The Young Political Leadership School, a capacity building institution has begun semester three of its program with a call for young people throughout the country to take advantage of the opportunity and get enrolled.
The school is a national institute for transparency election aimed at supporting democracy and increasing young people’s participation in the decision making processes of the country.
Speaking at the start of the five days’ program held at the Monrovia Christian Fellowship on 9th Street, Sinkor Monrovia, the program director of NAYMOTE/YPLS, S. Aaron Weah-Weah noted that young people of Liberia stand for positive change, adding the program will help encourage and enhance their participation in the impending electoral process.
According to Weah-Weah, the program is necessary especially, now that the country is about to experience a transitional period come 2017 general and presidential elections.
He explained that young people constitute 60 percent of Liberia’s population, so it is important to educate them on the issues by creating a platform for them to take total control of the country’s political activities.
He said this is the time for the youth of Liberia to take leadership of the nation, something that requires their political skills and knowledge saying, “This is an initiative to bring onboard youth and students from various universities and colleges across Liberia to make the change the country needs”.
“We want to make sure young people answer questions when they are asked and to take ownership of our democracy. This program provides the opportunity for youth to take on responsibility when the time comes for them to do so; we don’t only want young people who will stand for change and democracy, but rather prepared people”, he further stressed.
Meanwhile, the Ambassador of Sweden to Liberia, Madam Lena Nordstrom has warned youth to stay out of violence, ahead of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
She said it is the responsibility of young people to bring peace and stability to any nation, which she described as cardinal to their future and the country’s future.
Ambassador Nordstrom said the international community is watching Liberia closely to see whether it can govern her own affairs without any act of violence, stressing that it will depend on young people.
She expressed hope that after the five days training, participants of the program will go back to their various communities and apply those skills.
The Swedish envoy said though there are lot of violence and insecurity during electoral period with young people often being victimized, they should not engage in violence. “You are faced with the task of serving your country so take proud”, she added.
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Peace Consolidation and United Nation Resident Coordinator, Yacoub El Hillo said the transformation of Liberia lies in the hands of young political leaders therefore; they should take advantage of the opportunity.
He noted that the program is an important tool that young people can utilize to have a promising future, saying “As a young political leader, the country depends on you to a larger extent.”
DSRSG Hillo emphasized that the program is necessary because it enlightens the minds of young voters and leaders of their role for the successful conduct of the pending elections.
“The success of this political process will determine how responsible you are to resist those things that could undermine the entire process”, he said.
According to him, it is an opportunity to embark on such exercises especially, now that the country is about to go through elections next year.
The DSRSG said young people have a responsibility to make sure peace is sustained, but more knowledge and sensitization on issues of national concerns are required.
He pledged the U.N.’s support to partnering with the young political leadership school to ensure that it is where it ought to be terms of imparting knowledge to the youth.
By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne