Livelihood and Employment Creation Project

Project Summary

Liberia ranks low at position 176 on the 2019 Human Development Index making it one of the poorest countries in the world. Poverty afflicts 50.9% of the population, more so women whose work is unpaid and unrecognized. Poverty is higher (71.8%) in rural areas compared to urban settings (31.5%). Young people under 25, constitute 64% of the population, most (60%) having not completed primary schooling. Between 16% and 20% of the population have disabilities, face discrimination, and are therefore severely marginalized. Only 18.1% of the country’s workforce is in formal paid employment, the rest (85%) being in the informal sector. Most jobs are concentrated in only two sectors of the economy - agriculture and informal Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), both of which face several challenges. The agriculture sector is constrained by low human capital, poor infrastructure (roads, access to energy, machinery, and technology), poor access to farm inputs, credit and extension services, weak policies deterring private investments, and a lack of trust among market actors preventing bulk purchasing, storage, and marketing. MSMEs are constrained by weak management practices, fragmented markets, limited diversification, high operating costs, limited access to capital and credit, and limited skilled workforce, among others. 

Rural Agriculture Promoters Cooperative Society in Salayea, Lofa County is using the Growth Accelerator grant to drive innovation in the agricultural value chain sector using solar-based vegetable cold storage to improve preservation.

The project will support three strands of work.

  1. Creation of sustainable, viable, and diversified livelihood opportunities for youth, women, and PWDs through investment in vocational and life skills training, development of agro-inputs supply chain, and provision of technical advice to increase local food production.

  2. Strengthen enterprise development services through capacity building, access to credit, and promoting innovations that foster the rights and address the economic advancement of women, youth, and PWDs.

  3. Support national policies and strategies that facilitate a conducive environment for a thriving local private sector, and foreign investment.


The programme is contributing to the reduction of poverty and inequality in seven counties by supporting the creation of resilient livelihood and income-generating opportunities, especially for the poor and vulnerable, namely the youth, women, people with disabilities (PWDs), refugees, and their host communities.

The programme is contributing to the reduction of poverty and inequality in seven counties by supporting the creation of resilient livelihood and income-generating opportunities, especially for the poor and vulnerable, namely the youth, women, people with disabilities (PWDs), refugees, and their host communities.

Expected Results

The programme has adopted UNDP’s track approach to livelihood recovery, and will systematically transform short-term, medium-term, to long-term employment, and inclusive growth by supporting:

i. Stabilization of livelihood systems in the short term.

ii. Revitalization and development of local economies using a combination of indigenous and new knowledge and innovation drivers.

iii. Supporting long-term policies and strategies for decent work and employment, including economic empowerment and participation of women.

It is expected that.

  1. Poor, vulnerable women, youth, and PWDs will be actively engaged in diverse, sustainable income-generating activities by 2024.

  2. MSMEs in the targeted seven counties will be skilled in business establishment and expansion, with greater, better access to finance.

  3. Other wide-reaching impacts beyond creating incomes such as improvements in health, education, infrastructure, and other social services that enhance sustainable, resilient livelihoods and jobs.


  • UNDP in addition to its core resources mobilized funding and technical partnerships to support the creation of sustainable and viable income-generating opportunities, for the most vulnerable population through its Livelihood and Employment Creation Project. Low-income women and youth especially continue to benefit from the scheme because they suffer the most from devastating pandemics and are the ones mostly affected by multi-dimensional poverty. The informal agriculture sector and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises remain the target with the intent to spurring the local economy. This program and other collaborative initiatives implemented by UNDP and its partners have helped to solidify the groundwork and build trust within the government and amongst partners. 

    Stephanie Duncan, the co-founder of Stebel’s Classic Shoes, a beneficiary of the Growth Accelerator project. The business used the grant to set up a showroom.

  • The Growth Accelerator Liberia business plan competition, implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is helping small and medium-sized enterprises and commercially inclined agricultural cooperatives scale up their operations and contribute to national economic development through increased revenues and job creation. Over the last three years since the programme was launched in 2021, 38 small businesses have received a total of US$1.3 million disbursed with the sole intent of helping MSMEs scale up and improve. Five (5) businesses were selected in 2021, thirteen (13) in 2022, and twenty (20) in 2023. The businesses included general MSMEs, those in the agricultural cooperatives, and others in the clean and renewable energy categories.

  • The youth Startup Business Plan Competition provides a platform for aspiring young entrepreneurs in seven counties of Liberia (Montserrado, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount and Sinoe) to develop and showcase business acumen, innovation, leadership skills. Since 2021, the initiative has provided grants, mentorship, training, resources, and guidance to businesses to help them refine their business concepts and develop comprehensive business plans. Over six hundred youths across seven counties have won US$500.00 up to US$3,000.00 in grants to start, expand, and scale their enterprises after a thorough selection process as part of the business plan competition. 

  • Infused new life into the government of Liberia’s National Youth Cadet Programme by supporting an internship programme for recent graduates and graduating seniors, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The 2022 internship programme provided job readiness and career path training as well as job placement and mentorship, attracting 820 applicants, 315 of whom were shortlisted and 75 (41w/34m) selected for placement in public and private institutions, and civil society organizations for three months. Seventy-three (73) completed their placements and 49 of them (65.3%) were retained at the host organizations. 

  • Mobilized more than 400 youth, women, and People Living with Disabilities across twelve (12) communities in Nimba County (50% women 50%men) to benefit Cash-For-Work (CFW) to earn income while improving local community infrastructure like access to markets to increase local food production and environmental services. The Cash for Work (CFW) program creates community ownership through the direct participation of community dwellers in the repair of damaged bridges, temporary patching of potholes along the roads, and roadside brushing among others. Even though this employment and income generation initiative is short-term, it lays the foundation for social protection and a long-term self-employment programme that helps beneficiaries invest the cash received in small businesses.

  • Established Eco-brigades in five Counties across the country communities. They were recruited and trained as youth Eco brigades in environmental stewardship and business management skills. As part of the training exercises which included the establishment of Village and Savings Loan Schemes, the Eco-brigades engage in compulsory clean-up, tree planting, and community outreach campaigns in their respective cities using toolkit materials provided by UNDP. Each member of the Eco- receives a UNDP business start-up capital grant of US$400 as a sustainable source of income while safeguarding their environment. The eco-brigades use the grant to establish small businesses and support households as indirect beneficiaries of the grant.


DurationFebruary 2021 to December 2024
InvestmentUS$ 7.82m (Secured $1.64m)
Funding Partners 

UNDP, UNHCR, Denmark, Luxemburg, Norway, 

the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland

Implementing Partners

Ministries of Commerce and Industries; Agriculture; 

Youth and Sports; Gender, Children and Social Protection; 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the private sector, and CSOs.

Implementation Locations

7 counties - Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, 

Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Montserrado, Nimba and Sinoe.

BeneficiariesThe poorest and most vulnerable, especially women, youth, persons with disability

Project document