Youth Action International’s priority economic empowerment program are as follows:
Agriculture Initiatives: Agriculture initiatives will be the largest focus of YAI’s work starting in 2018. This comes from several studies that show that the best option for Liberia and Liberians to break out of poverty is to invest heavily in education and agriculture. Over the years the organization has implemented successful sustainable agriculture initiatives in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
YAI’s agriculture initiatives will not only provide a source of income for the beneficiaries but will also become a source of long term sustainable income for the organization. Key partners for the agriculture initiatives are Greener Diamond and Caspian. YAI’s agriculture initiatives will be implanted in two parts:
- Medium scale agriculture pods: is a unique way to provide all the seeds, tools, and technology a community needs to grow a robust 5-hecare acre farm. The pod comes fully equipped with everything the community needs for a successful farm.
- A large-scale mass production greenhouse: This new horticulture project will supply premium grade vegetables to the Liberian market by cultivation in a 3.5-hectare poly greenhouse. The vegetables produced in the poly greenhouse are Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Eggplants, Lettuce and a variety of herbs. The poly greenhouse equipped with a hydroponic system allows for year-round cultivation, increases yields significantly and saves water by approximately 80% in comparison to open field cultivation. Currently, the Liberian market relies on import for products of this quality and continuous supply. Next to the poly-greenhouse, a 4.0-hectare net-house is going to be built. This relatively low form of investment allows for off-season cultivation of local vegetables (Hot Peppers, Bitter Ball, Okra & Kittley).
The Center for Women’s Empowerment: With support from the Burt Family Foundation, and the Greener Diamond, Youth Action International has operated its Center for Womens’ in Liberia and Sierra Leone since 2010. The centers have provided a wide range of vocational training courses including tailoring, cosmetology, bead making, and pastry. In 2018, the Center is expanding its programs and will provide trainings, mentorship and micro-loans to help young women grow their businesses. Priority will be given to enhancing the businesses of women who graduated from the Center in previous years.
Support for youth groups engaged in empowerment: Recognizing that there are several community based youth groups engaged in economic empowerment initiatives, YAI will support the efforts of newly formed, community based health organizations to strengthen their efforts and reach. This program will be launched in early 2018 and is expected to support the work of at least 10 community health initiatives in its first year.