Vol. 4, No.UNMIL 02 FOCUSDecember 2007 - February 2008

Road Rehabilitation Creates More Jobs Listening to the Youth Telling the Truth Message from the Special Representative of the Secretary-GGeneral

recent visits to by United States regard. President George W Bush, Executive Liberia is no longer a “failed state”, Director of UNICEF Ann Veneman and but education, health, employment cre- the President ation, poverty alleviation and infrastruc- underscored the importance the interna- ture development are all in need of urgent tional community attaches to Liberia’s support from bilateral and multilateral transition to peace and development, and partners to back up the Government’s the confidence that external stakeholders own efforts. Investments in infrastructure have in the government’s reconstruction and energy supply, in particular, are criti- and development agenda. cal to sustained growth. Since Liberia The Mission in cannot meet these investment needs from Liberia (UNMIL) will continue to support domestic sources alone, external assis- the Government in its efforts to consoli- tance is critically needed to fill the gap. date peace and take the country forward The UN family in Liberia will contin- t is a privilege for me to have on the path to reconciliation and develop- ue to actively assist the nation to deal assumed my duties in Liberia as ment. A lot more remains to be done with the massive challenges that it still the Special Representative of the before Liberia can fully emerge from the faces. The County Support Teams (CSTs), Secretary-General at a time when shadow of conflict and UNMIL will work backed by UNMIL and UN funds, pro- the country, under the dynamic to ensure a secure environment across the grammes and agencies, are actively Ileadership of President Ellen Johnson nation to facilitate successful and sustain- engaged in all 15 administrative counties Sirleaf, is moving forward from devasta- able development. to support local authorities in designing tion to recovery and getting firmly set on UNMIL’s planned drawdown is being and implementing community develop- a course of peace consolidation and executed in a calibrated and prudent man- ment projects. This initiative lays empha- national renewal. ner without compromising the Mission’s sis on locally-driven development to spur While the international community’s ability to deal with threats to the security economic growth and aligns UN assis- attention is increasingly shifting to of the nation. The adjustments in troop tance with the country’s own develop- emerging hotspots elsewhere in the strength are linked to the accomplishment ment agenda. world, Liberia is quietly undergoing a of a number of core benchmarks, most As before, let us continue to work revolution every day. Although it may importantly Liberia’s own capacity to with utmost dedication and commitment take some years to heal the wounds take over responsibilities for national to help Liberia achieve lasting peace, sta- caused by the prolonged civil war, the security. To this end, UNMIL will contin- bility, development, and to heal the days of fighting are over and Liberians ue to train and mentor the new Liberia wounds inflicted by the abuses and vio- are now full of optimism for a better National Police and also support the lence of the past. I am optimistic that future. rebuilding of the new Armed Forces of together we can achieve what the people As we have seen in many parts of the Liberia, AFL. Security sector reform of Liberia have been yearning for a long world, rebuilding a shattered nation is a however entails more than police and time – a peaceful, prosperous, stable and long-term endeavour. For some years to military, it also requires efforts to reform democratic nation that upholds rule of come, Liberia will continue to need bilat- and strengthen the rule of law. UNMIL law and offers all its citizens an opportu- eral and multilateral assistance. The will support government’s efforts in this nity to realize their dreams.

Ellen Margrethe Løj Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia

2 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 4 6 8 14 With road works in In a drastic departure from Liberia's Truth and The civil war left most parts progress, Liberia's tattered the past, the government of Reconciliation Commission of the country devoid of infrastructure is getting a Liberia is involving all the (TRC) has begun taking government presence, face-lift, much to the delight segments of the society in testimonies from the vic- leaving the population at of the people. The road identifying priorities that tims and perpetrators of the mercy of warlords and rehabilitation, a combined should be reflected in its the civil war through public violent gangs. Four years effort by the Liberian gov- Poverty Reduction hearings. The TRC has ernment, UNMIL, the World Strategy. Among those who been established to since the war came to an Bank, UN agencies and a were involved in country- address Liberia's past, end, the presence of the host of other partners, has wide consultations held by characterized by appalling Liberian government is also helped create employ- the government were human rights violations, today felt across the nation ment opportunities for Liberia's children and including sexual violence, but lack of infrastructure many Liberians, contribut- youth. A report on the to promote national recon- poses a key challenge. ing to the welfare of local views and concerns raised ciliation and healing of the communities. by this group. wounds of war.

