Hamilton, Ontario, Canada – December 22, 2020 – Canadian-based charity Empowerment Squared announced today that it will soon be working with local partners and communities in Liberia to empower a minimum of 75 economically and socially disadvantaged Liberians aged 18-35 through digital literacy, financial literacy, and basic entrepreneurship skills, and provide them with holistic psychosocial counselling and seed funds to experiment with self-employment.
Empowerment Squared, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, will be implementing the Harnessing Opportunities to Promote Entrepreneurship (HOPE) development program over the next 12 months in Liberia. This initiative builds on Empowerment Squared’s efforts in establishing the Liberian Learning Center – the only purposely built public library and small business incubation hub in the country. HOPE is informed by the organization’s success in achieving significant, innovative, and consistent improvements in socioeconomic outcomes for marginalized youth and communities globally since 2007.
“We cannot victimize vulnerable youth and young adults in Liberia twice by blaming them for being born in dire poverty when no one has given them a practical chance at breaking the cycle. Instead, we must understand the obstacles they have had to overcome to stay alive and invest in the right opportunities to empower them,” said Leo Nupolu Johnson, founder and Executive Director of Empowerment Squared.
The Mastercard Foundation’s Employee Innovation Fund has committed USD $99,700 to Empowerment Squared to recruit, educate, prepare, and transition beneficiaries through seed funding for small-scale ventures, including mentorship from local entrepreneurs and professionals. The project will assess existing abilities and skills of participants to ensure they demonstrate the aptitude, commitment, and desire for entrepreneurship. It will also provide basic training on computer skills, social skills, ethics, and mindset development, including psychosocial counselling and support.
HOPE will use an incentive-based approach to provide skills training and resources needed by marginalized youth to lift themselves from dangerous and precarious economic circumstances and leverage their entrepreneurship potentials to create self-employment and economic opportunities for others in their community.
About Empowerment Squared
Empowerment Squared is a registered Canadian charity. They are building a world where everyone is empowered with the tools and opportunities to thrive and contribute to society. They do this by empowering vulnerable and marginalized youth and communities in Canada and across the world to succeed through educational programming, sports and recreation, scholarship and awards, and thought leadership. In 2020, Empowerment Squared celebrated 12 years of developing young leaders and building better communities, including assisting over 1,500 vulnerable youth and families with settling in Canada who are now productive members of their community. Internationally, Empowerment Squared is building the transformational Liberian Learning Center and supports communities and organizations in Ghana, Liberia, and South Africa.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org
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