Liberia stands to lose a whopping US$20.3 million matching grant every year from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) grant, formerly the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, because of the country’s failure to allocate 20% of its budget to the educational sector.
The Youth Coalition in Liberia (YOCEL), an implementing partner to the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI) revealed that the country’s grant was drastically reduced by 51.2% for failing in its commitment to increase the country’s education budget to 20% of the total Fiscal Budget in the last five years.
YOCEL’s project manager, Matthew S. Karley, II, told journalists and LAVI’s partners over the weekend during a one-day media stakeout that the grant would be rotated to the previous grant of US$40 million if Liberia’s fiscal budget for education is at least 20%. Currently, the Liberian government’s support to the education sector is around 13 percent.
“We have approached the Ministry of Education, and have begun the engagement for the increment of the education budget to at least 20% of the total national budget,” Karley said.
Karley said in 2014, in Dakar, Senegal, African countries including Liberia committed to targeting 20% of their fiscal budget to go towards education and was sealed in 2015 at the World Education Forum in the Republic of Korea. YOCEL is supported by LAVI through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Liberian government has, however, received only US$11.07 million to cover a four year period (2018-2021). This amount was disbursed in December 2017 as part of the GPE-funded “Liberia Getting to Best in Education,” a four-year initiative aimed at improving equitable access to early childhood education, and the quality of teaching in early childhood and primary education, he noted.
“The US$11.07 million grant is also intended to support the government’s efforts to strengthen accountability in the education sector and improve the quality of learning,” Karley said.
The specific objectives of the grant are to: (a) improve equitable access to early childhood education, teacher quality in early childhood education (ECE), and primary education in targeted disadvantaged counties, and (b) strengthen National School Accountability Systems.
From 2010 – 2016, Liberia benefited from a US$40 million GPE grant to finance 453 new classrooms at the primary school level. It will also provide 100,000 books to pupils and 21,500 sets of teacher guides. A school health component will finance the development of learning materials, the training of about 3,000 teachers and de-worming about 300,000 students at the primary level.
The Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has urged the administration of President George Weah to rethink his decision to put an end to tenured positions at major anti-graft and revenue generating institutions as well as at the Commission itself — warning that such a harsh and undemocratic move would come with dire repercussions.
INCHR Acting Chairman, Bartholomew B. Colley, at a recent press conference, noted that the Commission was purposely established to checkmate government on human rights’ issues in the country as well as promote and protect those pertinent rights.
Colley said absorbing the power and functions of the INCHR and the other affected institutions within the presidency, as President Weah is doing with the willful appointment and dismissal of commissioners, “will be counterproductive to attaining peace and stability.”
President Weah recently proposed a bill to repeal the tenure of heads of some government institutions, including the INCHR, that was passed by the House of Representatives and was awaiting concurrence by the Senate. The proposed legislation seeks to amend Article 15 of the 2005 Act creating the Commission.
Many fear that when this legislation is passed, the INCHR will cease to be an independent Commission with the authority to monitor, protect and promote the rights of Liberians, and all those residing within the jurisdiction of the country.
And like most rights institutions in the world, the Chairman noted,the INCHR is an integral part of the government; however, it is independent in both form and substance, because its role is to objectively bring out issues of human rights violations and hold the government accountable.
The INCHR is vested with the authority to check on governance, the executive, legislature and judiciary with a unique function that involves the protection of various human rights institutions with an exclusive mandate to protect and promote human rights. This core responsibility, Mr. Colley added, places the INCHR in a unique position.
However, President Weah’s decision to bring an end to the independence of the Commission, Mr. Colley said, is raising eyebrows not just internally, but regionally and globally as some fear that the relative gains made in the protection and promotion of human rights in recent years could relapse if the President succeeds in his quest.
He added that attempts to revert the independence of the human rights body by removing the security of tenure will seriously question its autonomy and independence.
“The credibility of the Commission will also be eroded both domestically and internationally as well as cast doubt on Liberia’s commitment to human rights protection and promotion,” he said, adding that such a situation will have adverse consequences on the advancement of peace and stability in the country.
Liberia has acceeded to several international instruments that protect and promote human rights. If the President’s quest comes to fruition, it means the government will be nullifying its commitments to these instruments, Mr. Colley said.
Liberia is a founding member of the UN—a Charter that expresses a strong commitment to the principles of Human Rights; manifested and firmly articulated in the Universal Deceleration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 217A(III) of 10 December 948.
