By Gwendolyn S. Myers/Founder &Executive Director, Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP)
Monday 22nd January 2018 was not just any day; it was an extraordinary day by every definition of the word for Liberians, it was historical, inspiring and profound. Since Liberia experienced a peaceful and democratic transfer of power seventy-four years ago, with all the many political struggles; many Liberians still stood hopeful to witness a democratically handover of power peacefully.
Dialogue among young Liberians, who came out to show love and happiness, is for the new administration to prioritize youth programmes in a systematic way that provides value to young people. As expected, the talk among young people is the creation of jobs. Most young people are cognizant of the need for vocational skills training programme and would like the new government to create occupational institutions for youth empowerment and employment.
The new government needs to lay their priorities for young Liberians who largely were the driving force for change and for hope. This was a strong message in the current governing Party campaign message coined ‘Change for Hope’.
Messengers of Peace (MOP) Liberia is honored to have played a part in the successful completion of the electoral process; this was not a passing project, but a project that had a clear and emphatic directions for the meaningful involvement, engagement and active participation of young people in governance.
With the inauguration of a new President, Liberia has entered into a new chapter for peace and young people would be critical to ensuring advance reconciliation and peace advocacy programmes are entrenched in development programmes.
Every young Liberian is heartened by the acceptance speech of President George Weah in which he acknowledged the support of youths and the directions provided to invest in human capital and foster unity.
On our own part, we would continue the implementation plan for the project on ‘Enhancing Youth Participation in Peace and Governance through enrichment programmes for over twenty five young people from across the 15 counties of Liberia who were provided with the prerequisite skills and knowledge to develop greater understanding of dialogue and mediation that may help them negotiate conflicts in their respective communities.
For an outcome, the trained young people are expected to use acquired dialogue and mediation techniques to more effectively facilitate community discussions on peace and development. The trained young people, it is expected, would serve as volunteers and recruiters of other young people. They would facilitate county’s dialogue and mediation sessions and organizers of other community based projects.
As the young people work in their own communities to promote peace and develop effective ways to tackle conflicts among their peers and others, MOP-Liberia would conduct monitoring feedback visits to these communities, conduct training needs assessment and assist trained mediators to better understand how to bring people to resolve conflicts necessary to peace and development.
Key to the work of MOP-Liberia is structured dialogue, peace advocacy and establishment of mediation groups and network of young mediators.
The months ahead would determine which direction the new administration would take. Ultimately sustainable peace in Liberia depends on us as peace is for everyone. Until next week when we dialogue on ‘A New Chapter for Peace-Part 2, Peace above all else, Peace first, May Peace prevail.