Ebola's silver lining for Liberia's civil service

Young people have realized that they can play important roles in government, Hh Zaizay tells Devex in this video interview.

Liberia is officially Ebola-free, and now the country’s government — and partners — are asking what needs to happen next.

The Ebola virus outbreak shined a light on deep issues within the Liberian public service. The Liberian President’s Young Professional Program, initiated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, seeks to make public service a more viable, and better-equipped career path for the country’s burgeoning youth population.

Devex spoke with Hh Zaizay, executive director of the program and program director for JSI in Liberia, to learn how placing students in government roles and providing them with the necessary support to be successful can help create a cohort of change agents within the West African country’s public institutions. Those institutions, ultimately, will determine whether Liberia emerges stronger, with a clearer view of necessary changes that need to happen to prevent the next public health disaster.

“Governments will always be criticized, but young people have come to realize … that [they] can play a great role in government and change the way things are,” Zaizay told Devex.

Click on the video above to see an excerpt from our conversation with Zaizay during his recent visit to Washington, D.C.

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About the author

  • Igoe michael 1

    Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.

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