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The Story of Jakob

Building livelihoods through carpentry in Liberia

“Carpentry has been a family trade for generations. Now it is my turn to establish my own wood workshop,” says 31-year-old Jakob from Dolo Town, a community neighboring a large rubber wood plantation run by a multinational corporation. Without access to employment, education or health care provided inside the plantation area, local residents often struggle to earn a living.

The opportunity to receive formal training by UNIDO was welcomed by many, including Jakob, introducing new techniques of wood work at the advanced training program, as well as entrepreneurial skills on setting up and managing own private enterprises. Together with two other UNIDO trainees Jakob now runs his own workshop.

Solomon is one of Jakob’s apprentices having completed the basic training. Before entering carpentry, he owned a motorcycle taxi which allowed him to provide for his wife and five- year-old son. Like many other young men, he had entered a Government-run scheme aiming to reintegrate former child soldiers of the civil wars (1989-2003) by providing them with jobs as motorcyclist taxi drivers. Now aged 30, Solomon wanted to leave this low-paid and dangerous profession and learn a skill which would enable him to secure his family’s livelihood.

Community leaders in Dolo Town noted the positive impact the UNIDO training has on individuals as well as the community as a whole. In a fragile post-war society, personal and intercommunal conflicts fueled by poverty and unemployment are a frequent risk. Supporting young men like Jakob and Solomon to become self-reliant and productive members of society is key to a more stable and sustainable future.

Funded by the Government of Japan, UNIDO is promoting social stabilization by improving human security of vulnerable people and communities affected by concession projects through technical and vocational training in coordination with transnational corporations.

The project’s main objectives are in line with Sustainable Development Goals 8 and 9 by promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, building resilient infrastructure, and promoting sustainable industrialization for all.

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