Feminist Forum Wants Gov’t Revoke MTM’s Accreditation

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The More Than Me Academy on Ashmun Street.

The Liberian Feminist Forum (LFF) has called on the government to institute psycho-social counseling for students under More Than Me (MTM), particularly those attending the Ashmun Street annex.

The LFF made the call over the weekend in Monrovia when it issued a statement expressing how deeply it was troubled by the report titled, “Unprotected,” that was released by ProPublica and Time Magazine on Thursday, October 11, 2018.

The report detailed horrific incidents of rape, sexual abuse, and exploitation of Liberian children under the care of MTM Academy in Monrovia.

“We want the government to institute measures, including revocation of MTM Academy’s accreditation, and the management of schools under Liberia Education Advancement Program (LEAP),” the statement said.

The LFF also called on the government to reassign all 19 public schools under the management of MTM Academy within the LEAP program.

“To appoint a trustee to take over the affairs of More Than Me (MTM) Academy’s inaugural school on Ashmun Street that is at the center of the allegation. To set up an independent investigation to review the activities of MTM in Liberia beginning from its after-school program in 2011 to the present to determine the full scope and magnitude of the organization’s activities in regards to the safety, security and welfare of these girls under their care,” the statement said.

The LFF also called on the government to demand MTM to make available key documentation to ascertain what actions were taken by the Board if any, and said the documentation should include two reports by senior staff cited in the publication of MTM Risk Management Policy and the video of the interview of McIntosh Johnson and conducted by MTM’s Founder Katie Meyler and MTM’s cameraman Holden Warren.

“To institute an oversight committee to ensure the roll-out and the implementation of the Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Policy (SEA) for NGOs and all public and private education institutions,” the statement said.

The group, however, demands a response from the Liberian government to the “Unprotected” report no later than Wednesday, October 17.

In a statement also, the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL), said it is saddened by the horrifying accounts released to the public recently about how girls were sexually abused at the internationally acclaimed MTM in Central Monrovia.

FeJal said the ordeals of sexual exploitation and abuse meted out against those already vulnerable children as reported by ProPublica News Network are unimaginable that an NGO could carry a humanitarian face yet lead the targeted beneficiaries through another dark and bleak path.

“We called on the government to conduct an immediate full scaled investigation into this report so as to rid the survivors of the nightmare and find closure to the hurts that they have carried for so many years in public glare in the name of seeking assistance for a better future,” FeJAL said.

FeJAL’s statement added, “We are deeply concerned about the well-being of the girls therefore as a media advocate for girls and women in Liberia, we are calling on the government to engage the founder of MTM, Katie Meyler, through her home country to ensure that her NGO is not only ordered shut down immediately but the license given her to run 20 public schools under the Liberia Education Advancement Program (LEAP) program is revoked without further delays.”

FeJAL wants the government to ensure that she is charged, prosecuted and takes full responsibility for the damaged lives and especially for those who are allegedly infected by HIV.

“We demand that government goes a step further by investigating how staffers are recruited so as to relieve the entire board and turn the school over to the Ministry of Education,” FeJAL said.

“We are concerned about the safety of the survivors and students and call on the government to take appropriate actions to ensure that these girls and their families receive medical and psycho-social support so as to ease their pains and they must be protected as they go through unnecessary public attention,” the statement said.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I understand why some Liberian feminist groups are upset about the mistreatment of young girls at MTM. I really, really understand. In other to improve their lavish lifestyles, the bodies of young ladies were used. That is really wrong! The street talk of such a mistreatment is the equivalent of saying “the mistreated young ladies were forced to jump from hot water into a frying pan”. It’s my hope and prayer that the proprietors of MTM will fess up and do what is right from now on. It would have helped if the MTM big whigs could activate their 6th sense, otherwise known as the common sense. But the Big Whigs were so greedy that their frame of reference was shut off. What a shame? Dumb, dumbo!

    The Liberian feminists demand a swift action for the mistreatment of young ladies at MTM from Mr. Weah’s government. The feminists have proposed a revocation of MTM’s accreditation. I have a different suggestion. As much as I understand how disgusted every fair-minded Liberian is about this issue, I sincerely hope that MTM’s license or accreditation will not be revoked.

    First of all, MTM is an NGO, not a government-of-Liberia operated entity. Secondly, some of the funds that are used to operate MTM are contributed from private sources. Finally, a revocation of MTM’s accreditation will cause a lifelong devastation for the students, the parents or guardians of the students. In fact, funding from private sources may dry up overnight. I do not suggest that Meyler and others who are involved should escape punishment. Not at all! What I suggest is this: MTM should be allowed to operate with a new team of caring operators.

    • Well said F. Hney, with its survivor MTM should employ new management and the organization should be closely scrutinize with oversight from the ministries of Gender and education respectively.

  2. Remember the saying, “Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
    What has or is happening with this organization is a representative of what’s happening
    within a lot of organizations, perhaps, not on the same scale or level. We all want to believe that
    had good intentions starting out but those intentions were distorted and thwarted over time. We don’t want to shut MTM down, except the law says it. As John Adams said, “We are a government (Country) of laws, not of men.” Lets try and salvage this relationship and extract as much good as we can out of it. First, lets help the victims and their families with whatever help they may need based on recommendations from trained medical professionals capable of handling these types of cases. Second, Lets ensure that there are real and concrete reforms from licensing agencies in Liberia in order to prevent a recurrence of this type of egregious and inhumane behavior within any NGO’S or PVO’s. Third, Let MTM get back to its core mission of transforming young lives from the ravages of war and poverty into empowered, educated and dynamic young people, the lifeblood and future of any country! Yes, Liberia needs genuine partners that have good intentions and behaviors that are aligned with those intentions as opposed to those who want to exploit our situation because we are disadvantaged. The world is watching how we handle this delicate situation.

  3. We need answers. #MTM Board,School Principal and Teachers should be summon by the House of Representatives for questioning. LNP I am sure is on top of the case/investigation. This should had been a happy place and I;m sure it was for lots of kids. But, it was also a place of TORTURE, EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL PAIN FOR LOTS OF KIDS ALSO.
    wE MUST GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS. tHIS LEVEL OF WICKEDness COULD NOT HAD GONE ON THIS LONG WITHOUT COVER UP.
    ALL the girls should be tested and bill to MTM. Medications ad welfare should be paid for by MTM.

    After the investigations and findings. a New Board and School Staff should be put in place. The Ministry of Gender should have social workers assigned to that school to interview girls unannounced after aeverything has been settled.
    There must be consequences for this level of evil. The chief predator is dead but was he a lone wolf??

  4. Madden, Diggs and Joan ..

    In my view, all three of you have spouted reasonable viewpoints. Whereas “some” people are calling for a complete shutdown of MTM, all three of you have made impassioned suggestions. Guess what? That’s how people ought to think. Let’s hope that MTM is allowed to exist.

    Some Liberians seem to have a gripe against the US. They’re wasting their precious time and by doing so, they aggravate their BP. The truth is that we need the US more than they need us. MTM is not run by the Americans! Rather, a down-to- earth lady who happens to be an American runs the privately funded NGO. So Why do some in Liberia attack MTM as an American NGO? Has there been a Liberian NGO anywhere?

    MTM should be allowed to do its job of saving humanity in Liberia. The very Liberian men whose insatiable appetite for sex have exposed them as fools should be severely punished. Meyler should be warned sternly warned about civering up.

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