Changemaker: Mahmud Johnson
iTeach, iLearn Mentoring Program. While there have been vast improvements in Liberia’s educational sector over the last five years, the national gross enrollment ratio in primary schools remains below 50 percent. This statistic shows that despite a free primary education policy, there still exists a demographic frontier beyond which the free-tuition policy is not effective.
The iMHere! (“Mmbehnienh”) Project is a youth-led initiative that provides academic scholarships and other educational and recreational opportunities to youth in low-income communities where youth are more at risk of dropping out of school due to peer pressure, violence and teen pregnancy.
The iTeach, iLearn program is the mentorship component to the iMHere! Project. The program pairs top-performing high school students or recent graduates with youth in low-income communities. The top-performing students serve as mentors, life skills coaches and academic tutors to youth in low-income communities.
On the flip side, the top-performing Liberian high school students are paired up with “e-Mentors,” who are college students or graduates in western universities. The e-Mentors provide academic guidance to the Liberian high school students, many of who are interested in applying to universities outside Liberia. Additionally, the iTeach, iLearn program pays for the top-performing high school students to sit the Scholastic Aptitude Test, an internationally recognized standardized exam for students looking to apply to top universities around the world.
The purpose of the iTeach, iLearn program is to promote youth-led and youth-focused, collaborative learning, dialogue and friendship among youth from different socioeconomic classes, as well as to provide support to excellent high school students interested in applying to colleges abroad. It also aims to provide role models to young people in low-income communities, many of which lack positive role models for youth to emulate.
The project currently provides academic scholarships to 19 young men in several communities in Monrovia, and has recruited 8 students to serve as iTeach, iLearn mentors. The iMHere! Project has been in existence since June 2010. It is led by Liberian Global Changemaker Mahmud Johnson (AYS Cape Town 2009, AYS Harare 2010, WEF Tanzania 2010 and GYS 2010).
For more information, visit http://www.imhereliberia.org