YAI is implementing two programs which are focused on providing sustainable incomes for young people in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
AgriCOOLture Initiative: This initiative encourages the active involvement of both rural and urban young people in agriculture as a way to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty. The program provides training in agriculture, marketing, sales, small business development and managing money to participants.
Two groups are beneficiaries:
(a) Young people from the villages and towns where the farm is located who are trained in sustainable agriculture methods and poultry. Upon completion, participants will receive a graduation kit (seeds, chickens, feeds, and a chicken coop) to start their own mini-poultry operation.
(b) Urban youth will be trained in marketing and sales as well as a graduation kit (wheelbarrow or stall, megaphone, uniform, rain coat, booths, supplies of eggs) to start to sell and gain profits from sales of eggs. Through the program the rural youth and urban youth will be linked in a supplier and retailer relationship. The main farm serves as a central hub for all activities.
As participants graduate, they do so with the training and tools to launch their own small business.
Transcend Academy: is YAI’s largest single initiative to date. This program focuses on establishing a modern school, which will run from grades 9 through 12 and will incorporate vocational training into the high school curriculum. The project addresses the issue Liberia currently faces where the country has a high rate of graduates but very few available jobs. Although there are technical jobs available, there is a shortage of qualified and well trained Liberians to fill these posts.
When completed, the technical training high school will enroll 600 students a year from grades nine through twelve. From admittance to graduation and in addition participating in a regular academic curriculum, each student will select and be trained in one of several skills ranging from agriculture, automotive repair, fashion designing, electricity, plumbing, carpentry, masonry, information technology, secretarial science, cosmetology, hospitality & tourism and catering. The success of this program of course depends heavily on support from institutions such as yours. However, once operational, the center becomes 50% self-sustainable immediately and becomes completely self-sustainable within five years of operations. The long-term impact therefore is perpetual.
By combining a regular high school education with technical vocational training ensures that when Liberians graduate, they already have a skill that they can immediately put to work to earn and income, choose to go on to college to acquire more knowledge or do both.
Construction on the campus is expected to begin in early 2022.
The Center for Women Empowerment: The center tackles the problems facing the women in Sierra Leone using a multi-pronged approach through the creation of a Center for Women Empowerment in Freetown (CWE). The center benefits 300 vulnerable women annually from deprived and impoverished slum communities and provides them access to vocational training, counseling, adult literacy and microfinance grants to start a sustainable small business upon graduation. The center promotes the vital role women can play in sustainable development. It is an integral part of a long-term local capacity-building program for young women.
The target beneficiaries of this project include women and girls below thirty years old who have no access to basic information and are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Women who graduate frm the program are able to start and maintain small businesses, which help them become self sustainable. YAI is working towards building a permanent CWE facility in Sierra Leone. More details and updates to follow.