Liberia over the last decades has been a country with good education and brilliant students within Sub-Sahara Africa. During those years the country experienced other African youths, especially youths from the sub-region who at that time saw Liberia as a country with quality education. However, due to the civil war which lasted for fourteen years (14), the youthful population of the country suffered a huge setback, in education, employment, technical skills, and many others.
According to the United Nations, 65 percent of Liberia’s populations of 4.4 million are youths and that the unemployment estimated for youth is as high as 85 percent.
One of the institutions helping to buttress government efforts in providing employment opportunities for young people in Liberia is the Atlantic Vocational Training Institute. (AVTI).
The Atlantic Vocational Training Institute owns and operated by two YALI Fellows Roland S. Kamara (MWF) and Justin B. Jimmy (RLC), was founded in 2018. It is a private, nonprofit technical and vocational training Institute providing comprehensive career-focused education and training to underprivileged youth in socially deprived communities.
In early February of this year, the institution graduated over 67 students in different disciplines.
The graduation ceremony was the first of its kind since the formation of the school in 2018. The program took place at the Marvii Soni auditorium in the Clara Town community affecting students in the various theoretical and practical training areas: Cosmetology, Interior Decoration, Journalism and Plumbing with students from the Nursing Aid department being transfer to the next stage of the program.
Justin B. Jimmy, a 2018 Alumnus of the Young African Leaders Initiative RLC Accra who is the National Coordinator of the school says, the establishment of the school is to buttress government efforts in providing employment opportunities for the young people of Liberia.
He said, unemployment is one of the huge challenges the country has faced over the years and it has become a national emergency.
According to Justin, the Majority of those who are faced with this challenge are young people. As a result, some youth have been engaged in unlawful practices leaving them vulnerable in society.
“The courses offered at the AVTI, will help my fellow youth to be empowered. Because, when they are empowered, street life and other unlawful practices will be less important and that the Liberia we all want shall be seeing through them”. Says Justin in an interview with YALI TV Liberia.
He further listed masonry, carpentry, electricity, pastry, Hostel management, tailoring, Auto Mechanic, and computer software as courses being added to the training and encouraged the public to take advantage of the program.
Also speaking during the graduation ceremony, the Executive Director of the institution, Mr. Roland Kamara a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow expressed high optimism in the IMPAC the project seeks to have on the direct beneficiaries (trainees) and the society at large.
He, however, stressed the important role Technical and Vocational education plays in transitioning youth through relevant skills set for employability and self-reliance and challenged the graduates to see their transition as a springboard for achieving excellence in life.
Roland is also the Secretary-General of the United States Exchange Alumni of Liberia SEAL.
These YALI Fellows are not only contributing to the technical education in Liberia, but They are also helping their various communities in peacebuilding, mentorship, and career coaching programs.
Musu W. Davis
Country Correspondence Coordinator- Liberia