Friday, 27 May 2022 10:58

CENTAL Empowers Over 135 Students Through IClub Featured

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CENTAL Empowers Over 135 Students Through IClub
Young people, especially students who are members of CENTAL’s Integrity Clubs (IClub)s at selected universities, including – the University of Liberia, the United Methodist University, African Methodist Episcopal University and the Stella Maris Polytechnic University in Monrovia have no regrets about signing up to this integrity-building and anti-corruption awareness-raising initiative.
The Integrity Club remains a campus-based initiative of CENTAL. A collection of people believing and spreading the ideas and principles of integrity and accountability at their universities/communities to foster integrity building, good citizenry and governance.
Since the inception of its National Integrity Building and Anti-Corruption (NIBA) Program, over one hundred thirty-five (135) students and young people have benefited from different capacity-development pieces of training and empowerment programs at CENTAL. These exercises are part of mentorship activity under the Youth Engagement component of the NIBA Program.
Over the period, eighty (80) young people underwent short-term pieces of training while fifty-five (55) others served as data entry clerks and data collectors in the seven project counties – Montserrado, Bong, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Bomi and Gbarpolu respectively.
On a periodic basis, different refresher pieces of training are conducted for the IClub members to be exposed to short, medium and long-term opportunities, including, but not limited to, data collection and entry, internship and possible recruitment.
This is what one of the enumerators had to say “Over a period of ten years, I have been into research and have worked with many groups and NGOs, including CENTAL. But my experience working with CENTAL has been one of the best experiences so far,” said Joseph N. Mombo, an enumerator and student.
Remunerations received by students at different time intervals have assisted them to settle their schools and other obligations.
Lorentta Freeman, an IClub member of the University of Liberia said the little income she usually gets from CENTAL has served so many purposes, including payment of her rental and children school fees as well as transportation to and from school daily.
Also, Lisa P. Saylee, an IClub member of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) stated: “The money I got from the survey, I used it to pay my balance school fees and settled other arears.”
The pieces of training have also sharpened the students to become ambassadors of change. They have been creating awareness amongst their peers and high school students in Montserrado, Bomi and Grand Bassa Counties.
For Mercy P. Johnson, an IClub member of the United Methodist University (UMU), being a member of the IClub has enabled her to realize her potential. “From the pieces of training and other opportunities with CENTAL, I’ve now identified the best version of myself. The IClub has also given me the opportunity to work for my own money,” Mercy stated.
Like the adage goes: ‘To whom much is given much is expected.’
After benefitting from the different training opportunities offered by CENTAL, members of the various chapters of the IClub also take the lead in conducting engagements and integrity building and anti-corruption awareness-raising activities amongst their peers at their various universities and selected high schools in the program-reached counties.
For Wayeiyeahn Chanchan, the IClub has not only empowered her financially but has also helped her to identify her self-wealth.
“CENTAL has impacted me in so many ways, to be concise, it has actuated me to be an advocate that works towards change (s) for a better mama Liberia. It has enlightened my mind to becoming a person of moral soundness or uprightness and honesty. I LOVE CENTAL…” Chanchan said.
The youths, as it is often said, are the successors of the current batch of leaders. For this reason, countries and institutions globally are incessant in providing different forms of empowerment opportunities that are aimed at strengthening them for a brighter tomorrow.
Liberia is a resource-endowed country, yet, corrupt to the core as indicated by several international institutions and instruments. The country is not only blessed with natural resources but also its youthful population. Young people account for a significant portion of the country’s population; the United Nations placed the country’s youth population at 65% of its 4.1 million citizens.
However, the culture of corruption, which is so fast cementing its place in society, has to a greater extent adversely affected the future of young people. As a result of this, a few of them have succumbed to defending corrupt officials in the hope of obtaining meager financial aid from them.
Nevertheless, regardless of the many visible challenges that are contributing to the spread of corruption in the country, CENTAL believes that the youths are crucial in tackling the menace, given the energy they have. Therefore, as a way of strengthening their capacity, the institution has established a Youth Engagement Program dubbed as the Integrity Club.
With funding from the Government of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the I-Club is being supported by CENTAL under its NIBA Program that seeks to, among other things, empower citizens with relevant pieces of information to demand and take actions against corruption in Liberia.
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