Ahead of the October 10 presidential and legislative polls, the Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia (YOCEL) has commenced efforts aimed at preventing pre and post electoral violence, particularly among young people.
The group is also campaigning to ensure more women participate in the political process of Liberia, including voting, on October 10.
YOCEL made the call recently when it launched a door-to-door awareness campaign in collaboration with Volunteer Hub Liberia in the Mount Barclay Community sensitizing women and youth about the importance of maintaining peace and disengaging from all violent acts as the country heads to election.
The head of Monitoring and Evaluation at YOCEL, Matthew Karley, earlier conducted an hour long discussion with some youth at a local tea shop where the group discussed the need for young people to engage in peaceful campaign exercises despite their political differences.
“Let us keep the campaign process peaceful by making it issues based, not attacking personalities. Those who are seeking elected offices should explain what they can do for your community if they are elected,” he told the youth.
One of the youth at the tea shop gathering said he was very excited to see his fellow youth coming out to encourage them to avoid violence, especially as it relates to the electoral process.
“I have been here since this election business started, I have not seen young people like you (YOCEL staff and volunteers) coming to us and encouraging us to stay away from violence. My recommendation is that you guys should include us in your next campaigns so that we can be able to carry your messages to our friends who are not here today,” the youth said.
Success Dahn, a Hub Youth Advocate volunteer, encouraged women to remain peaceful, yet be major players in the electoral process.
She urged female Liberians to come out and vote in the candidates of their choice, because their voices are important in the decision-making process of Liberia.
“Yes to peace, no to violence!” she shouted along with other girls. “I encourage you to come out and vote on Election Day and please do not be involved in any violent act. Let us remain peaceful before and after the elections.”
Friday’s event was supported by funding from the Urgent Action Fund through its elections project with YOCEL that seeks to amplify young women’s voices for peaceful, transparent and increased political participation in elections.
YOCEL, is a youth driven organization working to encourage young people to realize their full potential and make an impact in society.
YOCEL said since 2013, it has been working on youth education and development projects in at least 6 districts across three counties (Montserrado, Grand Gedeh & Lofa) directly targeting at least 30 local youth organizations, and indirectly reaching out to over 50,000 young women and men.