In addition, Liberia is also a state party to the constitutive Act establishing the African Union (AU). The Act creating the African Union expresses deep commitment to human rights and the rule of law.
Article 4(m) of the AU constitutive Acts enjoins on a state to have respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance. The establishment of the INCHR, proponents believe, demonstrates the country’s commitment to these human rights and rule of law.
Additionally, national human rights institutions across the globe are established based on the Paris principles adopted by the UNGA Resolution 48/134 (1993)—which emphasizes that these institutions are part of the Global Human Rights protection mechanism that is localized in the independent jurisdictions.
The Paris instrument warned that state parties must never deviate from the standard established by the document as it is, unfortunately, being done by President Weah and his government.
Fundamental among these principles are the following: a founding constitution or legislative statue, a broad mandate to promote and protect human rights, an independent appointment procedure with terms office specified by law, a pluralist and representative composition, regular and effective functioning and independence from the executive branch
Liberia has also committed itself to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a body established under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in its October 2018 session in Banjul, which accentuated the need for support to the National Human Rights Institutions in Africa as well as to maintain that such institutions remain independent and viable in the sustainable protection and promotion of human rights.
At a recent AU Advisory Board and National Human Rights Network in Africa Policy Forum meeting in Addis Ababa in November, the AU Commission enjoined member states to ensure that all integrity institutions, including human rights institutions, are guaranteed security tenures that ensure independence in the attainment of the objectives of human rights protection and promotion.
However, commissioner James Wade of the INCHR also noted at the press conference that the President’s action is counterproductive to good governance as well as peace and stability.
Mr. Wade noted that the INCHR is saddened by the proposed legislation seeking to amend Article 15 of the 2005 Act creating the INCHR. The proposed bill, in the opinion of the commissioner, undermines the spirit and intent of the Paris Principle as well as Liberia’s treaty obligations both regionally and internationally.
The Commission is of the conviction that repealing the tenure provision for the Commission is contra-positive to pillar three of the President’s own development agenda on “sustaining the peace.”
This pillar is anchored on the rule of law, which espouses a respect for both domestic and international human rights law.
In light of the foregoing, the Commission wishes to remind the government that the INCHR has been accredited as status “A,” thus bringing the Commission on par with others globally that place premium on human rights protection and promotion.
Authorities of the Ministry of National Defense (MoD) on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, clarified that a statement attributed to the Chief of Staff (CoS) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Major/General Prince C. Johnson, III, as published in the Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Observer newspaper was taken out of context, “because he did not threaten ‘politicians’ in any form or manner.”
According to the Ministry, Gen. Johnson’s statement called on media practitioners to promote a cordial working relationship with the security sector, particularly the AFL, instead of taking stories from “politicians” whose intentions would mostly be to gain the confidence of voting populations.
While the story in itself was accurate, the MOD felt the headline, as attributed to Gen. Johnson, was misleading, because he did not threaten to deal with “politicians” for whatever opinions they might have expressed against the security of the state.
“We have a problem with the headline,” Collins said.
At Monday’s event, Gen. Johnson said it will be fair on the part of journalists to contact relevant authorities within the military or at the Ministry of National Defense (MoD) before reporting on sensitive security issues.
According to him, when there is any security issue, journalists should make it their duty to contact some former security experts in the country to get appropriate information on issues.
He said when information pertaining to the movement of troops is not properly handled with adequate knowledge, it could eventually lead to serious security implications, adding that politicians and other stakeholders should be speaking on issues they are well abreast of instead of commenting on mere sentiments.
On the role of the media, Gen. Johnson said building partnership with the media, looking at the critical role it plays in information dissemination, is important because of the partnership between the media and the military and must remain cordial so that the public understands what the army is doing in terms of improving the livelihood of the citizens.
The two-day training aims to strengthen relations between the Liberian media and the AFL and to foster better working relations.
The gathering also sought to discuss how the media, the AFL, and the Defense authorities could foster a better working relationship in the months and years ahead, with the media being used as a channel in reaching out to the public.
The MoD and the AFL see the media as a critical partner in the discharge of their duties as their cordial and harmonious working relationship is important in helping the AFL deliver on their statutory mandate.
Several topics, including “Understanding the Military Environment,” “National Obligations in Handling Security Information,” the “Role of the Media in Reporting Security Issues,” and “AFL Legal System,” were discussed at Monday’s gathering.
Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, Tibli Olandrus Dickson, has described journalists as people tasked to play a critical role in ensuring the peace and security of the state.
Dickson’s statement comes in the wake of comments made by a Representative on a local radio station that the ministry was training some militias at one of the AFL training facilities.
Minister Dickson said that it was unfortunate for a journalist to host such a person who does not have any knowledge or know the consequences when a prominent person, particularly a lawmaker speaks on security matters on the radio or tells the newspaper without underlining the consequences to national security.
“The training that was taking place at the AFL facilities was not militias training or recruitment, rather a training of some Executive Protection Service (EPS) officers, and that the graduation was even witnessed by some legislators,” he clarified.
Dickson then called on journalists to be patient whenever they want to get information, particularly when it relates to security or the military because some of the information you may hear from the army are “strictly confidential and not for public consumption.”
He said because of the critical role journalists play in ensuring the security of the state, it is necessary to partner with them to ensure that the right information regarding the safety of the state is made public. On the development of the military, Dickson said the soldiers are no longer considered as ‘uneducated’ as they were being described in the past, adding, “Today, we have a professional army, some are medical doctors, lawyers, engineers, and professional marines.”
Minister Dickson said that the AFL has representations at the African Union and at the United Nations where they are contributing immensely to the development of the state.
For his part, Daniel Nyan-Konah, secretary-general of the Press Union of Liberia, who proxied for the president, Charles Cuffey, lauded the MoD authorities and the AFL for training journalists on how to report on military issues.
According to Nyan-Konah, the two-day training provided to the Liberian journalists was groundbreaking, because the world today is more competitive, and therefore, urged his colleagues to be innovative in projecting themselves when it comes to the interest of the state.
By Alonzo N. Perry
Residents of Gold Camp, Grand Cape Mount County in Gola Konneh District, late Monday afternoon were met with astonishing news of the death of a 28 year-old man, identified as (Daddy Boy), whose body was discovered in his room lying in blood with a deep wound in his left chest at about 5:p.m.
According to residents in the area, the deceased was familiar to them, because he was always helpful and most of all a well-known community football player, who hailed from the Sinkor area in Montserrado County.
“He was here, hoping to work with Bea Mountain mining company,” a source close to the deceased explained with regret.
A resident of the house where the body was found explained that Daddy Boy usually goes to bed very late.
“He was warned several times, but would not listen. Sometimes he would come home between 1:a.m. and 3:a.m. For this reason, doors were kept open till the next day in order to avoid disturbance.
He said Daddy Boy was not a bad person, but friends he was moving with, were not too good for him.
“I was only doing this because this place is an illicit gold camp, and anyone might harm you and run with impunity (jungle justice),” he added.
According to the resident, the deceased was out Sunday night as-usual and could not speak a lot more about what happened to him during that night whether outdoors or in as he was from deeply sleeping.
Unconfirmed reports say “Daddy Boy was brutally murdered allegedly by a suspect only identified as ‘Ansu,’ a diver; reportedly accompanied by ‘CIC,’ a commercial motorcyclist of the same community. Both are said to be currently on the run.
During the night while the victim was out clubbing with friends, he encountered a bitter argument with suspect Ansu, which led to a fist-fight, and so Ansu threatened to pay back after he was defeated in the fight.
An eye-witness (name with-held), said the perpetrators were both longing to find Daddy Boy’s residence that entire night after the fight, between the hours of 12: a.m. and 1:a.m. Monday. However, the eyewitness did not know what was the reason they were looking for Daddy Boy.
“Ansu and Daddy Boy were long time rivals, two of them were loving to the same girl before, and have had confusion about this. So last night Ansu was beating on one other girl in the club and Daddy boy tried stopping him, saying ‘Beating on women is not a good thing to do,” the witnesses, who requested to remain anonymous, said.
“Ansu told them, ‘So you want take this girl from again like you took the other girl from me before?” the eye witness narrated.
However, there was evidence of foul play on his body, as reported by a seven-man team comprising a coroner, town elders and resident PA and nurses, who conducted an investigation and witnessed by officers of the Liberian National Police detachment from Tubmanburg.
The deceased has been taken to Tubmanburg for medical observation, while a haunt for the suspect continues.
The Tarpeh, Nmah and Lopez Families have announced with deepest regret the home going of Dr. Dominic N. Tarpeh, former Deputy Director of the Liberian Institute of Public Administration; former Vice President for Administration, University of Liberia; Former Senior Program Manager, Governance Commission; current Chairman of the Board, the University of Liberia.
