MONROVIA-The Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MOCI) has signed several agreements valued at more than US$540,000.00 to boost livelihoods and job creation across the country. The Programme is supported by UNDP.
Sixteen women, youth, academic and farmer-based enterprises will receive funds to support entrepreneurship, livelihood and employment initiatives.
A statement from UNDP said, the organizations were selected using a rigorous criteria-based evaluation process supervised by Hon. Debra Nebo, Deputy Minister for Small Business Administration (SBA) at the MOCI.
The money will also support innovations and access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The organizations receiving the funds are engaged in agriculture production, training and commercialization, recycling of plastic waste, solid waste management, business development services, and capacity support for petty traders and environmental services.
The Deputy Commerce Minister for Administration cautioned beneficiaries to demonstrate concrete results and accountability for the funding.
Wilfred J.S Bangura II says the Ministry will diligently conduct monitoring and audits of the organizations to ensure that the grants are applied to achieve the results embedded in their proposals.
Mr. Bangura expressed thanks to UNDP and Partners for supporting the Livelihood & Employment Creation project.
“This project is a driver for poverty reduction, consistent with the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity & Development,” he stressed.
The Programme Coordinator at UNDP described the process as “catalytic” and intended to support initiatives that contribute to efforts aimed at improving the livelihoods of vulnerable populations and communities across various sectors of the seven Counties where the project will be implemented.
One of the beneficiaries, the Director of the Liberian Women in Agriculture Cooperative Society, noted that her organization plans to use the funding to produce cotton as a raw material. The Director, Mrs. Agnes Kortimai, says the cotton material will then be used to process local sanitary pads to be sold at affordable prices to rural women who cannot afford the current market price for menstrual pads.
“This funding is a major boost for supporting women farmer cooperatives to improve productivity and add value to their products,” Kortimai emphasized.
Some of the businesses selected to receive grants include: Ma Bendu Investment Group (MIG); Community of Hope Agriculture Practice (CHAP), Liberia International Christian College (LIC), Meni-Nina Farmers INC (MEN), Forestry Training Institute (FTI), Liberian Women In Agriculture Cooperative Society, SAP LIBERIA (SAP) and Nimba County Community College (NCC), among others.
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry/Small Businesses Administration with support from Ministries of Agriculture and Youth & Sports will implement the Livelihood and Employment Creation project.
Other partners are the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and other government agencies.
The Programme is funded by UNDP in partnership with UNHCR, Denmark, Luxemburg, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, and Switzerland through the Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication funding window.