The President’s Young Professionals Program—Mentorship and Initiative, Shaping the Next Generation of Liberian Leaders

K. Tendra Tenwah – President’s Young Professionals Program, Class I

Pressure to find employment and become self-reliant after graduation is a cultural norm in Liberia. As a recent college graduate with a degree in Biology from Cuttington University, K. Tendra Tenwah began her job hunt with little success. Upon the recommendation of a friend on the last day one could submit an application, K. Tendra applied to 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 contribute positively to the overall development of Liberia. Even though it was her first time going through the job interview process, the PYP program selected K. Tendra to become part of its first class of Young Professionals.

In the PYP Program, mentors play a pivotal role in guiding PYPs through challenging assignments. K. Tendra learned a variety of useful skills in her department, such as data analysis, monitoring & evaluation (M&E), and proposal development, that compliment her background in science. She emphasizes that the most important skill that she has learned is stress-management

In the PYP Program, mentors play a pivotal role in guiding PYPs through challenging assignments. K. Tendra learned a variety of useful skills in her department, such as data analysis, monitoring & evaluation (M&E), and proposal development, that compliment her background in science. She emphasizes that the most important skill that she has learned is stress-management, which has been useful when faced with unexpected obstacles. When K. Tendra was inundated with responsibilities after one of her superiors left to pursue his Master’s degree, her newly acquired skills allowed her to take on many new responsibilities. When necessary, she was able to receive help from others in her Ministry who were happy to be of assistance.

K. Tendra feels that the PYP Program has helped her to become a professional, able to take the initiative on various projects and be more communicative in her personal relationships. She now works in the Ministry of Health, Health Services Department in the Office of Performance-Based Financing. Her office manages contracts between the Government of Liberia (GoL) and NGOs, and she assists in the monitoring of them on a quarterly basis. 

K. Tendra feels that the PYP Program has helped her to become a professional, able to take the initiative on various projects and be more communicative in her personal relationships.

After starting with little expertise in her Ministry, K. Tendra now takes pride in her position and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health. She hopes to later receive a scholarship and travel outside of West Africa to pursue a second Master’s degree in a field tied to health.

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

*Implemented by the JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., the success of the Liberia President’s Young Professionals Program is made possible by the generous support from the HESS Foundation, the Government of Liberia, Scott Family Foundation, McCall MacBain Foundation, Humanity United, Nike Foundation, Open Society Institute, NoVo Foundation, Belinda Stronach Foundation, Daphne Foundation, Mailman Family, Simonds Family, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.