FLY), AND OBSERVERS,
MEETING IN THE CITY OF KAKATA, MARGIBI COUNTY, REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA
HEREBY AFFIRM AND ACKNOWLEDGE OUR COMMON PURPOSE AND COMMON
GOAL TO CRAFT THIS SACRED DOCUMENT KNOWN AND STYLED AS THE KAKATA
DECLARATION; AND,

GIVING DUE RECOGNITION TO THE INTERNATIONAL CALL BY THE GENERAL
ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS, CALLING ON ALL MEMBER STATES OF THE
WORLD TO FORMULATE ACTION PLANS FOR THE YOUTH, AND ADOPTING ON
DECEMBER 12, 1997 A GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION CALLING ON ALL
MEMBER COUNTRIES TO INVOLVE YOUTH AND YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS IN ALL
MATTERS WHICH AFFECT THEM, CONSISTENT WITH THE EARLIER RESOLUTION OF
DECEMBER 14, 1995; AND,

ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE ROAD TO KAKATA HAS BEEN A LONG AND DIFFICULT
ONE; CONSIDERING THE UNCOORDINATED NATURE OF YOUTH-FOCUSED
PROGRAMMES, THE MULTIPLICITY OF YOUTH GROUPS FROM DIFFERENT
SECTIONS OF THE COUNTRY; TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE EFFORTS OF
THE MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORTS AND THE FEDERATION OF LIBERIAN
YOUTH (FLY), AND PARTNERS TO BRING COHERENCE AND STRUCTURE TO YOUTH
ISSUES CONGREGATED LIBERIAN YOUTH TO DISCUSS ISSUES AND PROBLEMS
AFFECTING THEIR WELL-BEING AS CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA.

RECOGNIZING, THE MORAL AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT GIVEN BY OF OUR
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS SUCH AS, UNDP, UNMIL, UNICEF, ACTION AID-LIBERIA,
YMCA, ETC., MADE POSSIBLE THIS CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE FOR THE
FORMULATION OF A NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY FOR LIBERIA.

GIVEN THAT WE ARE GRATEFUL AND APPRECIATIVE TO THE NATIONAL
TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA, THROUGH THE MINISTRIES OF


YOUTH AND SPORTS, JUSTICE, LABOUR, EDUCATION AND GENDER FOR THEIR
MORAL SUPPORT AND IN ACKNOWLEDGING OUR INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS‟
ROLE IN GENERATING BACKGROUND AND BASELINE INFORMATION REGARDING
THE VARIOUS YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR ACTIVITIES IN LIBERIA
SUBSEQUENTLY LEADING TO FOUR REGIONAL CONSULTATIVE MEETINGS THAT
COLLECTED AND COLLATED THE VIEWS OF YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE ISSUES AND
PROBLEMS THAT AFFECT THEM, AND SUBJECTING THESE TO A NATIONAL
CONFERENCE HERE AT KAKATA CITY.

WE COMMIT OURSELVES:




       2
                       National Youth Policy for Liberia
    AS CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA, MAKING UP OF THE LARGEST
    CONSTITUENCY OF THE POPULATION, WE COMMIT TO:

              CONDEMN AND DENOUNCE VIOLENCE AND INSTEAD, PROMOTE
    PEACE AND NATIONAL RECONCILIATION, USING DIALOGUE TO ADVOCATE FOR
    CHANGE;

               BUILD A CULTURE OF PEACE AND UNITY, JUSTICE, SECURITY BY
    UPHOLDING THE RULE OF LAW AND USING INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES SUCH AS
    SPORTS TO PROMOTE RECONCILIATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT;

                 PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY AT ALL LEVELS OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE
    NEW LIBERIA, ADVOCATING FOR TOLERANCE, CO-EXISTENCE AND PUTTING
    LIBERIA FIRST BEFORE SELF;

               ENGAGE ACTIVELY IN COMMUNITY REHABILITATION AND
    RECOVERY, BRINGING OUR YOUTHFUL ENERGIES AND SKILLS TO BEAR ON
    NATIONAL RECOVERY AND RECONSTRUCTION EFFORTS;

               PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY IN SHAPING THE DESTINY OF OUR
    COUNTRY BY ENGAGING IN ALL AFFAIRS OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, OFFERING
    OURSELVES AS ABLE AND WILLING STAKEHOLDERS AND STAKEHOLDERS;



              PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF ALL -
    WOMEN AND MEN, GIRLS AND BOYS AS A BASIS FOR EQUITABLE NATIONAL
    DEVELOPMENT;

    AS A CORNERSTONE OF THE POLICY DOCUMENT WE ARE GREATLY CONCERNED
    ABOUT THE:

               IMBALANCES AND BIASES AFFECTING GENDER EQUITY AND
    STRENGTHEN THE RIGHTS OF THE LIBERIAN FEMALE YOUTH;

                INADEQUATE    EDUCATIONAL     OPPORTUNITIES    AND PAST
    APPROACHES TO YOUTH EDUCATION, GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT WHICH HAVE
    HAD A NEGATIVE IMPACT TO THE ASPIRATION OF THE LIBERIAN YOUTH;

                FACTORS AND INFLUENCES AFFECTING          THE   EDUCATION,
    CULTURAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG PEOPLE;

                LACK OF OPPORTUNITIES VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR YOUNG
    PEOPLE TO DEVELOP SKILLS AND APTITUDES URGENTLY NEEDED FOR NATIONAL
    RECOVERY AND RECONSTRUCTION




           3
                      National Youth Policy for Liberia
               CONTINUED CONDITIONS OF EXTREME POVERTY AND
    HUNGER AFFECTING YOUNG PEOPLE AND DENYING THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO
    GROW DEVELOP;

               BREAKDOWN IN RULE OF LAW AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
    LEAVING YOUNG PEOPLE VULNERABLE AS BOTH PERPETRATORS AND VICTIMS;

               HIGH LEVELS OF UNEMPLOYMENT DENYING YOUNG PEOPLE THE
    CHANCE TO EXPAND THEIR CHOICE FOR DESIRED LIVELIHOODS;

                THE HIGH LEVELS OF ADOLESCENT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
    PROBLEMS, JUVENILE DELIQUENCY AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND DRUGS, WHICH
    IS DESTROYING THE YOUTH POPULATION.



    WHEREAS, THE STATE, CONTINUES INSENSITIVITY TO THE NEEDS OF THE
    DISABLED, IN AREAS OF SPECIALIZED EDUCATION, IN MINISTRIES FOR THE
    DISABLED, JOB OPPORTUNITIES, PROVISION OF SPECIAL SECTIONS OR
    FACILITIES TO ACCOMMODATE THE DISABLED, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, AND
    RAM FOR ALL PUBLIC BUILDINGS, ETC.;

    COGNIZANT, OF THE FACT THAT CATHARINE MILLS REHABILITATION CENTER,
    BOYS‟ TOWN HOME, BENSONVILLE YOUTH AGRICULTURE CENTER, CONTINUE TO
    REMAIN CLOSED AND FORGOTTEN BY, GIVING RISE TO NUMEROUS SOCIAL ILLS,
    CRIME AND FOOD INSUFFICIENCY;

    RECOGNIZING OUR ROLE IN POLITICS ESPECIALLY IN THE GENERAL AND
    PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, PROMOTING CIVIC EDUCATION, CASTING OUR VOTES
    AND ACCEPTING THE RESULTS;

    BEING AWARE THAT GOOD GOVERNANCE IS THE BENCHMARK FOR ACHIEVING
    THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGs) AND THAT THE YOUTH ARE
    INVOLVED IN THE DECISION-MAKING AND MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC RESOURCES.
    THEY SHALL PARTICIPATE, AND SHALL BE TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE
    WHILE FIGHTING CORRUPTION AND PROMOTING SOUND ECONOMIC
    MANAGEMENT AS THE BASIS FOR ACHIEVING THE MDGs.