IN THIS ISSUE Special Representative of the Secretary-GGeneral and Coordinator 4 Road Rehabilitation Creates More Jobs of United Nations Operations in Liberia 6 Listening to the Youth Ellen Margrethe Løj

8 Telling the Truth Deputy Special Representative of the 10 Armed Forces Take Shape Secretary-GGeneral for Recovery and Governance 14 State Authority Extended, But... Jordan Ryan 16 Revamping the Health Sector Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-GGeneral for Rule of Law 18 Mountains of Waste Henrietta Mensa-BBonsu

20 Interview: Ellen Margrethe Løj Chief of Public Information 22 Youth in Volunteer Initiative George Somerwill 24 Women Surge Ahead Editor and Head of Publications Mathew Elavanalthoduka 26 Grow What You Eat Staff Writers 28 Stand up to be Counted Sulaiman Momodu 30 Spotlight on Street Children Rebecca Bannor-AAddae J. Wesley Washington 32 Millennium Villages Design and Graphics 34 Zoellick Pledges World Bank Support Paddy Defoxy Ilos, II

35 UNICEF Boss Veneman Visits Liberia Published by the Public Information 36 Pakistanis Contribute to Peace in Liberia Office, United Nations Mission in Liberia 38 Liberians Speak [email protected]

Printed by Buck Press Ltd., Accra,

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 3 Road Rehabilitation Creates More Jobs By Sulaiman Momodu

ith bulldozers, graders, pavers and other heavy equipment littering ’s Tubman Boulevard, major road worksW on the city’s main thoroughfare have resulted in heavy traffic jams across the entire metropolitan area. Yet, nobody is complaining. “I am happy to see that our roads are being fixed. Look at the work that is going on – it is just beautiful,” says Yatta Kamara, a resident of the capital. As a result of years of neglect and a devastating civil war, most of Liberia’s primary and secondary roadways lay in ruins. Pothole-infested roads in the capital cause traffic congestion and wreck the vehicles that ply them. “If I take my taxi on a bad road especially during the rains and it gets damaged, where will I get money to feed my family?” asks a cab driver. Although UN peacekeepers have been repairing roads and bridges beyond the call of their duty throughout the coun- try since April 2004, their efforts have been just a drop in the ocean. For Liberia’s new government and the population as a whole, road rehabilitation is a major priority, as echoed from deliber- ations of the ongoing County Development Agenda process. This year, in the national budget, the government has allocated over US$ 5.3 million for high- way maintenance and rural roads, which is integrated with international assistance for public road infrastructure through the Roads and Bridges Working Group of the “Infrastructure and Basic Services” Pillar (Pillar IV of the Poverty Reduction Framework). Through the provision of technical support from the Ministry of Public Works

