Over 75 young political leaders from various political parties, university student leaderships and independent candidates, who are passionate about improving Liberia’s democracy and electoral politics, are benefiting from a five-day political leadership training exercise organized by the National youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE).
The initiative is being sponsored by NAYMOTE, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). NAYMOTE’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo mentioned that it is a known fact that Liberia has serious leadership problems despite being the oldest independent country in Africa, noting “we are preparing the next generation of leaders that will be accountable, accessible, and responsive to the needs of the people.” Jarwolo indicated that the young Political Leadership School (YPLS) is a development program designed by NAYMOTE to empower young political leaders with the tools and knowledge needed to support the development of research-based campaign platforms, effectively build and manage voters base, lead effective political campaigns, engage voters, to and deliver issue based campaign messages. He narrated that the institute will ensure that political platforms reflect the views of the people and electoral campaigns are organized based on standards and are free from violence; so as to increase citizens’ trust in political parties, improve Liberia’s democracy and electoral politics. “We are optimistic that next generation of leaders will emerge from this political leadership school. We will make sure that the footprint does not leave in Liberia; we want to extend to the Mano River Union sub region,” he noted. “We will take them around the country to engage other young people at the various community colleges to bring the politicians before them and say what they have in mind for Liberia. Our anticipation is that young political leaders work together beyond political parties, tribal or religious groups”, he added. For his part, a beneficiary of the training, Curtis Dorley of the Unity Party National Youth League, emphasized the need for the expansion of such training opportunities to benefit a larger youth populace. Dorley emphasized capacity building of young people as key in strengthening democracy and good governance in Liberia. “Young people can only be transformed against violence when their capacity is built and political actors seize the opportunity to empower the young generation of leaders,” he said.