Two dozen years ago, Eddie Jarwolo was a homeless “street kid,” as his native Liberia was torn apart by a devastating civil war. Now 44, he is remarkably at ease, sitting in front of a wall topped by barbed wire at his home in Monrovia, where he has grabbed a leading role in shaping his country’s future without political office or much money to his name.
The founder and executive director of Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, Jarwolo is grooming a new generation of socially conscious, politically active Liberian youth. He matter-of-factly tells me that his organization’s grass-roots activism helped contribute to the West African nation’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power in decades late last year. The work didn’t end there.