This sad event occurred on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at his residence on the Old Congo Town Back Road, following a protracted illness. He was 74.
Dominic Nmah Tarpeh was born in Kumasi, Ghana on October 14, 1944 to the union of Mr. Anthony Nyepan Tarpeh and Madam Fannon Belloh. They were part of the sizeable number of Kru people that migrated to the then Gold Coast in the early part of the 20th century. Dominic and his younger brother James N. Tarpeh obtained their early education at a Catholic middle school in Accra, following the completion of which their father sent them to Liberia, at the invitation of one of their uncles working in Sanniquellie, Nimba County. Dominic and his brother enrolled in the Sanniquellie Central High School, where Dominic obtained his high school diploma. As top of his class, he won the W.V.S. Tubman scholarship awarded to all valedictorians and salutatorians throughout the country. That led Dominic to Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University), where obtained the Bachelor of Arts degree.
Leaving Cuttington where he did so well, Dominic was awarded a fellowship by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to study Public Administration, obtaining the Master’s and doctorate degrees. He returned home and became part of the group of young people that founded the Liberia Institute of Public Administration (LIPA).
In 1972 while doing the first part of his graduate work at University of Pittsburg, Dominic met and befriended a beautiful young lady from Trinidad and Tobago (the West Indies), named Verda Lopez. They were married on July 28 that same year and the marriage was blessed with three children — two daughters and a son.
During the war Dominic and his family he settled in Ghana, where he soon found employment with the Association of African Universities. It was these experiences with institutions of higher education that led him, upon his return to Liberia, to become involved with the University of Liberia. There he was appointed Vice President for Administration and later as Chairman of the UL Board of Trustees.
He leaves to mourn his loss his wife, Mrs. Verda Tarpeh, daughters Dwede and Tele Tarpeh, son Dominic, Jr. and a host of family and friends.
His remains are presently deposited at the Samuel Stryker Funeral Parlor. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.
To ensure better protection of intellectual property (IP) and economic growth and competitiveness, as well as encourage innovation, the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) is expected to launch the first web portal for online filing of IP registrations for all art related works in the country.
The launch, which will take place on Friday, December 14, will allow businesses and other stakeholders, including creatives, to register of their respective trademarks, patents, and copyrights online.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, December 11, Director General, Atty. P. Adelyn Cooper said the facility would also enable online application filing and tracking system, complete validation of trademarks data and an online search of trademark database and Liberia’s 2016 IP law.
“We called you here today to inform you of the launch of LIPO official website and newsletter, a great initiative undertaken by this institution to promote, safeguard and create awareness on IP,” she said.
The coming forth of this web portal, according to Atty. Cooper, will foster awareness of the basics and importance of IP through the posting of the country’s IP law online.
She said the step will positively impact the IP ecosystem of Liberia, and it is a step forward in educating citizens about their rights and the potential to exploit the power of IP at its best.
“The move to transit from paper to online registration comes with lots of benefits which include enhancing and fast-tracking IP registration process and the online database that will handle the publication of IP titles for the public,” says Atty. Cooper.
Atty. Cooper, the former acting director for Felonious Crimes at the Ministry of Justice, emphasized that the IP database will be free and provide easy access for research by IP agents and anyone who wishes to find information or register a patent, industrial design or trademark. The database will also serve multiple purposes including IP research and IP rights protection.
Atty. Cooper added, “The website portal is intended to protect local innovation, invention, creators, and users of IP rights. At LIPO we are utilizing ICT tools to establish our presence in global intellectual property to foster creativity for economic growth and development in Liberia.
“We have embarked on a lot of information and communications technology (ICT) projects to provide time-saving IP business processing, support the availability of IP information and to encourage IP rights protection and to create a functional and sustainable IP system in Liberia.”
She said LIPO is also initiating the mobile money transactions where applicants will pay their registration fees through Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
The Liberia Intellectual Property Office is a merger of the Liberia Industrial Property and the Liberia Copyright offices. LIPO is responsible for the formulation of policies on intellectual property rights and/or intellectual property regulations and to grant applications for patents including utility models, copyright-related rights, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications; and layout-designs (topographies) of integrated circuits, among others.
The disabled community will this Christmas season have a reason to smile as Dr. Malachi Z. York Foundation in collaboration with LIFESPAN-Liberia has announced a package of white canes, cash and food items.
