The induction ceremony for the pioneer set of young ECOWAS Volunteers to be deployed in Liberia takes place today in Monrovia. ECOWAS is the Economic Community of West African States.

The ceremony will be held at the Palm Spring Resort, in Congo Town, Monrovia, and it is expected to be graced by government ministers, top ECOWAS officials and representatives of partners supporting the regional program including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Volunteer Program (UNV), UNESCO, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the European Union.

Accordingly, the induction is to equip the young volunteers with  relevant skills, knowledge and orientation to promote a culture of peace and gender equality in their host communities, establish and support partnerships between communities, link up communities with technical and financial support services and to build network and collaboration with development partners.

The overall objective is to inculcate in West African youth, the culture and spirit of volunteerism with the purpose of addressing the structural causes of vulnerability, instability or outbreaks of violence in the region.

While the ultimate goal of the ECOWAS Volunteer Program (EVP) is to cover the 15 Member States, the ongoing pilot phase involving 160 volunteers with specialization in various fields focuses on four States – Liberia, Sierra Lone, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.

Given its socio-economic dynamics and political history, West Africa is a fertile ground for a regional volunteer program that will empower its youth to promote development, peace, integration and towards the realization of the ECOWAS Vision 2020 for the desired transformation from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of the People.