Liberia is regarded as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world, and one which contains the highest remaining portion (42%) of the Upper Guinea Forest, including plants with high endemism. The country boasts of over 2000 vascular plant species, 600 bird species, 75 reptile species, 150 mammal species, etc. The country has a coastline of 560 km, which is host to about 58% of the country’s population within 9 of the 15 counties.
With the growing human population , particularly along the coast, there is an increasing wave of severe environmental degradation: pollution and sedimentation of water bodies; degradation of ecosystems such as swamps, wetlands and pollution of waterways, and biodiversity loss due to human pressure. Reports on the state of the environment identifies threats to terrestrial, coastal/marine, and freshwater ecosystems as well as the potential effects of climate change on these ecosystems. Livelihoods within various ecosystems are vulnerable to the anticipated effects of climate change.
Liberia has a population of approximately 4.6 million people, with a youthful population of about 63 percent below 25 years and 79 percent below 36 years (LISGIS, 2011). Despite this proportion of the population, levels of poverty among the youths are high. Majority of the youth have limited skills, work experience, financial resources, physical assets, and most often find themselves in poverty-affected families. Female youth are far more impacted by these conditions, which have impeded the ability of young people to be productive and economically viable.
The Government of Liberia in partnership with UNDP, through its Livelihood & Employment Programme, seeks to contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequality by supporting initiatives that engage poor and vulnerable households/population in sustainable income generation activities.
The Eco-brigade Programme is a youth volunteer initiative that focuses on preserving the environment as well as creating start-up livelihood and income opportunities for the vulnerable youth population who are currently unemployed and economically marginalized. The successful implementation of this programme requires a strong partnership between the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Youth and Sports, local authorities (both community leaders and city authorities) of the targeted communities for the intervention.