Representatives from the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Information are expected to attend the donation ceremony, which will take place on Wednesday, December 19 at the campus of the School of the Blind and the Deaf in Virginia, Lower Montserrado County.
According to a press release from the Foundation, the amount of US$1000 and 80 canes will be presented to provide fuel, upkeep of the international sign language education and the easy movements of the visually impaired persons.
It can be recalled that on July 2 of this year, the Foundation partnered with the Liberia School of the Deaf and implemented the International Standard Language Education (ISLE) Program.
The York Foundation partnership with LIFESPAN-Liberia was launched to have American Sign Language (ASL) educators throughout the world teach the students at the Liberia School of the Deaf via a live online platform accessed through the portable Wi-Fi laptop.Dr. Malachi Z. York Foundation
A monitor and generator donated by the Foundation for the implementation of the pilot program are used for the educational process in Liberia. This program is realized by a partnership with Dr. Ashia James of Educational Hands, LLC. Dr. James is a Certified ASL Interpreter in the United States and professor at the University of Georgia at Athens. On every Friday, Educational Hands holds an instructional class for the students at the Liberia School of the Deaf, which assists them in standardized communication.
“Our ongoing partnership with the Liberia School of the Deaf includes an agenda that will generate and pull donors and sponsors to the school as outlined in our memorandum of understanding, and to actively take part in a concentrated effort to assist in the education of students and the maintenance of the school, food expenses, staff salary, and stationery costs at its location in Virginia in Montserrado County, or any other location(s) where the School of the Deaf may be interested in opening its annex,” the release said.
The release further said that the Foundation’s new partnership with the Liberia School of the Blind will implement a community agricultural program in partnership with Habesha, Inc., a non-profit organization located in the United States and Ghana. Habesha aims to create sustainable income as well as value and skills addition to the students that will assist them in gaining income after graduation.
These programs are to be specifically aligned with the national agricultural plan of President George Weah’s Pro-poor agenda to allow people with disabilities to actively participate and assist in Liberia’s national development.
An Associate Dean at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia (UL) said he believes that the idea behind the establishment of the War Crimes Court should be effectively communicated to not make it appear as witch-hunting.
According to Cllr. Jarmal Dehtho, citizens need to understand that there should be an established system with the responsibility to punish people accused of committing crimes against unarmed civilians as documented in the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) report. These perpetrators, he said, should face justice to serve as a deterrent.
“If we have to build a society that is in adherence to the rule of law and, then, we need to communicate effectively with our people so that they can understand that perpetrators of violence must not be allowed to go free. They must be made to account for the crimes they have committed,” Dehtho told journalists recently in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County during the National Convention of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) that saw the election of Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe as president of the bar.
“Citizens should understand that without this court, there would be no punishment on the worst crimes committed by warlords. And these violent leaders [who] continue to plague the country all give reason for concern,” he said.
Dehtho disclosed that citizens need to know that the court has been successful in punishing people who had committed major crimes against humanity in other countries and, as such, it can also be successful in Liberia only if we were to communicate its objectives effectively to the citizens.
With this initiative, the UL Law School Dean believes that it would dispel the notion about the war crimes court being a witch hunt.
“Our citizens should understand that the war crimes court is not about witch hunt, [rather, a means of] holding people accountable on the wrongs they committed,” Dehtho said. “I strongly believe that people who committed crimes during the war should not go away freely but they must be made to account for their wrong.”
Dehtho’s call comes as the debate of the establishment of a war crimes court in Liberia continues to trend on talk shows on nearly all the local radio stations in Nimba County, with many of the callers expressing opposing views taking into consideration the country’s development drives.
As for Saclepea City Mayor in Nimba County, Jeremiah Nyagian condemned the setting up of a war crimes and economic crimes court in the country, “because such exercise would delay the country’s development programs.”
He said, the issue of a war crimes court will be a calculated witch-hunt, where individuals perceived as former fighters from any of the erstwhile warring factions would be targeted. In so doing, he noted, the accused will not have fair justice.
Mayor Nyagian out-rightly condemned those who he said are the proponents for the establishment of war crimes court, asserting that they are not doing any good for the unity of the country.
Nimba County Superintendent, David Dorr Cooper, said if the war crimes court issue is done to cover all Liberians, it will not be fair and would not be considered as justice for all.
On the issues of Gongloe’s election, Dehtho said, was it ensure that the Bar speaks with a unified voice, which the elected president stands for.
