The President’s Young Professionals Program—Innovations, Capacity Building, and Meetings with the President of Liberia

Joseta Neufville – President’s Young Professionals Program, Class III

Photo of Joseta NeufvilleDuring, Joseta Neufville’s last year at Cuttington University while working on her thesis, her roommate handed her a flyer advertising the President’s Young Professionals (PYP) Program—an innovative program that prepares highly qualified Liberian youth for leadership in public service, and equips them with tools to positively contribute to the overall development of Liberia. They were coming towards the end of their studies and had heard of other friends who were already part of this innovative program. Together, they decided to apply and take advantage of an opportunity that they hoped would provide training for employment and help shape their futures. To their delight, both Joseta and her roommate were accepted into the PYP program as members of Class III.

Joseta attributes many of her accomplishments to the comprehensive and dynamic PYP trainings she received prior to her assignment—which taught her useful tools such as summary writing, how to work strategically in an office setting with senior government officials, computer skills, and effective note-taking and communications. Upon completion, Joseta was placed in the Government of Liberia’s (GoL) Ministry of State as the Assistant Program Officer working in the President Delivery Unit (PDU).

As part of this department, which resolves any issues that arise within the President Priority Project, the PYPs rotate throughout the different project departments—Energy, Youth Development, Roads, Infrastructure, Ports, Reconciliation and WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Health) –every four months. Joseta first worked on Energy, and now works on Roads and Infrastructure. She is currently responsible for all GoL housing projects and often writes briefs and updates, verifies reports, and reviews the procurement guidelines for the office.

Joseta truly enjoys working in the field—every two weeks, she has the opportunity to attend her Ministry’s briefings with Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. On one occasion, Joseta had suggestions about a specific project and after extensive research, presented her findings to the President at the meeting. President Sirleaf commended her on her research—a moment that Joseta will never forget.

As new classes of PYPs are inducted, Joseta would advise them to bring the best of their abilities to their fields, as they will have a great opportunity to serve and actually be part of the decisions that will affect them and generations of Liberians to come.

After this experience, Joseta’s confidence and self-esteem increased, and she has become accustomed to taking initiative within her department. In one instance, her mentor had various calling cards and Joseta took it upon herself to organize them electronically into one management system, which has now turned into an innovative office-wide project and new approach to management.

As new classes of PYPs are inducted, Joseta would advise them to bring the best of their abilities to their fields, as they will have a great opportunity to serve and actually be part of the decisions that will affect them and generations of Liberians to come. Once she becomes a PYP alumnus, Joseta hopes to enroll in graduate school to pursue studies in Petroleum Economics in the United States.

To learn more about the President’s Young Professionals Program, please visit pyppliberia.org.

The President’s Young Professionals Program (PYPP) of Liberia is a prestigious two-year fellowship that places recent Liberian college graduates in important government roles and provides them with training and mentorship as they support the government’s top priorities. Launched by H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2009, the PYPP is now one of Africa’s most competitive programs for leadership in public service.