In a country dependent on foreign food supplies, a graduate of the YALI RLC has embarked on nurturing agricultural skills in teenage youth in the Firestone Concession in Liberia.
Sakwayee H. Henry, a 2017 Alumnus of the Young African Leaders Initiative RLC Accra who is the founder of Kids Development Initiative recruited 30 children, ages 10-15, for mentorship through ground nut farming. She left the Young African Leadership Initiative training in Accra in 2017 and moved into youth mentorship in 2018 as an innovative response to instilling the thought of farming in young Liberians.
Saykwayee said, the high risk of food insecurity coupled with the poor state of the country’s economy, farming presents a recovery opportunity for Liberian communities. “One of the ways for long-range food security is to engage in developing the minds of youth in Agriculture”, Sakwayee told YALI TV Liberia correspondent. She finds that needed since the young people are considered potential future leaders of the country.
Not only is Saykwayee a youth mentor, she is also an active member of the Youth Advisory Group on Education in Liberia (YAGE), a six member team responsible for advocating for educational budget increase and quality education in the country.
Her training program entails soil types, cash crops among other practical agricultural tips. Agricultural knowledge is relevant for young people within the Firestone vicinity, since Firestone Rubber Plantation is an agricultural investment attracted to professional agriculturists.
Additionally, Saykayee and team are also involved in mentoring young people into best leadership practices and life tips capable of growing them into responsible adults whose dignity and esteem remain high in the community when they shall have grown up into adults.
Saykayee and team have so far planted groundnuts, cassava and cabbage as initiate farming products expected for harvest soon. It is expected that she may use some of these products to feed the mentees and sell some to the community for program sustainability.
To these young people,Saykwayee serves as source of motivation, inspiration and leadership. Equally so, Saykwayee herself sees these young people as the reason for which she lives. “They are also my motivation giving the zest they bring to learn”, Saykwayee is quoted as saying.
Firestone Rubber Plantation established in 1926 is the world’s largest rubber plantation in Liberia considered as one of the poorest nations deprived development by civil war, outbreaks of diseases and corruption. Its population is less than 5 million, far below the population of Ghana’s Capital, Accra.
Musu W. Davis
YALI TV- Liberia Correspondent