Liberia Early Childhood Initiative (LECI): Youth Action International introduced LECI in 2009 as a result its a one-year needs assessment (2008-2009) that reviewed the existing pre-primary system, post-war family dynamics, community awareness of ECD and expressed concerns of pre-primary teachers and superintendents throughout the greater Monrovia area.
LECI addresses both the immediate and long-term needs of educators, children and their families in regards to early childhood care and education. The popular program focuses on providing training and materials for early childhood development teachers. The trainings and materials help the teachers learn to better manage their classes and provides the tool to make learning fun.
At its peak, the program catered to 75 schools, 400 teachers and 8,000 pupils in Montserrado.
Scholarships: Recognizing the challenges many parents face being able to afford to pay school fees for their children, YAI has maintained an annual scholarship program since its establishment in Liberia. Over 500 recipients have benefited from various scholarships since the start of the program in 2007. Scholarships are provided in the following categories:
- Academic scholarships
- Travel Assistance for study abroad
- Scholarships for Ebola survivors
- Need based scholarships
Becky Primary School: In 2017, Youth Action International and its partners completed construction of a large a multi-purpose school complex which for more than 600 students. In 2018, Youth Action International’s focus for Becky Primary is to fully furnish the school and enrich the curriculum to set it on a trajectory to be one of the best environments for learning in Liberia.
Clean Water Initiative: Youth Action International in collaboration with its partners at Waves4Water have distributed thousands of water filters to communities in rural Liberia. These low-cost filters use advance technology to purify water for families who traditionally get water from streams and other sources of water which may be unsafe for drinking. Waterborne illnesses remain a major cause of sickness and death in many parts of rural Liberia. By distributing the filters and teaching beneficiaries how to use them, prevents hundreds of people from falling sick or dying from water borne diseases.
Emergency healthcare support: Similar to the organizations scholarship initiative, YAI provides emergency hospital support to families who otherwise could not afford the cost of certain emergency health care services. In many instances, families have been turned back from health care centers or have not been able to receive adequate care because they could not afford the costs. The organization’s emergency health care support ensures that families are able to cover the cost of certain emergency and lifesaving procedures.
Support for youth groups engaged in health activities: Recognizing that there are several community based youth groups engaged in health awareness work despite funding shortfalls, YAI supports 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 based health initiatives in its first year.
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. These agriculture initiatives will replace the organizations flagship women’s vocational training centers. Instead of the training center, YAI will place emphasis of training and encouraging women to become engaged in agriculture. 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).
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.