A new report published by Princeton University’s Innovations for Successful Societies and funded by Open Society Foundations highlights the impact and success of the President’s Young Professionals Program (PYPP) of Liberia.
The purpose of this evaluation is to show how the program’s existing model has met its short- and long-term goals and to inform the discussion about how to improve and sustain the initiative or replicate it in other countries. The analysis draws on evidence from 70 interviews and a survey of 80 PYPP alumni and fellows conducted during March-May 2016. Researchers spoke with PYPP participants and staff, supervisors and mentors in the offices where fellows worked, and government leaders. A companion case study titled "Graduates to Government" traces the implementation of the program.
The results of the evaluation clearly show that the program is fulfilling its mission.
- As of March 2016, 72 young professionals had completed their fellowships and another 25 had just begun. About 90% of the program alumni continue to work in government and or are studying abroad on government scholarships. A few fellows have risen to become departmental directors or assistant ministers.
- Senior civil servants and government ministers identified PYPs as top performers. Fellows have made significant contributions to government capacity. PYPs have helped to streamline government operations and almost all of the supervisors and mentors interviewed viewed them as integral to ministry and agency operations.
- Of the 25 mentors and supervisors who responded to requests to participate in this study, only one said that the PYPs she supervised had not made notable contributions to the operation of her division.
- Because of high performance, PYPs have progressed in the civil service far quicker than their peers. Several senior cabinet ministers said they believe the graduates of the PYPP will be leaders in future government administrations.
- Compared to other government capacity-building programs, the PYPP is a cost- effective mechanism for diverting young, talented graduates into the public sector.
Though the program has been hugely successful in achieving its mission, there are still some areas that could be improved. The results show that individual fellows’ success is contingent on integration into the workplace. In the cases where PYPs have had adequate supervision and mentorship as well as good co-worker relations, they have had transformational impacts on their agencies and ministries. But, where mentorship and supervision were lacking or where relations with co-workers were poor, they often spent their first months with little to do, and their learning and contributions were both more limited.