    WHILE, REGRETTING THE SITUATION IN WHICH MOST YOUTH INCLUDING,
    PROFESSIONALS AND STUDENTS FAILED TO SEEK ACCURATE INFORMATION BUT
    RATHER RELY ON RUMORS;

    KNOWING THAT YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE BEEN NEGLECTED AND EXCUSED FROM
    THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS, THUS AFFECTING THEIR EDUCATIONAL,
    CULTURAL, AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT; AFFIRMING THE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT
    AND UNDEREMPLOYMENT RATE AMONG THE YOUTH THUS

    DEPRIVING THEM OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMPLOYMENT, WE ENVISAGE A MORE
    POSITIVE AND PARTICIPATORY ROLE OF YOUNG PEOPLE TOWARDS THE FUTURE;



           4
                       National Youth Policy for Liberia
    AFFIRMING THAT CONFLICT, WAR AND THE SECURITY OF THE REPUBLIC
    ARE A MAJOR FOCUS OR CONCERN WHICH DEMANDS ATTENTION;


    DECRYING JUVENILE DELINQUENCY, DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE, TEENAGE
    PREGNANCY AND THE WEAKNESS OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND
    HUMAN RIGHT ABUSE WHICH ARE IMPEDIMENTS TO          GROWTH AND
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE YOUTH.

    BEING AWARE THAT, HEALTH ISSUES SUCH AS STI‟S, HIV/AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS,
    MALARIA AND OTHER TROPICAL DISEASES, LIMITED HEALTH CARE FACILITIES,
    SHORTAGE OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL IN RURAL AREAS, LACK OF REPRODUCTIVE
    HEALTH SERVICES AND UNTRAINED MEDICAL PERSONNEL THREATENS THE VERY
    EXISTENCE OF THE YOUTH POPULATION.

    AND THAT GENDER EQUITY AND THE RIGHT OF THE FEMALE YOUTH IS A PRIME
    FOCUS. IMBALANCES AND BIASES AFFECTING THE FEMALE YOUTH SUCH AS
    EARLY MARRIAGE, FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM), SEXUAL HARASSMENT
    ON THE JOB, SEXUAL EXPLOITATION, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, RAPE, CHILD ABUSE,
    PROPERTY DEPRIVATION, REMAIN THE PREVALENT FACTORS THAT IMPEDE THE
    DEVELOPMENT OF THE FEMALE YOUTH;

    WHEREAS, FORMAL EDUCATION IN LIBERIA HAS SHOWN NO INDICATION OF
    LIBERIAN CULTURE AND IDENTITY INSOMUCH AS IT REFLECTS NO MANDATE TO
    ALLOW EDUCATORS TO TEACH LOCAL LANGUAGE(S);

    INFORMED BY THE BACKGROUND THAT YOUNG PEOPLE REMAIN MARGINALIZED
    IN GOVERNANCE AND THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS IN LIBERIA AT ALL LEVELS
    OF THE STATE; IT IS RESOLVED THAT:

                    QUALITY EDUCATION AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES SHOULD
    BE MADE AVAILABLE TO ALL YOUTH IRRESPECTIVE OF SEX, ETHNICITY,
    DISABILITY, RELIGIOUS OR HISTORICAL BACKGROUND;

                 EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES SHOULD BE
    MADE AVAILABLE BY ALL LIBERIAN STAKEHOLDERS TO QUALIFIED YOUNG
    PEOPLE;




                  THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM SHALL BE STRENGTHENED
    WITH QUALIFIED JUDGES, LAWYERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO
    PROTECT THE INTEREST OF THE LIBERIAN YOUTH;



                  HEALTH FACILITIES WITH REQUISITE QUALIFIED STAFF SHALL
    BE HIRED EQUITABLY ACROSS LIBERIA TO MEET THE HEALTH NEEDS OF EVERY
    LIBERIAN;


           5
                      National Youth Policy for Liberia


                  THE  YOUTH    OF  LIBERIA   SHALL   SUPPORT    EQUAL
    OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FEMALE YOUTH AND THE RIGHT TO INHERITANCE FOR
    ALL;