4 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 INFRASTRUCTURE

(MoPW), non-governmental organisa- ILO, and German Agro Action. tions, bilateral and multilateral agencies, In her annual address to the National including the United Nations system, Legislature in late January this year, USAID and the EC as well as the civil President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said of the society and the private sector, are all total road network of 6,162 miles, only involved in road works with major contri- 456 miles is paved and that 1,500 miles of bution provided by the World Bank (WB). feeder roads were largely back to bush. In 2007, the WB committed over The Liberian President has encouraged US$30 million for roads. “The World Liberians to exercise some patience over Bank has provided US$24.5 million in the inconveniences that the rehabilitation funding for the rehabilitation of the major work creates. road corridor between Monrovia to Cotton Because infrastructure, mainly roads, Tree alone. These works involve re-sur- rehabilitation presents a great opportunity facing and rehabilitation activities along for employment creation especially for Monrovia’s main thoroughfares, including unskilled community labourers, the gov- Tubman Boulevard, UN Drive and ernment of Liberia, in mid June 2006, with Somalia Drive,” explains Bronwyn the assistance of partners, launched the Grieve, the Bank’s Infrastructure and Liberia Emergency Employment Basic Services Consultant. Plans have also Programme (LEEP), a framework under been developed for the rehabilitation of which UNMIL and its partners have creat- ed more than 21,000 short term jobs for streets in Monrovia this dry season and skilled and unskilled labourers, represent- next dry season, as well as major road cor- ing more than 500,000 working days. This ridors such as Pleebo-Barclayville and critical contribution of employment to Monrovia-Ganta- Border. peace building efforts in Liberia cannot be The Bank has funded the rehabilitation overemphasized, as it serves economic, of five rural roads including Voinjama to social, political and cultural functions. Zorzor; Zorzor to Gbarnga; Ganta - Preliminary findings from an impact Tappita; Tappita - Zwedru; and Zwedru - assessment conducted by the Liberia Fishtown, totalling about 556 kilometres. Institute for Public Administration to In a bid to prevent rehabilitated roads from determine how income earned from fast deteriorating, WB has committed US$ labour-intensive projects affected stan- 2 million to maintain the five roads for two dards of living in the communities years. Through a tripartite arrangement, revealed that most of the labourers used the World Bank provides funding, UNDP wages earned to rebuild their homes and does the procurement while MoPW and start new livelihood and income generat- UNMIL Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Ethiopian ing activities, especially in Lofa County. and Chinese engineering contingents are “We are very happy to be doing this work engaged in engineering works. Road - helping to rebuild our roads and also get- experts say they are also looking into the ting some money,” says one of the workers possibility of using chemical substance engaged in side-brushing. PermEnzymes 11X, which will preserve Liberians agree that good roads will laterite roads and reduce the cost of reha- impact positively on the country’s hard bilitation, as is done in some countries. earned peace and stability, and will improve trade and commerce and enhance For its part, further to undertaking free movement throughout the country. major rehabilitation works using labour- However, some motorists use vehicles intensive methods under the WB funding, exceeding the designated tonnage on cer- UNMIL is also making available US$ tain roads and bridges, contributing to 750,000 in addition to US$ 400,000 dis- their rapid deterioration and damage. bursed last dry season, to make Primary Engineers say the MoPW should enforce and Secondary roadways accessible strict regulations on maximum vehicle through the year and to preserve the secu- tonnage on roads. Information Minister rity of the country, in line with its man- Dr. Laurence Bropleh says traffic lights date, says Bisrat Habtemichael, UNMIL and speed limitation sign posts will be Rehabilitation and Recovery Officer. installed at key intersections in due course. Some other partners involved in road reha- A driver’s education programme is also to Road work in progress bilitation include USAID, UNHCR, WFP, be re-introduced. Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 5 Liberian children and youth are now getting a chance to have a say in national decision making processes Listening to By Rebecca Bannor-AAddae communities. One demographic group tions were facilitated by the ministries of participating in the process leading up to Gender and Development and Youth and t’s a drastic departure from the past. the drafting of the PRS was the youth. In Sports in collaboration with UNICEF. As the government embarks on a Liberia, children and youth constitute the Youngsters between the ages 14-24 dis- five-year national agenda -- the majority with 55 per cent of the population cussed their dreams and aspirations for the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) below the age of 20. future in line with the upcoming PRS 2008-2012 -- the youth of Liberia, Historically, children and youth in revolving around four strategic pillars: Ihistorically ignored, are getting a chance Liberia, like in many other areas of the security and peace, economic revitalisa- to articulate their needs and vision for the world, have been left out of decision mak- tion, governance and the rule of law, and future of their war-ravaged nation. ing processes. However, governments infrastructure and basic social services. The PRS aims to move the country worldwide are beginning to recognise that Some 40 children and youth assembled beyond interim policy strategies towards this demographic group constitute the in Buchanan representing Grand Bassa sustainable development. How to increase members of society most affected by county. In one exercise the participants economic opportunities? How to create an change while simultaneously being the were divided into smaller groups and chal- environment where everyone has access to most likely agents of change. lenged to draw their personal dreams and basic services? A participatory method In Liberia, the majority of those affect- their dreams for the community and the was developed to find answers to such ed by the 14-year long civil war are the the country. The group of girls aged 13-17 questions and to ensure that the views of youth. Many of whom witnessed or partic- drew books, schools, nurses and sporting all segments of the Liberian population are ipated in gruesome atrocities while nearly gear as symbols for their personal dreams. incorporated in the PRS. The government, all were denied a safe and enabling Football fields, hand pumps, roads and led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, upbringing. Feelings of alienation, frustra- houses represented dreams for their com- recognizes the need to involve people in tion and vulnerability will eclipse in an munities while palaver huts (depicting a decision making processes in order to environment of safe encouragement and forum for open discussions and decision effectively move Liberia forward and to participation. Sustainable peace and devel- making), streetlamps, skyscrapers and air- inculcate a sense of national ownership. opment in Liberia will depend, to a large planes symbolised their vision for the Liberians nationwide gathered in the extent, on placing children and youth at country. final months of 2007 to identify needs as the centre of national policies. More challenges followed. The vari- well as unexplored possibilities in their Children and youth county consulta- ous groups were asked to identify their

