Source: The New Dawn
After 10 weeks of hands-on training in Business and Entrepreneurship Skills and practical simulations, the Youth Crime Watch of Liberia has graduated the 1st Cohort of Trainees from its “Be the Change Academy” in Paynesville City, Liberia.

According to a release issued Tuesday, in November 2013, over 100 young women were recruited from across the length and breathe of Paynesville, especially targeting women facing serious economic challenges.

The release said that among them were young market women, literate and illiterate students, who already have been running some kind of petit businesses for the past 1-3 years, including those who started a business, but failed, as well as those who have a business idea but lack the basic knowledge of how to start or no capital.

The ceremony held at Youth Crime Watch of Liberia’s Young Women Empowerment Center in Paynesville City, was graced by the Norwegian delegate to Liberia, Mrs. TOVE KVIL, and the Assistant Minister for Youth Development, Ministry of Youth & Sports, Mr. Lence Gbagonyon.

Delivering the keynote address, the Country Director for Action Aid Liberia, Mrs. Korto Williams, said her institution has been in the counties for over 10 years, empowering women to make a change in their lives, noting that market research is one of the key focuses of Action Aid, which helps them to understand the situation of target communities and beneficiaries in order to address them.

Mrs. Korto encouraged young women to always do positive things and make positive decisions for their future, adding, “Liberia is not an easy place to live as a woman, but I am proud of you, because now, these skills you have acquired through the Be The Change Academy will help you through the journey; you are all possibly now our clients for our research and other programs targeting young women.”

Also speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Lence Gbagonyon, expressed satisfaction for the program, especially the one for young people and run by young people.

“I hope we can use these examples and these achievements today as key instruments to impacting the lives of many more young women across Liberia; I will be happy to see such program expanding to more communities in the future, mostly rural areas; I am very proud of the Youth Crime Watch and its partners”, he said.

Graduates proudly expressed gratitude to Youth Crime Watch of Liberia, its partner, Peace Child International and the Norwegian government for the initiative.

Speaking on behalf of the Norwegian Government, Mrs. TOVE KVIL explained how enthusiastic she was to see the kind of commitments and energy the trainees have put into the process and the quality of business plans they produced.

“I spent the whole night going through some of your business plans, and I think most of them are very good; I am impressed about your energy and what you have been able to learn through this course; I believe this will have a greater impact in your lives,” she noted.

Mrs Xaviera Coleman of Coca-Cola factory also noted that the company’s 5 x 20 initiative, which targets over 5 million young women by 2020 is a possible area for collaborating with the BTCA Paynesville, that would be more useful for most of the women, who are involved with related businesses, to support their initiatives by providing coolers, umbrella and other coca-cola products.

The “Be the Change Academy” is a Youth-Led Job and Enterprise Creation program runs by Youth Crime Watch of Liberia with funding from the Norwegian Government (NORAD) through Peace Child International (PCI).

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