“Under Gongloe leadership the Bar will not be silent anymore on crucial national issues. We are going to speak, but with a unified voice,” Dehtho disclosed, adding that although some lawyers individually speak on major national issues, this would not happen during the Gongloe administration.
The Government of Liberia has renewed its unflinching commitment to protect the rights of every citizen and foreign resident within the territorial confines of the country, including women, children and the behaviorally and mentally challenged.
Speaking at the occasion marking the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of human Rights and the International Human Rights Day in Ganta on December 10, 2018, Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean, Jr. said the government, under the stewardship of President George Manneh Weah, remains committed to the rights of all citizens and foreigners, regardless of disability and gender, among others.
“As a nation emerging from civil conflict, when basic fundamental rights were virtually non-existent, there occasioned the crucial and imperative need to establish and develop institutions to safeguard and strengthen various Human rights institutions to ensure that the rights of ordinary Liberians are protected,” he said.
Minister Dean, who proxied for the President as keynote speaker, said, “against this backdrop, the government of Liberia adopted a robust and ambitious plan of action, drafted pursuant to the 1983 Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, which called on state parties to identify and adopt steps safeguard and protect these rights.”
He emphasized President Weah’s continued action to protect, strengthen and support various Human Rights Institutions, as a means of advancing and protecting the rights of ordinary Liberians, throughout the length and breadth of this country, and to ensure that human rights issues remain a high priority.
The Independent National Commission on Human Rights, in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner of Human rights (OHCHR) led the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Human Rights Day.
At the occasion the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection also announced the end of the 16 days of Activism. However, Gender Minister Williametta Saydee-Tarr said the end was just symbolic and does not mean the advocacy will cease.
The occasion began with a parade on the main street of Ganta and ended with an indoor program at the Ganta United Methodist Gymnasium.
There were high profile international dignitaries, including the UN Women Country Director, Mariew Goreth Nizigama; OHCHR Country Representative, Uchenna Emelonye; UN Resident Coordinator, Yacoub El Hillo; ECOWAS Ambassador, Tunde Ajisomo; A representative of the AU and the host of other commissioners of the INCHR, headed by their Acting Chairman, Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley.
This year’s celebration was held under two themes. The international theme was, “Still Working to Ensure Freedom, Equality and Dignity for All,” while the national theme calls for “Sustaining the Peace by Ensuring Dignity for All.”
In his statement, the Acting Chairman of INCHR, Rev. Colley, stressed on the sustaining the peace in the country by ensuring the dignity for all.
However, Justice Minister Dean has disclosed that the government demonstrated its commitment to promote and protect human rights by the inclusion of national human rights action plan in its Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity.
By George Harris and David A. Yates
As part of efforts to improve the economic status to contribute to food security in the rural parts of Liberia, the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) recently made additional recruitment of 3,500 youths that are living at a very low-income level.
The initiative is a continuation of YOP’s Productive Public Works (PPW) program.
According to a release, YOP’s PPW phase-two recruitment exercise was executed for a period of one month across the fifteen counties of Liberia. A total of 129 communities from the fifteen counties were selected during the recruitment process.
Recruited youth who are between the ages 18 to 35 will be incorporated into a special agricultural initiative of YOP, the release said.
In a follow-up interview, YOP National Coordinator, Jesse Bengu, said that YOP agricultural initiative is designed to increase youth earnings but also enhance their entrepreneurial potentials.
“The venture would positively shift and engage their [youth] minds, and promote their ambitions to abandon acts that are counter-productive for society,” Bengu said. “Therefore, in-demand agricultural produce like rice, cassava, eddoes, maize, and vegetables worth paying attention to as it is necessary and would profit those in our program and the nation at large.”
Bengu added that his organization is preparing to drill youth through two operational plans that will help them overcome their economic challenges. First, YOP is offering basic planting tools, and cash as labor subsidies to recruited youth that are from rural communities. Secondly, it is building the capacity of recruited youth through basic financial and small-skills business management training.
The YOP is implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE). It is supported by the World Bank with a 10 million dollar loan to the Government of Liberia.
The project focuses on Pre-Employment Social Support for urban youth between the ages of 15-17 years, and Household Enterprises for Urban Youth as well between the ages of 18-35.
For the Productive Public Works component, the project supports rural youth between the ages of 18-35 years. A total of 15,000 beneficiaries are targeted by December 2020 the end of the project’s five-years term.