6 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 VOICES

Rebecca Bannor-Addae/UNMIL o the Youth nightmares -- possible scenarios that could we’re concerned about is, will all this are really coming out to talk and we’ll do prevent the dreams coming through. The information move outside this room? Will our best to ensure that their views are younger girls highlighted poverty and adults actually not just listen to us but also heard.” sickness. “You can have a hundred schools implement our suggestions?” One important concern that has been but if you’re sick with no access to health- “The children are right,” says Alfred raised during the consultations is that of care, what does a school matter?” asked Mutiti, UNICEF Child Protection security. “It’s very clear from the consulta- Miatta, aged 15. Specialist. “Historically they come from a tions that the girls in particular don’t feel Another consultation exercise demon- background where they’re not regularly secure in their communities whether it is strated that the youth participate little or consulted or given feedback. It is good in school, church or at home,” says Hare. not at all in decision making processes at that they’re raising this very important “We have a serious problem with sexual home, in school or in church. However, point.” harassment and exploitation. Imagine not Jestine, 20, has a different take. “I do think The information collected from the feeling safe when going for choir practice things are slowly changing. At least things nationwide consultations will be consoli- in church.” are better now than just a couple of years dated in a final report underlining major Liberia already has significant policies ago,” she said. “We’ve written petitions cross-cutting issues as well as concerns in place, such as the sexual offences act, advocating for a university and we’ve held that might be unique to certain parts of the the national youth policy framework and peaceful demonstrations. Now they at country. A children and youth working the national policy on education for girls, least invite us when they call for town hall group on the PRS, co-chaired by the meant to protect and ensure the rights of meetings.” Ministry of Youth and Sports and the children and youth in Liberia. However, During the PRS consultations in Ministry of Gender with UNICEF as the implementation of the policies remains a Buchanan the youth spent two days dis- focal partner, has been set up to ensure that huge challenge. cussing ways to improve the future of the issues raised during the consultations Young peoples’ capabilities are vital to Liberia in line with the upcoming national are reflected in the final PRS. Liberia’s development process. If children development agenda. “We share our “The working group meets on a regu- and young people are not given the chance dreams and our fears and our visions for lar basis and it’s a good team that has been to develop and participate in a positive Liberia, our country. We listen to each oth- put together,” says Sam Hare, Deputy way, history has shown us that they could ers views and that’s very helpful and Minister for Youth Development at the easily take the negative path of destruc- inspiring,” said Neejay, 17. “But one thing Ministry for Youth and Sports. “The youth tion.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 7 Telling the Truth

By Rebecca Bannor-AAddae the bullet passed through my flesh. The to promote national reconciliation, the soldiers thought I was dead like everyone Commission is mandated to conduct fter swearing by the bible else and they threw me in the river with all investigations into the gross violations that to tell the whole truth and the other corpses. I can swim and dive, occurred in Liberia between 1979 and nothing but the truth, an that’s what saved me.” 2003. elderly witness starts nar- On the eighth day of public hearings at As the witness continues his testimony rating his experience at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in the hall is quiet and the commissioners are MahareA River bridge, , in Monrovia, the Truth and Reconciliation busy scribbling down questions they may 2002. Commission (TRC) of Liberia is taking want to ask the witness to corroborate his “When the government forces came to testimonies from victims as well as perpe- account of the infamous “Mahare River our area they captured us accusing us of trators of Liberia’s brutal civil war that massacre.” supporting the LURD rebels. They drove lasted 14 years. All warring factions com- The realisation that Liberia, like other us in a pickup, 10 people at the time, to the mitted appalling human rights abuses post-conflict countries, needs to address river. There they executed us. I think we including sexual violence, torture and the past in order to move forward led to were more than 350 people. I was shot but recruitment of child soldiers. With the aim the establishment of the TRC. More than Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL

