In 2009, the President’s Young Professionals Program (PYPP) was established –a public-private scheme with the sole intent of scouting competent young Liberians to be trained for the job market, preferably in government since there was a general consensus that Liberia’s brightest and patriotic minds were needed to get the West African nation back on the road to recouping after years of destruction due to war. The program struggled its way through the muggy mindset that young people were themselves a problem to be solved and could not make any significant impact in public service. Till date, the narrative has changed tremendously with over 140 young professionals trained and placed in various government ministries and agencies.
About nine (9) years later, the Executive Director of the PYPP, Hh K. Zaizay told partners at the organization’s annual partners meeting on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 that the institution will continue to build the capacity of the next generation of Liberia’s public service leaders.
He said the organization remains committed to empowering “high-achieving young Liberian university graduates” to provide transformative solutions to pressing policy issues and service delivery.
Mr. Zaizay said the PYPP has placed 140 graduates in 25 ministries and agencies in the Liberian government, stating that the PYPs have moved up the civil service career ladder and into middle management roles faster than their peers with equivalent degrees. Women take up 46% of the total number of graduates signaling strong gender parity.
According to Mr. Zaizay, the PYPP will begin preparing its graduates for the private sector, indicating that the private sector continues to request for PYPP graduates.
He pledged the institution’s commitment to working along with the government of President Dr. George Manneh Weah in ensuring that the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development is achieved particularly taking cognizance of Pillar IV which talks about increased participation of citizenry in decision making, including women and children.
For her part, Laurine W. Johnson, Director General of the Civil Service Agency (CSA) and Chair of President’s Young Professionals Program (PYPP) Board of Directors, says the program continues to breed the next generation of leaders through building and strengthening of human capacity for both local and central government.
The CSA Boss lauded partners and supporters of PYPP, including USAID, Liberia Telecommunications Corporation and Emerging Public Leaders for their financial and in-kind support to the PYPP.
Director Johnson also praised Hh Zaizay, Executive Director of the PYPP and his team for their tireless efforts in ensuring that the PYPP breeds the next generation of leaders as Liberian strive to bridge Liberia’s post war capacity and for ably conducting the affairs of the PYPP through maintaining its integrity and credibility.
“The CSA is committed to working with PYPP to scale-up the number of qualified and talented Liberian youths who are working for the government to strengthen effective, accountable, and inclusive governance through its decentralization program, which is critical to sustainable growth, reduce poverty, and create jobs for Liberian youth,” Director Johnson said.
She recounted that since the establishment of the PYPP in 2009, the CSA continues to be its strongest government partner and played a vital role in the implementation of its programs.
“We have worked from the recruitment and selection of young professionals to placement, training and absorption into the CSA of which 90 percent continue to work after graduation. PYP graduates are placed on the CSA’s payroll and are paid by the CSA immediately after graduation until their ministries and agencies absorb them on their payroll,” Director Johnson said.
Also speaking at the Annual Partners Meeting in Monrovia, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Anthony Chan pledged his organization’s financial and technical support to the PYPP, indicating that Liberia continues to benefit from the program.
Dr. Chan said with the small investments, it is producing huge dividends for those it trains and Liberia at large.
“As someone who spent virtually his entire life as a development worker, I know a successful development program. The PYPP is a phenomenally successful program,” Dr. Chan said.
According to him, the success of the program has motivated USAID’s management to provide both technical and financial support to PYPP for the recruitment of a total of 40 President’s Young Professionals.
Dr. Chan said development community has always recognized the importance of capacity development to the success of development assistance and the journey to self-reliance.
“It’s the only way to allow members of the society to take charge of their own destiny. We have not fully appreciated how tapping local expertise and resources for capacity development can have a substantial impact on sustainable development outcomes,” Dr. Chan said.
He continued, “This is why I find the PYPP to be a refreshingly new and different approach to capacity development with the potential to be transformative.”
- Nelson Williams, Board member of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce lauded the leadership of PYPP and pledged his support and commitment to the program.