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“Make the Most of T his Opportunity”…DSRSG Tells Agriculture Students

The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Recovery and Governance (DSRSG) and United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) has encouraged students of the Center Songhai Liberia (CSL), to maximize the opportunity that has been provided to them.

Mr. Antonio Vigilante who is also UNDP Resident Representative told the students to take advantage of the agriculture and other training opportunities in making themselves better and productive citizens.

Speaking during a one day visit to the Center recently, Mr. Vigilante told the students to see the private sector, especially the agri-business sector as a critical area to focus their attention in the country’s development.

The DSRSG said the students have been empowered with technical skills that would allow them establish their businesses to be independent and self-sufficient. “The future is in your hands. The future is not in government’s hand…The government can support and provide you the opportunities, like schools, or like this training program, but it’s left with you to make it operate. Make the most of this opportunity,” UNDP Resident Representative said.

Speaking earlier, CSL Programme Director, Christopher Fayia said since its opening in 2009, graduates of the Center continue to make significant impact in small business enterprises and other sectors of the country.

Mr. Fayia said with a land area of 1,500 acres covering at least 28 villages, Center Songhai seeks to transform rural Liberia into becoming competitive in agriculture and other businesses. He praised UNDP for the continuous support to the Center over the years.

CSL Programme Director named the rehabilitation of the first seven structures in which trainings and other administrative functions are being carried out; trainings for farmers at both communities and counties level, the provision of vehicle and tractor among others.

However, Mr. Fayai said despite the support from the UNDP and other partners, the Center is still faced with enormous challenges including funding to ensure sustainability of the training and other programmes for young Liberians.

He said the only UNDP donated vehicle is being over used to convey trainees, staff, take produce to the market and carry out other activities. He appealed to UNDP and other partners to increase their support to the institution which currently has 100 students, to avoid its collapse.

The UNDP Resident Representative has promised to consider the appeal of the Center’s authorities. Center Songhai,located in Bensonville, Montserrado County, is a center for training, production, hands-on activities, research and development of sustainable agricultural practices.

It has a mission to fight poverty by transforming subsistence farmers into active producers by giving the opportunity to acquire vocational/entrepreneurship training. UNDP has worked with thousands of young people as volunteers, active Ebola case finders, community mobilizers, contact tracers, psycho-social offerors, etc in various communities to assist the most vulnerable population.

Realizing the tremendous contribution of these youths in the fight against the EVD crisis, and recognizing that these youth will soon find themselves idle, without an income, UNDP Liberia hired the professional services of Center Songhai Liberia (CSL) to implement skills and entrepreneurship development training project for at least 100 youth (men and women) between the ages 15-24 years.
The objective of this training is to develop these youths to acquire productive skills, including life-skills that might place them in a better position to secure sustainable livelihoods, employment and empowerment.

One hundred and twenty-two (122) applications were received. Following two weeks of orientation and vetting exercises 100 trainees were selected. The center’s operations are divided into three key areas: agricultural and entrepreneurial training; production units and research and development into sustainable agricultural practices.-Press release

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