Addressing Drug Addiction in Liberia

(From left) Atty Samuel Kofi Woods, Bishop Guy Paul Noujaim and Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, at the Oum el Nour Liberia head office in Congo Town

To expand its drugs prevention programs, Oum El Nour Liberia solicits public, private sector support 

In the midst of increasing reports of drug abuse across Liberia, as well as the sub-region, Oum El Nour Liberia, a non-profit organization, has called on individuals and philanthropists to partner with them in order to expand its programs across the country.

Oum El Nour in Arabic means “Mother of Light”.

The call is based upon several engagements the organization has made over the last two years with at-risk youth by creating awareness in communities about the abuse of drugs and other harmful substances in Liberia.

In a summary report of the year 2019 under review, Sele Max Fuah, Program Officer of Oum El Nour-Liberia, told the gathering that the organization has been taking the lead in engaging young people, parents, and children to help prevent the use of drugs among the youths, noting that there are challenges in terms of expanding its programs to other parts of the country.

“We are challenged; we want to reach out to more young people. Therefore, we need sponsors who will help us intensify our engagements in Liberia and not Monrovia only,” he said.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Fuah revealed that in May of 2019, following several activities that yielded positive results, the entity thought it wise to include a football club, called Mother of Light FC, as part of its activities in the Barchue community, Congo Town, a suburb of Monrovia. This idea, he said, was intended to keep youths engaged through sports, education, and mentorship.

Currently, he said, the Mother of Light FC consists of three teams, with 80 players, 32 of who are on scholarship in eight different schools in and out of the Barchue community.

He explained that after carefully observing that many young people were not in school and lacked extra-curricular activities (including social and educational), the organization deemed it important to design school clubs which, he said, is aimed at nurturing Liberian youth with messages that are uplifting, transformative and life-changing.

“Over the last few years, we have impacted the lives of many young people. We want to expand our programs and we have a lot of programs including the Light Club program, initiated to provide awareness, and activities that highlight the prevention of addiction. It targets the generation of teens that are fragile and could be at risk of becoming addicted,” he added.

He said the Light Clubs are responsible to set the platform for providing awareness on prevention from addiction, which has been making a serious impact since its establishment. The idea is to keep youths engaged through sports, education, and mentorship.

The organization also has a Partnership with the Mother Patern College of Health Sciences and has reached out to 8 additional schools, where 18 students were trained as peer educators and more than 200 students reached with the drugs prevention messages.

Mr. Fuah disclosed that the organization also has another program called “We-Connect.” He explained that the program is a community-based drug prevention initiative which is intended to raise awareness on substance use and addiction within communities. The program, he indicated, consists of three main components that include parents program, youth, and adolescent as well as children’s program.

Under the ‘We Connect program’, the entity has trained peer educators who are currently serving as ambassadors in various communities.

However, following the organization’s call for support, several individuals and heads of private and public sector organizations, including fraternal groups who attended the meeting, noted that the mission and vision of Oum El Nour are welcoming and therefore they would work along with them to achieve this great vision.

Fuah and Edmond Taylor, both professional Liberian social workers, underwent six months of intensive training at Oum el Nour’s headquarters in Lebanon in 2017.

Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, used the occasion to thank the organization, stressing the need to be integrated into existing programs.

Minister Jallah, who spoke briefly at the meeting, said the issue of prevention is key and therefore the MOH will be willing to work with Oum El Nour to achieve its objective.

The founder and president of the organization, Bishop Guy Paul Noujaim, through an interpreter, expressed delight over progress made so far in Liberia, describing it as a success story.

chaired by its chairman, Atty. Samuel K. Woods, the meeting was also graced by the Ambassador of Lebanon accredited to Liberia.

Chaired by Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, Oum el Nour Liberia is a non-governmental organization established under the auspices of the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) of Liberia.


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