Story: Emmanuel S. King, Jr.
The Liberia YMCA has held graduation for 450 trainees of the YMCA Computer Training Program. The program was held on Friday, March 1, 2019 at the YMCA National Headquarters in Monrovia.
This year’s graduation was held under the theme: “Youth Empowerment through Technology.”
Minister of Youth & Sports, Honorable D. Zeogar Wilson serving as Keynote Speaker described the occasion is momentous.
“We are keenly aware of how important it is not just to the students who have worked hard to earn your accolades, but also to tour families and relatives”. Minister Wilson said.
Minister Wilson said one of the statutory mandates of the Ministry of Youth & Sports is to enable and empower youth to be useful citizens and most effectively discharge their responsibilities noting that since the establishment of the YMCA 138 years ago, it has been one of the key institutions dedicated to the achievements and objectives of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
“Your mission of empowering young people through self-development and service is noble; the YMCA has been an asset to this country.” Minister Wilson added.
Speaking further, Minister Wilson said the skills acquired by the trainees is an important component that is needed to prepare young people to contribute meaningfully to the developmental process, while at the same time providing the young people with good means of livelihood.
In remarks, the National General Secretary of the Liberia YMCA, E. Timotheus Kamaboakai appreciated the trainees for the hard work.
“I want to appreciate the trainers for what you have put into the program on a daily basis.” Mr. Kamaboakai said. He also commended the trainees for the time they have also given to the training.
Mr. Kamaboakai said the YMCA empowers young people with the attitude and logic to be leaders and change agents and drivers of the African Renaissance. Mr. Kamaboakai said every year; the YMCA tries to modify the program to ensure it is meeting the needs and demands of Liberia’s economy.
He also told the gathering that the YMCA is working to expand the program to Grand Gedeh and Lofa Counties to enable young people have access to the program in addition to the already 6 centers in 4 counties, namely Bong, Margibi, Nimba and Rural Montserrado.
“We are not only making it accessible, but also affordable.”
He hinted that the YMCA also wants to enrich the Computer Training Program to ensure that what young people are being prepared for is meeting the market base for employment.
He also said the YMCA is beginning the process of registering a Junior College in Liberia. “When established, the college will fill in gaps to look at areas that are not offered by the conventional universities in Liberia.” Mr. Kamaboakai said.
The key focus according to Mr. Kamaboakai would be to “direct our focus to programs and activities that can lead to information technology engineering to include Agronomics, Digital Media and Entrepreneurship.
Presenting the graduates, the Coordinator of the YMCA IT Center, Miss Decontee George said since the formation of the Computer Training Program in 2004, a total of 14,000 young men and women have been trained with 53% being male and 43% male.
Miss George said as of the next Cycle, a new curriculum will be added to the program. “it is necessary to introduce work readiness into the program at the intermediate and advance levels,” according to Miss George, noting that many young people who are trained in various skills do not have work ethics.
The YMCA Computer Training Program was established in November 2004 with the aim of providing Computer and Internet skills to the young people of Liberia. Most of the beneficiaries are presently working with public and private entities, while some have set up their own desktop publishing centers as a means of livelihood.
Since its establishment, the YMCA Computer Training Center has trained over 14,000 young men and women in computer literacy which include: Microsoft Office, Access data Base, Graphics Design, Web design, while also providing other life skills opportunities to the beneficiaries.