By Gwendolyn S. Myers/Founder &Executive Director, Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP)
In the last three years, we have seen a steady growth in the involvement of young people and young at heart in peace and development programmes. These periods would go down in annals of Liberia’s politics as the epochal period whereby the younger generation in Liberia, particularly those in Monrovia received a huge dose of attention from government and non-government organizations.
Starting with the national launch of the UNSCR #2250 in 2016; to ongoing advocacy programme on the New Deal Principles and efforts directed at the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the opportunities created for the mandatory involvement and engagement of young people is growing.
The recent appointment of young people by the current regime is a testament of the important role of young people in ensuring a concrete and tangible road map for sustainable peace in Liberia. We are happy that previous administration saw the wisdom of involving younger generation of Liberia and the resounding election victory of President George Weah and Vice President Jewel Taylor have accounted for the significance focus to youth oriented leadership.
We understand that expectations are indeed high and everyone wants a piece of the action but we would like to reiterate that as part of ongoing enhancement of youth participation programmes, the new Government needs to ensure that all youth-led and youth-based non-government organizations benefit from the Peacebuilding fund which to date has played a valuable role in the meaningful involvement and active participation of young people in peacebuilding programmes.
The need to move on the development aspects of peacebuilding in your government cannot be over emphasized; as the global pooled fund for peace has demonstrated that young people can play a vital role in governance, political and security programmes.
Government should revisit the all important aspect of transparency, accountability and equity in the distribution of resources as well as tools. We need an accountable funding programme of youth impactful schemes that have the inherent capacities to youth entrepreneurial skills to make them self-reliant and wealth creators even as they serve as messengers of peace.
It is our firm belief at Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia that engagement with young people; particularly young community leaders in rural areas is critical for any organization seeking to do business with youth. Giving powers to youth, in our opinion should spur growth and development, not hinder it. We are particular appreciative to FBA for taking the leadership role in this direction.
A new chapter for peace is in our common interest and we, as young people, should not take this lightly. We encourage our new political leaders to work with Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding. There are several pitfalls that need to be avoided so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Ultimately the peace and development programme for Liberia belong to young people and we look forward to continued partnership with our key stakeholders. The quest for peace continues next week when we start to publish writings from other young volunteer peace messengers and until then, let peace be first, peace above all else and may peace prevail.