Liberia is rebuilding after a devastating 14-year civil war that destroyed infrastructure and halted basic service delivery. In 2005 Liberians elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Africa's first democratically elected female head of state. The new government has laid out a strong roadmap for post-conflict development, which highlights women and youth empowerment as integral to the nation's development.
Policy makers and change agents have stressed that there is strong demand for skills training in post-conflict Liberia to compensate for an enormous "brain drain" that occurred during the civil war. Fortunately, there is a huge segment of the population - particularly among the youth - who are incredibly passionate about leading change in their communities, but lack the skills and resources to start their own social ventures.
THE SOLUTION: The e-Academy for Conscious Change
In July of 2012, a team of undergraduate researchers from the Paganucci Fellows program of Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business led an exploratory mission to Liberia to learn from Liberian change agents about their work, their needs, and how Global Grassroots can support them. The discussions held with Liberian change agents, NGO heads and government officials revealed that the Global Grassroots eAcademy curriculum fills a niche currently unmet in Liberia; most organizations involved in skills training either focus solely on helping Liberians develop entrepreneurial skills or teaching them to manage NGOs. Global Grassroots' eAcademy fuses social entrepreneurship with leadership and trauma-management skills to support grassroots change agents in designing their own mindful micro-NGOs from scratch.
Global Grassroots is now working to establish partnerships with relevant stakeholders to reduce technical and access barriers for eAcademy participants and build a base of eAcademy users across Liberia. While we fine tune our eAcademy beta site and prepare for global launch, our pilot work in Liberia will inform our partnership approach in other key markets to ensure change agents the greatest likelihood of success in the development of their ideas.
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