UN Resident Coordinator lauds youth as 'amazing individuals and heroes'- as Government marks first transition of rehabilitation for at risk youth
12 January 2023
UN Resident Coordinator, Niels Scott, spoke on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at graduation ceremony of the youth rehabilitation programme in Margibi County.
Thirty youth graduated the first phase of the detoxification and rehabilitation programme established by the government with support from the UN in Liberia and partners. The programme entailed receiving psyco-social and community re-entry support, as well as various training programs that would give them some basic skill-sets.
Mr. Scott noted that the United Nations was proud to be a part of such an essential initiative in Liberia. He said, "Liberia has made significant gains toward sustaining peace over the last 15 years through two democratic transitions. However, the socio-economic impact of the war continues to impede peace-consolidation and social cohesion efforts". "Liberian youth need empowerment, skills, business capital, TVET to have a chance to contribute to the development of Liberia", Mr. Scott said. He further stated that Government and Partners are making effort to prevent the supply of drug in the country at the various port of entries but there are still a lot of challenges in term of strengthening deterrents.
He stressed that the road ahead is long but that the UN is committed to this youth initiative and would continue to support youth programmes in Liberia.
The President of the Republic of Liberia, His Excellency George Manneh Weah, along with an array of Government officials were also present to mark the occasion.
Speaking at the ceremony, the President thanked the graduates and extended heartfelt best wishes to them on their transition to a new and productive life.
“Go forth from this program with your heads held up high, and make Liberia proud of you,” Dr. Weah said.
He said as a Government, “we have made an initial contribution of US$1m to kick-start the Fund Drive, and we intend to provide an additional Two Million United States Dollars to be appropriated within this year’s budget to support this program.”
Dr. Weah said the first batch of the graduation of 35 former “at-risk youths”, their transition after detoxification is a manifestation of the seriousness that he attaches to this program and a demonstration of his personal commitment to rehabilitate these young people, and fast-track their return to society as productive citizens.
Funds are being raised under the Fund Drive, and other facilities are now being prepared to deal with the vast majority of these At-Risk youths, which some estimates suggest number more than 130,000,” President Weah said.
He noted that the transition and transformation of the former “at-risk youth” is a significant first step because it is proof that “we can make a significant change in their lives and livelihoods if only we can combine political will with passion, and apply it with compassion”.
Gradiah Walker Bou Hussein
Associate Development Coordination Officer
Programme Communications & Advocacy