8 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 250,000 people were killed and over a mil- truth telling, remorse and forgiveness, and working group things started to happen,” lion people fled their homes during 14- depends on the government to institute its says Raphael Abiem, UNMIL Human years of conflict in Liberia. final recommendations. Rights Officer. The TRC/ICGL working “The TRC gives both victim and per- Outside the Centennial Memorial group, co-chaired by the TRC and petrator a chance to come to terms with Pavilion people wait around to enter the UNMIL, was established in early 2007 what happened in this country,” says hall. “The TRC is good for Liberia. I and has since provided the Commission Nathaniel Kwabo, Executive Director of believe that when you confess with all of with extensive technical support in such the TRC. “The TRC fosters an opportuni- your heart, you have changed. You’re no fields as policy guidance and administra- ty to move beyond where we are as a longer that wicked person,” says Evelyn tion. country and as a people haunted by the Toe, who has come to hear testimonies. “I To date the Commission has collected past. We can have all sorts of structures in don’t believe in punishment,” she adds. close to 24,000 statements in Liberia and place that deal with economic develop- Not all Liberians are of such opinion. In amongst Liberians in the Diaspora. When ment and so on, but as long as our wounds the initial stages of the TRC, a segment of the nationwide public hearings close in are not healed, as long as people are not the population argued for a war crimes tri- July 2008, the Commission will have three reconciled, it will be difficult to move on.” bunal with the power to prosecute. “Public months to complete an independent and The Comprehensive Peace Agreement perceptions and expectations are of course accurate record summarizing the findings. signed in 2003 mandated the creation of a a challenge to the TRC,” says Kwabo. The Commission will also recommend national truth and reconciliation commis- “There are some people who believe there measures for national reconciliation. “The sion. Nine commissioners were inaugurat- should be a war crimes court while others report will be presented to the government ed in early 2006 and in June the same year see the TRC as the way to go. We believe and we hope the government will look the TRC was formally launched. that we by now have assured the popula- closely at the recommendations put for- The Commission has the mandate to tion that the TRC is part of the way for- ward in order not to repeat the bitter past,” investigate human rights violations and ward.” says Kwabo. “It’s difficult to say now economic crimes committed between the The Commission is now in the last what such recommendations could be but “rice riots” of 1979 and 2003 when stages of its two-year mandate. There have the TRC may for instance recommend UNMIL was deployed. The Commission been a number of challenges along the reparations to communities where individ- is charged with the responsibility to way including lack of funding. The com- uals have deep physical or psychological address the root causes of the conflict and mission relies largely on donor funding scars as a result of the conflict. It can rec- critically review the past in order to reveal from individual governments and organi- ommend institutional reform as national misconceptions hampering the under- sation and lack of funds halted activities institutions played a key role in violations standing of why there was a war. The final on several occasions until the International during the war.” report by the TRC will recommend meas- Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL) inter- The final report will address essential ures for reconciliation and rehabilitation. vened. ICGL is comprised of a number of questions as to what went wrong, what The Commission can recommend, but governments including the Liberian gov- needs to change and how the people of not grant, amnesty. Although there is no ernment and organisations such as Liberia can effect change. The report could serve as a roadmap for building a inherent prosecution mechanism, the TRC ECOWAS, EU and UNDP. just society free from fear and intimida- can recommend prosecution of individuals “There were indications of having tion. However, the success of the TRC who committed gross violations during the come to a dead end. We didn’t know where depends on the support of the people and conflict. As such the TRC of Liberia is not the process was going but when ICGL the government’s will to implement and an end in itself. It constitutes a forum for intervened and proposed the idea of a institutionalise the recommendations. SIDA Grant For TRC

he Swedish International should provide Liberians with a chance with Liberians to make the TRC process Development Cooperation to talk of what took place during the work. TAgency (Sida) recently provided years of turmoil. The Swedish grant will help a grant of US$1.1 million to further Toga McIntosh, Minister of strengthen essential TRC services such enhance the TRC process. “We’re Planning and Economic Affairs, as national awareness activities, psy- encouraged about the progress that has remarked that continued support from chosocial counselling and security mechanisms for witnesses as well as taken place in the TRC during these partners is vital for the current momen- research support towards completion of past couple of months,” said Anders tum of the reconciliation process the final report. Ostman, Representative of the Swedish through the TRC. He thanked the Other donors to the TRC include the government, during an official signing Swedish government and donors and Danish government, EU, OSIWA, ceremony. Ostman noted that the TRC added that the ultimate challenge lies UNDP and USAID.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 9 Armed Forces Take

