Project Brief Background

Young people in Liberia – and there are over 1 million aged 15-35 years – face many challenges to build worthwhile lives. This includes low literacy and a very high level of unemployment. The country rates 111 th of 170 globally in terms of youth development.

The country has a national youth policy, a responsible public agency (MOYS) and also an umbrella youth representative body (FLY). However, dedicated funding for youth is limited and/or unclear, hence international donor agencies have been active filling some of the void, including in education and job training, though not always with desired outcomes (maybe because not relevant to the Liberian context).

Research has identified the concerns and issues of Liberian youth. Youth primarily wanting to change their own attitude and/or behaviour, including identity as Liberians, also their education and poverty status. They worry about education, security & peace, also their country, their own future, how they can improve their life and support their family.

We also understand from various studies that radio is a powerful tool for social development. For a majority of Liberian youth radio is their most used and trusted platform, though many rely also on newspapers, TV, mobile phone services and the church (high in trust), whilst females use radio less than males. However, there is no radio is focussed on youth, and no youth-development programme that seemed to be notably listened to by youth. And a majority of youth have not taken any action as a result of listening.

They want radio (media) to help them overcomes life's challenges, inform on rights, of Government programmes, parenting/family skills, about spiritual matters, also taking care of the environment, health, business, local culture and jobs. In the case of females, religion and spiritual is most important.

Youth will listen to informative and educative programming if they are well produced, and convenient. They will want to hear good presenters/hosts, educative and development/human interest programming, accurate/reliable information and youth/community focus.

The project is predicated to improve youth outcomes using radio as primary information, engagement and learning tool as well as help develop the Liberian media by offering media training.

This concept note is based on secondary (desk) research, youth stakeholder (youth group leaders, service provider) research (14 semi- structured depth interviews) and a youth survey conducted online, responded to mainly by youth aged 25-35 years.

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