29th of October is the National Youth Day in Liberia to recognize the immense contributions and sacrifices the youth continue to make in enhancing peace and development in the country.
This year, the day was celebrated under the theme: “Sustaining The Peace to Foster Development and the Achievement of the Pro-Poor Agenda”.
The daylong celebration began with a parade from the 72nd Bolouva Junction and ended at the SKD sports complex, and there were indoor programmes which were organized by the Ministry of Youth and sports and its partners including BRAC Liberia. BRAC Liberia Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) programme members participated at the indoor and outdoor programmes through various activities. Other participants included students, Federation of Liberia Youth (FLY), the Manor River Youth Parliament, Liberia National Student Union, Adolescent Girls Working Group, UN partners, NGOs and INGOs, inter-governmental agencies, members of the National Legislature and Judiciary, and the media.
The event was honored with the presence of President George M. Weah, who served as the keynote speaker during the indoor programmes. He observed that the youth of Liberia, which accounts to almost 65 percent of the country’s population, is the most important natural resource of the country, and he wants to make sure that the youth gets the best education.
With a decade of civil war and the Ebola crisis during 2014-15 in Liberia, the public education system is not able to deliver the quality of education the children require. In rural areas, 65 percent of the youth comprises of around 35 percent of young men aged 15-24, who are not able to read or write, and only 20 percent of children who enroll in grade one go on to completing till grade 12. The President of the country, George M. Weah, stated that “My government is preparing you to take over the country soon, and youth development is the center of the Pro Poor Agenda. I urge you to make use of this opportunity to prepare yourself for the future, and we will spare no effort to surmise any obstacle to achieve this agenda.”