Liberia’s youths are severely affected by the country’s 14-years civil war. During the civil war children and young people constituted the largest group of recruited fighters; now these ex-combatants are part of an entire generation that has never experienced peace in their lifetime. These young men and women, called Zogos are involved in street crimes such as theft, physical attack, and harassment of pedestrians. They are mostly found in ghettos, cemeteries, marketplaces, unfinished buildings, liquor shops and on street corners. Their main sources of survival are thievery, car loading and begging.
Young people and youth missed out on essential years in education and training resulting in literacy rates estimated at 50% among youth and a serious shortage of skills in many areas of the labor market. Some challenges that prevent youth from entering the labor market include the lack of education and skills due to – insufficient financial resources, overbooked classrooms, no schools in the vicinity, teenage pregnancy, no possibilities for childcare for young mothers and social norms that prevent children from acquiring education.
DKF goal is to invest in poor communities by empowering young people in understanding their God’s given potentials. We strive to build leaders of the future by giving youth the tools to handle adversity in all its forms, and we work not just within DKF communities but within the larger community as well.
Every year we host a Youth Empowerment Conference to encourage and empower Liberian youth on different themes that we hope will expose them to more supports and resources, and help them understand their God given potential. We encourage them to pursue education, and provide them with job training and opportunities relevant to their local job market to help increase youth employment.
To prepare the people we served for employment success, we partner with national and local associations to offer mentoring and a variety of programs that enable youth to acquire the hard and soft skills required for today’s – and tomorrow’s – job market.