By J. Wesley Washington loyalty, duty, respect, selfless sacrifice, Commanders serving with the new AFL integrity, honour and personal courage, he are drawn from the ECOWAS countries of ith the activation in expressed confidence in the newly activat- Benin, Ghana and . They have December 2007 of its ed units to perform their duties well and to been seconded to serve as Captains and first three infantry make Liberia proud. military mentors within the new AFL. companies, Alpha, “Loyalty entails that you bear true Over the next two years, a US private Bravo and Charlie, the faith and allegiance to the Liberian company, DynCorp, will assist with newW (AFL) is all Constitution, the army, the unit and other recruiting, vetting, training and equipping set to have its first battalion later this year. soldiers. Duty means fulfilling your obli- the new army of 2,000 soldiers, including Some 370 trained soldiers, dressed in gation as a soldier. Respect, on the other 94 civil servants for the Defense Ministry. crisp military uniforms and shining black hand, means treating people as they should Although the strength was set initially at boots to match, stood at “attention” on the be treated while selfless service means that 4,000, the size of the new army was scaled grounds of the Barclay Training Center you put the welfare of the nation, army, down due to budgetary constraints. The (BTC) to witness the presentation of the and your subordinates before your own. recruitment and training of the AFL is ‘Guide-on’ to their unit commanders by Honour ensures that you live up to the behind schedule because of earlier funding AFL’s Command Officer-in-Charge, Maj.- army values whereas integrity requires difficulties, which have since been sorted Gen. Suraj Abdurrahman. you to do what is right legally and moral- out and the exercise has resumed at full “The ‘Guide-on’ presented to your ly. Personal courage demands you face speed. companies will serve as your rallying fear, danger or adversity physically and More than four years after deploy- point in building a regimental unit line. morally,” Maj.-Gen. Abdurrahman told ment in October 2003, the troop lev- They are to instill unit pride and comrade- the attentive audience. els of the United Nations ship in members of your respective com- The three Company Mission in Liberia will panies. They are sacred and need to be begin to scale down mar- treated as such,” Maj.-Gen. Abdurrahman ginally in 2008. This is reminded the soldiers. Stressing the army linked to the achieve- core values of ment of a number of core benchmarks,

10 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 SECURITY

have a proud tradition going forward.” He AFL’s first set of Initial Entry Training pledged his Government’s continued sup- Class of 106 soldiers graduated in port to the development of the new army. November 2006. This was followed by The Deputy Commander of Military Advanced Individual Training for the Shape Operations of the United States/Africa group. Thereafter, 48 officers proceeded Command (US-AFRICOM), Navy Vice on to Basic Officers Course after which 11 Admiral Robert G. Moeller, Special Guest were selected to attend the Officers most of them relating to the security at the activation ceremony, noted that the Candidates School where they graduated situation in the country as well as the establishment of the first three companies in March 2007. Nine of them were later region. The activation of at least a bat- of the new AFL is an important step for commissioned in May 2007. talion within the restructured AFL Liberia’s security and stability as UNMIL Since then eight Non-Commissioned and establishment of an Emergency begins its gradual drawdown. “The activa- Officers have undergone further training Response Unit (ERU) within the tion of these units is an example of the out- in Germany while another eight officers Liberia National Police are cru- standing partnership that our nations enjoy have proceeded to the United States for the cial to this proposed drawdown. together; a partnership that demonstrates Infantry, Military Police and Supply The United States the commitment of both nations to securi- Specialist Basic Officers Course. Twelve Ambassador to Liberia, ty cooperation and assistance in Africa,” others have qualified as Military Police. In Donald Booth, whose Vice Admiral Moeller said. addition, 19 soldiers have qualified as Government is underwriting Minister of Defence Brownie J. medics and have teamed up with doctors at the cost of the restructuring Samukai reiterated the government’s the John F. Kennedy Medical Centre to and training of the new armed desire to ensure that the new AFL is pro- enhance their practical knowledge. forces, urged the activated fessionally developed through training On 11 January 2008, 485 soldiers, 17 companies to develop the rep- both locally and abroad. “The way for- of them women, graduated from the Third utation of their individual ward is to ensure that what is being built Initial Entry Training Class after eight units and the new AFL. by the United States through the Security weeks of intensive military training. As of “Above all, your duty is to Sector Reform programme will be sup- February, the strength of the new army is protect the people of ported and sustained by the Liberian 1,131 personnel -- 11 officers, 34 non- Liberia; not just the borders Government in due course. We want to commissioned officers (NCOs), 1,046 sol- or the Government, but the make sure that they have the necessary diers and 40 members of the AFL band -- people and to respect the logistical support so that they will perform a little over half of the projected figure to rights of the people,” he their duties unhin- become the first core elements of the tar- said. “If you do that you will dered,” he geted 2,000-strong new AFL. Some of earn their respect stressed. these officers and NCOs are currently and you will undergoing military training in China, Germany, Nigeria and the United States.

