On June 1, 2018, the Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) signed a Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with UNICEF-Liberia for a one-year project, “Developing Minds, Empowering Communities” which is funded by the Indian Government under its partnership with the UN Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

The project will see the construction of a Learning Resource Center in Rivercess County to house a public library and a vocational training center, as well as provide for the training of teachers and rural women.

Mrs. Brenda Brewer Moore, Executive Director of KEEP, and Mr. Samuel Mawunganidze, Deputy Country Representative and Officer-In-Charge of UNICEF-Liberia, signed the PCA on behalf of their respective organizations.

Making remarks at the formal signing ceremony, the UNICEF Officer-in-Charge Representative, Mr. Mawunganidze acknowledged with great appreciation the catalytic funding support from the Government of India to Liberia. It enables KEEP and UNICEF to demonstrate a scalable proof of concept on raising women and adolescent girls interest in reading and schooling. The partnership provides an opportunity to involve the communities in addressing two critical dimensions of schooling in Liberia, that of late age entry into school and high risk of not completing primary school.

Responding, Mrs. Moore thanked the Indian Government for their contributions under the UNOSSC, and reassured of the preparedness of KEEP to implement the project within the stipulated time. She added that a project to develop minds and empower communities is one that is needed in Liberia especially in Rivercess County, one of the lowest-ranked counties in education. She pointed to the lack of a library in the county, as well as conducive spaces where alternative learning opportunities, including for adolescent girls and women, can be obtained. She expressed excitement that a part of the project is to also establish a computer literacy training lab for students of the county.

The UN Office of South-South Cooperation aims at promoting Southern-owned and led, demand-driven and people-centered sustainable development projects.

The Indian government has made available $1.5 million to four countries from the Global South – Belize, Chad, Liberia and Uruguay- as initial beneficiaries of this fund.

India has a longstanding tradition of South-South Cooperation with partner developing countries, especially Least Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. The Fund, managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), was launched in June 2017 and has quickly developed an impressive portfolio ranging across varied thematic areas: climate resilience, improving maternal health, youth employment, agricultural development, and infrastructure. It is also facilitating reconstruction efforts in hurricane-affected countries.