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More than 300 people graduate from ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Livelihood Restoration Program

Buchanan, March 10, 2015 - More than 300 students have received certificates of completion and participation from the Resettlement Office of ArcelorMittal Liberia.

The graduation, which took place in Zolowee, Nimba County in February, marks the end of the first phase of the Livelihood Restoration Program funded by ArcelorMittal Liberia and implemented by Volunteers to Support International Efforts in Developing Africa (VOSIEDA), a local NGO.

VOSIEDA works to enable poorer and under-served communities to live productively, healthier and more independent lives in Liberia and the border regions of countries in the Mano River Union of West Africa.

Providing an overview of the Livelihood Restoration Program, J. Parkerson Zuweh, Livelihood Program Manager for VOSIEDA, explained that the program is one component of ArcelorMittal Liberia’s mitigation efforts that is being implemented by VOSIEDA.

Zuweh said that the Livelihood Restoration Program trains individuals to become more useful citizens in their communities and empowers them to improve their lives. There are four skills training under the program, namely: arts and crafts, agriculture, hairdressing and tailoring. “The students go through the training and are then sent out for internships,” added Zuweh.

After the internships, he said that the students return for graduation and thereafter, are encouraged to form cooperatives that then bid for contracts.

“In addition to these four areas, VOSIEDA also runs literacy and numeracy programs for residents who are illiterate. They are taught reading and writing, as well as business transactions like banking, signing a check and other competencies that are necessary for successful transactions,” he said.

Hilary Byrne, Resettlement Advisor at ArcelorMittal Liberia, who was guest speaker at the occasion, highlighted the significance of the graduates’ newly acquired skills: “By taking this training with us and gaining your skills, you have gained something that will feed you for the rest of your lives; this is really important, and ArcelorMittal is very proud to partner with VOSIEDA to bring you this program.”  Byrne further challenged the graduates to join the cooperatives that will be set up after their graduation.

Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Yvonne Paye, a resident of Gbapa, expressed thanks to her community for recruiting them into the program: “I just want to express my thanks to our relatives for sending us to this program that has taught us to also learn more about ourselves. This program has taught me tailoring skills, as you can see by the suit all the members of the tailoring class are wearing today. We say thank you to ArcelorMittal Liberia and VOSIEDA.”

A total of 20 tailors; 30 hairdressers; 15 arts and crafts artisans and 100 agriculturists took part in the ceremony, while 154 people who have taken part in literacy and numeracy courses also received certificates.

The other programs implemented by VOSIEDA on behalf of ArcelorMittal Liberia includes the Land Access Program, which provides farmland for farmers whose farms have been used and compensated for; the Vulnerable Assistance Program, which provides assistance to the elderly and other segments of the population who cannot provide for themselves; and the Cultural Heritage Program, which compensates for the use of any land that may have been culturally significant to the residents.

About ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal is the world's leading integrated steel and mining company, with a presence in more than 60 countries.

ArcelorMittal is the leader in all major global steel markets, including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with leading R&D and technology, as well as sizeable captive supplies of raw materials and outstanding distribution networks. With an industrial presence in over 20 countries spanning four continents, the Company covers all of the key steel markets, from emerging to mature.

Through its core values of sustainability, quality and leadership, ArcelorMittal commits to operating in a responsible way with respect to the health, safety and well-being of its employees, contractors and the communities in which it operates. It is also committed to the sustainable management of the environment. It takes a leading role in the industry's efforts to develop breakthrough steelmaking technologies and is actively researching and developing steel-based technologies and solutions that contribute to combat climate change.

In 2012, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $84.2 billion and crude steel production of 88.2million tonnes, representing approximately 6 percent of world steel output.

ArcelorMittal is listed on the stock exchanges of New York (MT), Amsterdam (MT), Paris (MT), Luxembourg (MT) and on the Spanish stock exchanges of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia (MTS).

For more information about ArcelorMittal please visit: www.arcelormittal.com.

Contact information for Liberia: 
ArcelorMittal Liberia Corporate Communications
E-mail: hesta.pearson@arcelormittal.com
Phone: +231 776 812 314
Hesta Baker-Pearson (Head of Corporate Communications, Liberia)