In its 4th Youth Peace Summer Camp, Messengers of Peace (MoP) Liberia on September 4 certificated 75 youths in Environmental Peace with emphasis in “Stimulating Youth Participation in Peacebuilding through environmental action for clean, green and safe communities.”
Held at the Len Millar High School in Sinkor, this year’s theme, “Environmental Peace” addressed some of the most recurrent issues by creating decent cities and clean and green environments.
Camp participants came political subdivisions across Liberia, including Maryland, Lofa, Grand CapeMount, Margibi, Sinoe, Grand Bassa, Gbarpolu, Bong, Nimba, Bomi and Montserrado counties, with equal gender representation.
The month-long camp brought together youths between the ages 8-29, addressing issues of proper waste management and disposal habits, water and sanitation, coastal actions, trees planting, and as well implemented multiple cleanup campaigns.
The Call for Clean, Green and Safe communities is entrenched in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 2250 and 2419 and Sustainable Development Goals 3, 11, 16 and 17.
The camp featured prominent Liberian educators and leaders from the Environment Protection Agency of Liberia and other professionals from all walks of life.
One of the facilitators, Kanio Bai Gbala, a lawyer and development activist, facilitated a session on the Liberian Constitution. Bernice Savanno, Grant Management Specialist at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, facilitated sessions on team-building; Neima H. Candy facilitated a session on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights; B. Garmondyu Zogar, a renowned Liberian Chevening scholar, experienced development practitioner and management systems professional, facilitated a session on research.
Maestro Wilmot K. Bobbroh, III, a prolific Liberian Musician and Executive Director of the Liberia National Academy of Music and The conductor of the Liberia Premier Choral Society, also facilitated sessions on music
Some of the thematic areas of discussion during the period included Environmental Peace, Understanding Conflict, UNSCR 2250 & 2419, Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRS), Sports for Peace and Development and Public Speaking, among others.
The camp was divided into two sections: adolescents, comprising 27 students and the young adult class, comprising 48.
Elizabeth Doeblah, Officer in Charge at Messengers of Peace, said the facilitators pilot initiatives with campers as they engaged some of the most pressing environmental challenges by reaching out to local communities, while working parallel with SDGs 11, 3, 16 and 17.
Over 25 youths were recruited as MOP network volunteers to give back to their communities. “As we train young people, we don’t leave them to go. We bring them into our own space to work with us in making positive impacts in our society”, Elizabeth said.
Bill Evans Gbafore, MOP’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, said the organization’s network of volunteers is spread across all 15 counties and they are being engaged for various learning opportunities and community-based programs.
The adolescent class was recruited to form part of the Children Deserve Peace and Security Platform (CDSP), to be worked with closely.
Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee told the graduates, “You don’t have to come from a particular group to be peaceful. Whether you believe in one’s religion or not, peace is collective.”
He said though Liberia is in troubling moments, one thing we should not forget is to remain peaceful and never deviate from the path of peace. “No matter where you are, your little contribution matters.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) applauded MoP and promised to continuously work with the youths to promote a clean, safe and peaceful environment.
“If you cannot maintain your waste, you could be a victim of cholera and harmful diseases. Teach your parents and siblings how to have a proper waste management system”, Tennema Coleman, Head of Outreach and Public Awareness, EPA advised.
Elizabeth later thanked their Executive Director, Ms. Gwendolyn Myers, who’s currently out of the country on a global mission. “I want to say a very big thank you to our ED, Camp Managers and Volunteers at MOP–Liberia especially to the OIC for this year’s Summer CAMP, Ms. Raphaelyn Bomosy and Content Director, Bill Ivans Gbafore, who served as peer leaders and provided managerial and technical support throughout the month.
Messengers of Peace-Liberia Inc (MOP-Liberia) is a non-for profit, nongovernmental, voluntary youth-led peacebuilding organization established in 2008 to promote youth, peace and security in Liberia. MoP-Liberia has partnered with relevant organizations, government, media and professional youths to lead community initiatives and youth-driven dialogues across local communities on environmental peace, particularly focused on fostering unity and social cohesion through different community service programs.