                  THE YOUTH SHALL COMPRISE A MINIMUM OF THIRTY PERCENT
    (30%) OF REPRESENTATION IN GOVERNMENT AT ALL LEVELS;

                  ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATIONS AGAINST THE DISABLED
    SHALL BE ABOLISHED AND GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES AND AGENCIES, PUBLIC
    AND PRIVATE INSTITUTION INCLUDE A PATH-WAY OR STAIR-CASE LIFT FOR THE
    CRIPPLE AND BLIND INTO THEIR MINISTRIES; AND THAT EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
    FOR EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE DISABLE
    COMMUNITIES;

                 THE YOUTH SHALL PARTICIPATE IN THE POLITICS OF THE
    REPUBLIC AT ALL LEVELS AND TO ENGAGE IN NON-VIOLENCE CAMPAIGN,
    ESPECIALLY DURING THE FORTH-COMING GENERAL AND PRESIDENTIAL
    ELECTIONS IN OCTOBER 11, 2005, CARRYING OUT CIVIC EDUCATION TO THE
    YOUTH COMMUNITY, TO VOTE WISELY AND PROMISING TO ACCEPT THE RESULTS
    THAT SHALL COME OUT OF FREE AND FAIR DEMOCRATIC ELECTION;

                  NATIONAL GOVERNMENT SHALL UPHOLD AND ACTIVATE UP-TO-
    DATE NATIONAL YOUTH POLICY AND ALSO SUPPORT AND FACILITATE YOUNG
    PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE THE MDG‟S AT ALL LEVELS;



                   MEDIA AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SHALL BE MADE
    AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES WITH NO HINDRANCE WHATSOEVER, ATTACHED; HENCE,
    WE ENCOURAGE ALL YOUTHS THROUGHOUT LIBERIA TO READ WIDELY
    INCLUDING THE NEWSPAPERS, LISTEN TO RADIOS AND WATCH TELEVISION SO AS
    TO GRADUATE FROM THE CULTURE OF RUMORS AND DECEPTION;

                 A SENSE OF NATIONAL IDENTITY BE FOSTERED BY THE
    INTRODUCTION AND TEACHING OF A COMMON LANGUAGE, AND KPELLE IS
    RECOMMENDED

                  THAT WE REAFFIRM THE STATUTORY MANDATE OF THE
    FEDERATION OF LIBERIAN YOUTH (FLY);

                A MINIMUM WAGE STANDARD BE DERIVED BY NATIONAL
    GOVERNMENT THAT WILL COVER BOTH THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS;

    WE INVITE ALL OF YOU: OUR GOVERNMENT, STAKEHOLDERS, PARTNERS,
    FRIENDS, PARENTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS; TO ACCOMPANY US ON THIS
    JOURNEY     OF    RESTORATION,     RECONSTRUCTION,    RECONCILIATION,
    REHABILITATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE NEW LIBERIA.

    AFFIRMATION


           6
                               National Youth Policy for Liberia


     WE, THE DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL YOUTH CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE
     HEREBY AFFIRM AND ACKNOWLEDGE OUR COMMON PURPOSE AND COMMON
     GOAL AS ARTICULATED IN THIS SACRED DOCUMENT.


     IN WITNESS WHEREOF:
     We have made, subscribed and filed this instrument this 27th of August A. D. 2005.



     LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

                         NATIONAL YOUTH CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE


     MONTSERRADO COUNTY - FLY DELEGATES

1.                     Augustine S. Tamba……………..FLY
2.                     Semah Johns………………….OCLY/FLY
3.                     Lorpu Kandor……………….YWCA/FLY
4.                     Aaron Weah…………………FLY
5.                     Sardia Kamara………………..GGAL/FLY
6.                     Kwame Ross……………….LYPAD/FLY
7.                     Ernestine Bakana………………GYC/FLY
8.                     Patience Senkpeni……………MRU/FLY


     OTHER DELEGATES

     1.   Rev. S. M. Muin - …Inter-Religious Council
     2.   Ma-Sainet Kaba - …..Inter-Religious Council
     3.   Francis S. Borlay- ….Lead, Inc.
     4.   Foulton Karpeh -…..Yarna Boys Association
     5.   Sylvester Sherman- …CAB
     6.   Edward K. Carr - ……CAB

     ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS

     1.   Kojoe Ross…………………………UL
     2.   Malayah T. Chieyoe……………UL
     3.   Rev. Joseph S. Kwiwalazu……………UMU
     4.   Aunt-Ophelia Nmah………..UMU (Observer)

     5. Princess C. Knuckles…………….UMU
     6. Prince D. Kreplah……………….AMEZU
     7. Linda Matadi……………………AMEZU
     8. D. Siaffa Dennis Morris……………AMEU
     9. Momo T. Duke Fahnbulleh…….Cuttington
     10. P. Yekeh Johnson………..Don Bosco


                7
                          National Youth Policy for Liberia
     11. Kanio Bellah……………Don Bosco


     MONTSERRADO DELEGATES

1.                Tetee Tugbeh
2.                Michael B. Wah, Jr
3.                Florence Karnweaye
4.                Napoleon Zoegar
5.                Benedict Nyae
6.                Hawa Porte



       OBSERVERS

1.                John Kofi
2.                Aloysius Smith
3.                Cephas Williams
4.                Kanio Bai Gbala, Jr.
5.                Jallah Kpator

     MARYLAND COUNTY

1.                Antoinette K. Geweh
2.                Julia Hardy
3.                Daniel D. Browne
4.                Massa Lombea
5.                J. Sundezoe Bedell


     GRAND CAPE MOUNT COUNTY

1.                Musu T. S. Ville
2.                Skirk Sonii
3.                Olando A. Sherman
4.                Fatu Sheriff
5.                Kullah Massaley
6.                Boima Kaitamba




     GBARPOLU COUNTY

1.                Adolphus K. Zayzay
2.                Alice M. Zinnah
3.                Adama Peabody
4.                Rachel Gweh


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                               National Youth Policy for Liberia
5.                     Juety A. Davis

     BOMI COUNTY

1.                     Maima K. Morris
2.                     Bendu Konneh
3.                     J. Baitermeayea Hilton, III
4.                     Rose Dongbo
5.                     Gorden S. Karpeh
6.                     Mohammeh Massaley


     OBSERVERS
1.                   Makasa Massaley
2.                   Beyan Korvah


     GRAND KRU COUNTY OBSERVERS

     1.   Fredrick M. Togba
     2.   Joseph S. Swen
     3.   Felicia Togba
     4.   Comfort Gaye
     5.   T-Girl Koteah
     6.   Samuel Toe

     RIVER GEE COUNTY

     1.   Mantee S. Winn
     2.   Jaty Wah
     3.   Stanley Harrison
     4.   Paul S. T. Brooky
     5.   Eliza Wreh
     6.   Regina Toe

     SINOE COUNTY

     1.   Ezekiel K. Jah
     2.   Patrick Karmo
     3.   Arominta Nagbe
     4.   Jamesetta Klogba
     5.   Jacqualine Klogba
     6.   Jerry K. Simpson

     NIMBA COUNTY
     1. Yei Paye
     2. Emmanuel R. N. Flomo

     3. Joseph Kollie, Jr.
     4. Koo Wehyee


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                                National Youth Policy for Liberia
     5. Ophelia Dahn
     6. Bobby Kimen

     OBSERVERS

     1. G. Alvin Gono
     2. Darius S. Tokpah
     3. Obeto K. Gonlar

     RIVERCESS COUNTY

     1.   Getrude Marthis
     2.   Carie N. Beinweh
     3.   Nelson N. Jallah
     4.   Rose Lloyd
     5.   J. Togar Seekpee
     6.   Garlo Roberts

     OBSERVERS

     1. Evan B. Somah

     GRAND BASSA COUNTY

     1.   Mark B. Thompson
     2.   Thomas A. Johnson
     3.   Vita W. Kwarbo
     4.   Mercy W. Davis
     5.   Samuel W. Cooper
     6.   Comfort M. Tukpah

