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ICT Training Centre for Returnees in Liberia  

This project was developed through a joint activity between the ITU, UNHCR and a Liberian NGO (LOIC), supporting the returnees to settle in Liberia after years as refugees in other countries. The project is providing ICT training and services to former refugees in this rural area of Liberia supporting the government’s efforts to re-settle them. The ICT training provided will enable young refugees to acquire ICT skills needed for the on-going reconstruction of the Liberian economy as well as enable them to find gainful employment and business ventures in ICTs.

The Centre will be equipped with a local area network and 10 computer workstations, and proper functioning of the Centre will be enhanced by ongoing hardware and software maintenance.

The project will provide training on core computer and entrepreneurial skills (business and project management) to young people and their communities which will enable them to develop small and medium size enterprises, either within the knowledge industry or in other businesses. The overall impact of the project will be an increased level of social and economic activities through sustainable training and entrepreneurship development which will eventually lead to positive contribution in attainment of Millennium Development Goals.

Apart from the development of ICT skills, the centre will also support any on-going peace initiatives and development issues in order to have positive contributions in building the peace process for Liberia, being a country emerging from 14 years of war.

 

Background

Following years of civil wars in a number of African countries, many displaced people have been left with little hope for the future. The challenge now lies in reconstructing the countries and rehabilitating its people particularly the youth. The economies of these countries rely heavily on agriculture and have serious shortage of human resources with skills while illiteracy is high, following several years of protracted wars that disrupted all sectors of the economy. The project aims to address some of these challenges by establishing a Computer and Entrepreneurship Training Centre which will help in building computer skills of young people including ex-child soldiers in the first instance and adult learners, where this is possible.

The development of the Computer and Entrepreneur Training Centre in Liberia for returning refugees would be used as a model to develop similar centres in countries emerging from conflict, so as to impact on the process of post-conflict reconstruction. It is now widely accepted that there can be no sustainable peace without economic development. All of the countries in Africa that are emerging out of conflict, including others which have low levels of development, may have to build ICT capacity and entrepreneurship as they are integrating into the global economy. This initiative will hopefully become a model in Africa for establishing a base for the development of ICT and entrepreneurship capacity.

Through this training, it is possible to develop professional skills and capacity building for the intended population which will in turn serve the needs of the reconstruction process and begin to foster the development of an information society, facilitating the country to be integrated into the global economy. In addition to the core computing skills to be given, training in computer maintenance will also be provided to a limited number of young people, to enable them to support similar Centres on a sustainable basis.

In 2005, ITU, UNHCR, UNDP, Liberia Opportunity Industrialization Centre (LOIC) a leading vocational training institution in Liberia successfully established an ICT Training Centre for Returnees in Monrovia, Liberia. A similar project was replicated in Muyinga, Burundi in 2006/7. The current project will be the second one in Liberia and third in a series of this joint effort with the UNHCR where training will be undertaken by OIC (Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Centre), UNHCR’s local partner. OIC is the largest skills training NGO in Liberia. As was done for the project in 2005, they will prepare the training room, install computers, assign trainers upon selection and make the training self-sustainable.

 

The project is now operational

 

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Updated : 2009-11-17