Liberia President’s Young Professionals Program—a model for institutional capacity building and post-conflict success.

Launched in 2009 with the support of H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President’s Young Professionals Program (PYPP) has become one of Liberia’s most competitive and well-received programs for leadership in service.

The PYPP innovatively fills an institutional capacity gap that was left as a result of 14 years of civil unrest and infrastructural devastation. The program recruits, trains, and mentors bright, Liberian college graduates who have a demonstrated interest in and commitment to working in the public sector.

By placing young professionals in priority ministries and agencies as junior-level professionals, the program also helps to alleviate the burdening issue of youth unemployment. Young professionals are assigned to government institutions with the expectation of acquiring the skills and exposure necessary to effectively lead and serve the Government of Liberia (GoL) after their two-year service term as a Presidential Young Professional (PYP). They receive monthly trainings that respond to on-the-job challenges, and participate in immersion excursions with local youth outside of the capital, Monrovia, to collaboratively seek solutions on shared challenges they face. The PYPP taps the rich potential of young Liberians and engages them to contribute to strengthening government institutions.

The inaugural and second class of the PYPP have been fully absorbed by the Government of Liberia. Many members of these classes now serve as assistant directors and technical advisors within the GoL—a true testament of the program’s success.

The invaluable impact that the young professionals have on ministries, agencies, and government personnel makes the program an essential component of Liberia’s strategy to strengthen public sector capacity.

The program has gained support from the highest levels government. Dr. C. William Allen, former Director General of the Liberian Civil Service Agency, rightly noted “the PYPP has dispelled the notion that there is no talent in Liberia. The PYPs have proven through their work that despite the hardships and tragedy of war there is still ample ability in Liberia.” Additionally, H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently praised the hard work of the PYPs in her 2013 annual address. The GoL has recognized the value of the program to the extent that it is willing to fund PYPs from its own budget and fully support its transition to Liberian ownership and management.

At JSI we feel a sense of pride and joy to recognize that this program has fully matured. Over the past four years, the GoL’s capacity has steadily grown, due in part to its embrace of programs such as the PYPP. The transition of the Program over the next 3 years began with an important milestone: An endorsement meeting between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Mr. Joel Lamstein, President of JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. in April 2013.

We look forward to working closely with the Civil Service Agency to fully transition the PYPP to its rightful owners—the Liberian people and government.

For more info: http://www.jsi.com/JSIInternet/PressRoom/newsitem/display.cfm?newsArea=what%27s%20new&txtGeoArea=INTL&id=671&thisSection=PressRoom

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