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James Lenton, Youth & Livelihoods Technical Advisor Child & Youth Protection and Development Unit International Rescue Committee, New York October 23, 2008. Youth & Livelihoods: How & why IRC is investing in youth as assets for stability & development. IRC Liberia - Nimba & Lofa

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youth livelihoods how why irc is investing in youth as assets for stability development

James Lenton, Youth & Livelihoods Technical AdvisorChild & Youth Protection and Development UnitInternational Rescue Committee, New YorkOctober 23, 2008

Youth & Livelihoods: How & why IRC is investing in youth as assets for stability & development

IRC Liberia - Nimba & Lofa

October 4, 2006

Lili Stern, Technical Advisor for Youth & Livelihoods

IRC New York - CYPD

irc s cypd who are we
IRC’s CYPD: Who Are We?
  • Support to displaced children and youth in conflict and post-conflict situations since the Cambodian refugee crisis in Thailand in 1980.
  • Currently, the IRC’s Child & Youth Protection and Development (CYPD) programs focus on 3 inter-related areas of core competence:
    • Education
    • Child Protection
    • Youth & Livelihoods
what does livelihood mean for irc
What does “livelihood” mean for IRC?
  • IRC’s Youth & Livelihoods programs use the broad definition of ‘livelihoods’ as adopted by DFID, IISD, USAID and others, in which “A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets and activities required for a means of living.”
  • These essential assets can be organized into six categories: physical, natural, human, financial, social and political.
  • These assets are used to reduce vulnerability to shocks and to manage risks that threaten well-being.
building asset bridges to correct the imbalance
Building Asset Bridges to Correct the Imbalance

Youth at the Margins

of Society


Asset Bridges


Asset Bridges


Civil Society



Asset Bridges

how do we build asset bridges
How do we build asset bridges?

Human assets – youth become proficient in a particular industry, agriculture or trade, but also to gain important transferable skills such as functional literacy, numeracy, and life skills

Civic assets – youth understanding how the labor market works, basic labor rights and how to advocate for those rights

Social assets – youth gain self-esteem and acceptance in the community, and learn how to interact with others.

Some IRC youth livelihood programs also provide toolkits, as a measure to assist with provision of physical assets or linkages to micro-credit, savings & loan opportunities and training in savings habits, to increase financial assets.

how does irc promote sustainable livelihoods for conflict affected youth
How does IRC promote sustainable livelihoods for conflict-affected youth?
  • IRC’s Y & L programs promote sustainable livelihoods for conflict-affected youth by ensuring that programs are based on:
    • market needs
    • the existing assets and coping strategies youth bring with them
    • young people’s hopes and aspirations
    • enhancement of youth’s employability prospects
    • a holistic package of support that ensures tangible improvement in the long-term social, civic and economic well-being of participants
irc s y l approach what we do
IRC’s Y & L Approach: What We Do
  • IRC begins with assumption that no one intervention will be the answer for a young person. They often will need multiple kinds of support in order to make a smooth transition into adulthood.
  • Y & L’s holistic package of support can include:
    • peer counseling and life skills education on issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention and conflict resolution
    • youth-led recreational activities
    • engagement in civic & community affairs
    • literacy and accelerated learning programs
    • transferable skills acquisition
    • employability promotion through technical and vocational education and training, apprenticeships, and entrepreneurial skills development
why irc works with youth in liberia
Why IRC works with youth in Liberia
  • The majority of youth lack access to quality learning opportunities
  • Illiteracy rate is 70% of which youth make up 55.6%
  • 75% of the TVET infrastructure was destroyed during the conflict
  • 88% of youth are


  • 68% of 15-20 year olds in

Liberia have never seen a


  • Aging VT instructors

The LEGACY Initiative

GOAL: Youth (particularly girls) access quality and relevant TVET


National Working Group sets standards and advocates for increased quality and relevance of, and access to TVET by youth


Increase accessibility of targeted VTCs to girls and traditionally excluded youth


Targeted VTCs increase their income level and provide support for more girls to access VT on an ongoing basis


Increase quality and relevance of vocational training in targeted TVET institutions in Lofa and Nimba counties

advocacy national working group
Advocacy: National Working Group



  • Ministry of Youth and Sports
  • Ministry of Labor
  • Ministry of Planning (Agricultural and Industrial Training Board)
  • Ministry of Gender and Development
  • Liberia Business Association
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • International Labor Organization
  • Key local and international NGOs
  • Revise legislation and advocate for re-establishment of National Council for TVET
  • Secure funding from MNC levies (LEE, ArcelorMittal) for TVET institutions and establish employment linkages
  • Approve market-driven TVET curricula
  • Promote increased participation of girls in TVET trades and institutions (VTCs/ employment)
  • Ensure updated pedagogy training of VTC instructors
  • Ensure safe training environments
quality and relevance
Quality and relevance
  • Revised curricula to:
    • Promote inclusion of market-driven trades (based on youth-led employer mapping assessments)
    • Include entrepreneurship skills
    • Include life skills
  • Vocational mentoring
  • Revised pedagogy and


    • Using IRC’s Healing

Classroom’s approach –

learner-centered teaching


access and sustainability
Access and Sustainability
  • ACCESS - Increase accessibility of TVET to girls and traditionally excluded youth by:
    • Increasing capacity of existing VTCs through reconstruction and provision of equipment
    • Reviewing entry criteria to TVET institutions to make them more inclusive
    • Implementing codes of conduct and safe practices
  • SUSTAINABILITY - Establish VTC-based businesses to:
    • Provide on-site training for youth
    • Support operational costs of VTCs
    • Contribute to support fund for graduate youth

Vocational Training - Market

Vocational Training - Education


(micro, small, medium and large)



Work placements,

Material/ financial support



(city, county and national)

MoA, MoE, MoL, MoP, MoYS, MoGD, AITB

Training of Trainers (TOT)



Curriculum and Pedagogy Development

Material/financial support

Formal VT Institutes

Non-formal VT Institutes

Market-driven, Education-driven

Solid lines – Graduate youth

Dotted lines – Resources/inputs