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Weah commits to empowering At-risk youth

By Kruah Thompson

President George Weah reaffirms his support to ensuring Liberia’s ‘At-risk youth’ are empowered all through his remaining term in office.

President Weah says this is his top priority and his government needs to focus in this direction to strengthen, empower and provide a new hope for wayward youth, who pose a national security threat.

In a proclamation on Thursday, June 30, 2022, at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, the President emphasized that there are certain historical and structural lapses within the government processes that have massively affected these youth, causing them to turn to drugs for mere survival.

Some At Risk Youths at the program Thursday

He says government, through the ministry of youth and sports, has launched a US$13 million National Fund Drive to build a rehabilitation center for ‘At-risk youth’. “This will help transform them into law-abiding citizens”, Mr. Weah says

President Weah: “The continuous neglect of their plight can rapidly develop into significant truants, not only to society but also to national security; this type of ignorant danger continues to grow in silence in scopes of these potentially VALUELABLE human assets.”

He adds that this opportunity will build and improve education and skills of  ‘At-risk youth’ by remembering them to have a reasonable chance to really integrate into the larger society as productive self-sufficient and self-sustained citizens.”

He notes that these obstacles have contributed to increasing ‘At-risk youth’ with their number put at 130,000 throughout the political subdivisions of Liberia.

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He announced an amount of US$ 1 million as the government’s initial contribution to the initiative to buttress efforts of the Steering Committee on the national fund drive.

Earlier, Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah said the country is dealing with Psychosocial and Psychological distress situations, therefore, the intervention is a step in another approach that the government has embarked upon.

As head of the committee set up to probe threats posed by ‘At-risk youth’ to the country, the minister of youth and sports and head of the steering committee D, Zoegar Wilson, presented a PowerPoint slide, detailing implementation strategies of the program.

According to him, the program is in three phases: phase one comprised structural confrontation and rehabilitation, while phase two involves capacity development, vocational skills training program and social identification. Finally, phase three comprises job creation and packages to business support services in line with the government development roadmap, PAPD.

Meanwhile, development partners of the government, including USAID, UNDP, among others contributed to the fund drive for the rehabilitation process of the ‘At-risk youth’ in the country. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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