With support from UNICEF Liberia
By Moses Kollie Garzeawu
A youth development organization, Youth Crime Watch of Liberia has conducted a week-long awareness on Birth Registration, violence against children, sexual gender-based violence and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in two Counties in Liberia, affecting Six (6) different project locations.
The awareness targeted communities in Bong and Margibi Counties. They included the Dolo Town General market in Dolo Town, Old Cassava Market Community in Kakata City, the Unification Town Central Point, Charlesville Township, Sanoyea town, and Lofa Road in Gbarnga city. The awareness, lasted from September 25 to October 2, 2020.
Speaking at most the awareness locations; Youth Crime Watch Project Manager, Varney Teddy Wilson, said the Initiative is supported by UNICEF Liberia under the “Let Us Learn Project” which seeks to prevent violence against children as well as reducing the negative impact of poverty, harmful traditional practices and Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
Mr. Wilson further noted that Additionally, the project focuses on capacity building as a means of ensuring child protection for children including adolescent and providing sustainability to community-based programs and improving the wellbeing of adolescents through the delivery of interventions which have a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children and adolescents.
He said the interventions are geared at strengthening community-based child protection mechanism/system to improve children’s care and protection from violence, abuse and exploitation and putting in place measures which increase awareness and ensure the prevention and control of COVID-19, thus reducing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the health, socio-economic wellbeing of people at family and community levels.
During the awareness, the Project team contacted relevant local protection actors, and stakeholders from the Ministry of Health to talk on the process leading to getting birth certificates for children.
Mr. Francis Momo, a Birth Registration Agent from the District Health Office (Ministry of Health, Margibi County) joined the team to talk about the process involved in getting a birth certificate for children between the ages of 0-12 years, and even for adults. He cautions the community to take advantage of proper identification as citizens or residents, by getting their children and themselves register.
The County Commander of the Women and Children Protection Division at the Liberia National Police in Margibi County; Thompson A. Gbassagee, also joined the outreach to informed parents most especially mothers, and community leaders on child protection issues.
Mr. Gbassagee encouraged parents and local authorities to stop compromising abuse against children, most especially Rape in the name of no money or family person. He said the child or children whose futures are being destroyed or abused could be the ones that parents and the community can depend on for the future.
Fatu Morris, one of the participants lauded the Project team of Youth Crime Watch of Liberia, and local protection actors for such an awareness. She urged parents to stop Child abuse and to report cases of abuse against Children to the Liberia National Police for speedy justice and ensure safety for their children.
Also in Bong County, the County Child Welfare officer Mr. Jallah Korboi, used the occasion to deepen participants’ understanding of child protection issues, and sensitized parents on making sure that their child/children are protected from all forms of violence.
The Outreach brought together over six-hundred fifty (650) men, women, and children across the six project locations in the three Counties.
Youth Crime Watch Liberia with Support from UNICEF is hoping by 2024 2024, boys, girls including adolescents at risk of and victims/survivors of violence, abuse and exploitation, including gender-based violence have improved access to effective, equitable and quality prevention and response services including birth registration. Access to continuous child protection and Gender Base Violence services (COVID-19).