     BONG COUNTY

     1.   Trobel Garsinii
     2.   Loretta D. Robinson
     3.   Daniel F. Weetol
     4.   James Y. B. Howard

     5. Mai K. Mulbah
     6. Victoria Cole




     MARGIBI COUNTY

1.                   Wallace Karduah
2.                   Thomas S. Weah
3.                   Ruth Merphy Kordor
4.                   Hawa Lincoln


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                                       National Youth Policy for Liberia


     OBSERVERS

      1. Beatrice Barlee


     GRAND GEDEH COUNTY

1.                        Obie Woods
2.                        Garley Marh
3.                        Teta Mowon
4.                        Prince N. Azango
5.                        Zoe George
6.                        Thelmon Gay

     LOFA COUNTY

     1.   Boakai Kamara
     2.   Esther Bolay
     3.   Rebecca Fagiah
     4.   Jallah Corvah
     5.   Peninnah Kollie
     6.   Abrahim M. Dukuly

     MINISTRY OF YOUTH & SPORTS AND FLY STAFF

     1. Mr. George G. Wisner ........................................ FLY
     2. Charles H.V. Allen.............................................. FLY
     3. Richard J. Scott, Jr............................................. FLY
     4. Samuel Quimorlue ............................................. FLY
     5. Patience Heah ................................................... FLY
     6. Patrick K. Doe…………………………FLY
     7. Langley Kialan ................................................... FLY
     8. Alfred C. Kargbo, Jr ........................................... FLY
     9. Othello S. Smith ................................................. FLY
     10. C. Eric Nyante ................................................... FLY
     11. Jabbah D. Boler, II ............................................ FLY
     12. Jarlawah Tanpo ............................................... FLY
     13. H. Madia Peters ................................................ FLY
     14. Pindarous W. T. Allison……………FLY

     16. Robert S. Tamba……MYS (Secretariat)
     17. Samuel Y. Mulbah………….MYS (Lodging)

     18. Henry V. Freeman…………MYS (Program)
     19. Sam Loboe…………….MYS (Public Affairs)
     20. Marilyn Z. Gaye……………MYS (Finance)
     21. George Mbayo………….MYS (Secretariat)
     22. George D. Johnson……….MYS (Secretariat)
     23. Caesar Padmore……………MYS (Observer)


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                                  National Youth Policy for Liberia
24. Urias G. Dixon…………MYS (observer)

25. Cephas Williams………………….MOI

26. Hon. Jeremiah Witherspoon……..MYS (Chairperson, Technical Working Group)

SUMMARY OF PARTICIPANT LISTINGS

 Montserrado County Delegates ............................. 6
 Montserrado County Observers ............................. 5
 FLY Delegates ....................................................... 8
Other Institutions/Organization ............................... 6
Academic Institutions Delegates ............................. 10
Academic Institutions Observers ............................ 1
Maryland County Delegates .................................... 5
Grand Cape mount Delegates ................................ 6
Gbarpolu County Delegates.................................... 5
Bomi County Delegates .......................................... 6
Bomi County Observers .......................................... 2
Grand Kru County Delegates .................................. 0
Grand Kru County Observers ................................. 6
River Gee County Delegates .................................. 6
Sinoe County Delegates ......................................... 6
Nimba County Delegates ........................................ 6
Nimba County Observers........................................ 3
Rivercess County Delegates................................... 6
Rivercess County Observers .................................. 1
Grand Bassa County Delegates ............................. 6
Bong County Delegates .......................................... 6
Margibi County Delegates....................................... 4
Margibi County Observers ...................................... 1
Grand Gedeh County Delegates ............................. 6
Lofa County Delegates ........................................... 6

Total Participants ................................................. 123




SIGNED: __________________________________
        Mr. George G. Wisner
        PRESIDENT
      FEDERATION OF LIBERIA YOUTH




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                       National Youth Policy for Liberia




ATTESTED: __________________________________
Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Jr.
CONSULTANT, NYCC

____________________
Mr. Robert W. Draper
CONSULTANT, NYCC


APPROVED: ______________________
          Hon. Wheatonia Dixon Barnes
          MINISTER OF YOUTH AND
           SPORTS




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