The Ministry of Education (MOE) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Tuesday, February 18, launched a new supplementary reader, aimed at promoting peace and reconciliation in Liberia.
The ceremony took place at the Gray D. Allison Public School in Monrovia attended by officials of the Ministry of Education, students of Gray D. Allison and UNICEF Representative Sheldon Yett, as well as the Liberia Association of Writers, (LAW)and others.
The supplementary reader is an integrated education package that will be used in schools to promote among children, parents, teachers within their various communities, a culture of tolerance, reconciliation, and peace in the country.
The special representative of UNICEF, Sheldon Yett, said UNICEF had developed the reader in partnership with the Liberia Association of Writers and a group of Liberian artists and designers. The reader was finalized following a series of consultation with partner ministries, parents, teachers, and children.
The book—Sara and the Plum Tree Palaver—is a story of 12-year-old Sara, who successfully solves a land dispute between her father and uncle through peaceful dialogue.
She reminded the quarreling parties that Liberia was celebrating a decade of uninterrupted peace from a stable government and support from development partners. That development evidenced progress in infant and child survival by increasing access to primary education, child protection services, providing potable water, and improving sanitation in the country.
According to the representative, it is imperative that peace and stability is sustained and reinforced by addressing key conflict-driving issues including land disputes, which remain a common problem around Liberia.
The Sara and the Plum Tree Palaver emphasizes the importance of solving land and others dispute through peaceful dialogue, which is developed as part of a multi- country UNICEF program with support from the government of Netherlands, to promote a culture of tolerance, reconciliation, social cohesion, and peace.
The book, according to UNICEF, will not only be used as supplementary reading material, but would serve as a tool to engage children and adolescent in active and meaningful dialogues, debates and consultations, on how to maintain peace in the country.
The book will also create awareness among parents and community members on girl’s emancipation, gender equality, and children’s rights, which bring togetherness.
The Sara series of comic books is based on UNICEF’s Sara Communications Initiative which is an integrated education and entertainment package that is also promoting child rights and gender issues in a way that is relevant to African communities, basically using the adventures of Sara to promote children’s rights.
Meanwhile the Deputy Minister for instruction at the Ministry of Education has called on children to prepare for the challenges ahead of them if the future of Liberia is to shine on the generation to come.
The Minister said that in order to make a positive impact on the rights of children, Liberia must re-cast the abstract right and issues faced by children into the language and daily reality that all young people can identified with.
She expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Youth and Sport, Liberia Association of Writers, extremely talented national artists, designers and other partners for their role in making the occasion a success. She hoped that the book will be used through innovative reading sessions, which would impacts the lives of Liberians.