In partnership with researchers from Ball State University and Claremont Graduate University in the United States, L.A.C.E.S. is exploring what positive youth development and character formation looks like in the Liberian context. We had the opportunity to chat with Flomo Mau Maiwo, who leads the research team in Liberia and gladly shared his insights and excitement about the project!
Could you walk us through the research being done and what you are working on currently?
The project seeks to gain a fuller understanding of what is positive adolescent development in a Liberian context, more specifically what virtues and character strengths do we believe make a youth successful. Currently, I am transcribing interviews conducted during the first phase of the research and carrying out follow-ups on points/subjects the researchers might need further details on from the interviewees.
What is something about L.A.C.E.S. that has surprised you?
In my youth leadership and youth development advocacy experiences over the years, before joining L.A.C.E.S., I did not cross paths with any organization that uses sports as the foundation of their work as effective as L.A.C.E.S. Generally, in Liberia, sport is considered and used as a crucial unifying tool for community mobilization, promoting and sustaining peace. What surprises me most is the L.A.C.E.S. version of specifically working with the community to target the children most in need. Overall, the uniqueness and impacts of L.A.C.E.S. work and their team’s dedication and commitment to achieving program goals in time were a bit surprising.
What should we expect from the research in the future and what are your goals?
The research findings will provide real-time evidence-based information about which virtues Liberian adults think adolescent development in the Liberian context entails.
The data gathered will be used to inform future L.A.C.E.S programs and projects on positive adolescent development through sports and as an advocacy tool to inform stakeholders, national government, and partners adolescent development programs and policies generally. Lastly, as a youth leader and development advocate, my goal is to use the findings from the research as an advocacy tool to attract youth development practitioners in promoting positive adolescent development in Liberia using evidence-based data
We appreciate Flomo for taking the time to answer our questions and look forward to following his work! L.A.C.E.S. is eager to build our future programs and projects on the findings about the positive youth development and character formation in Liberia, looking to create last-longing impacts in our communities.
This research project is made possible with the generous support of the Templeton World Charity Foundation.