AFL’s Command Officer-in-Charge Maj.-Gen. Abdurrahman presents “Guide-on” to a Company Commander Security Sector Reform (SSR-Dyncorps)

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 11 Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL All-female Class Graduates By Sulaiman Momodu they do. and other stakeholders to address this Thanking all the stakeholders who had menace.” iberia’s first all-female class made the recruitment and training possi- Liberia’s Solicitor General, of police officers has graduat- ble, the Liberian President admitted that Counsellor-at-Law Tiawan Gongloe ed from the Liberia Police more needs to be done to make the police administered the oath to the new officers Academy in the Paynesville more professional. She expressed satisfac- and noted that there can be no security suburb of Monrovia. The tion at the increasing involvement of without respect for the rule of law. “The Ltraining of the 105 females, with support Liberian women in nation building and foundation for peace and security in this from the United Nations Mission in commended the new officers for their country is respect for the rule of law. And Liberia (UNMIL), is a significant step to patriotism in enlisting into the police in the only institution under our system of achieve better gender representation in the order to ensure the safety of lives and government that is responsible for ensur- Liberia National Police (LNP). property. “We look forward to these new ing that there is respect for the rule of law The new female police officers were entrants into the police force to be a shin- is the Police force,” he reminded the new elated to receive their certificates from ing example of what the new Liberia is all graduates. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last about.” The completion of ‘Class 32’ brings to December after completing basic police UNMIL Force Commander Lt.-Gen. 356 the number of females that have been training from the special educational sup- Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor congratulated recruited into the Liberian Police, repre- port programme for female candidates. the female officers and reminded them that senting nearly 10 per cent. The programme The educational programme was lunched the Liberian citizens hold them in high is in support of the Convention on in January 2007 to give the opportunity to esteem: “You have enlisted to offer your Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Liberian women between 18-35 years who service to the people of Liberia in line with against Women (CEDAW) and Security were interested in joining the LNP but did the special training given you. I urge you Council Resolution 1325. not meet the requisite qualification. to further the cause of good governance in On behalf of her colleagues, a member “Our new development agenda has as Liberia by conducting yourselves in line of the class said their graduation was a it core peace and security and the rule of with the tenets of professionalism and the clear demonstration that nothing is impos- law…whatever we do will depend on principles of democratic policing.” He sible with determination. “Let us not relent whether we can keep the peace. So the first pointed out that female police officers but forge ahead for there are many chal- pillar of our development agenda rests on have proven to be effective in handling lenges that are ahead of us… and let us your shoulders,” said President Johnson cases of sexual and gender-based violence prove to the world that we are capable of Sirleaf. She called on the new officers to perpetrated mainly against women and keeping peace in our nation and other exhibit what she described as “the three children, a problem rampant in Liberia. nations.” The new officers will be Cs; good character, credibility and confi- “UNMIL will not remain silent on this deployed in various police units through- dence” and urged the officers to ensure the matter; we have therefore formed a strong out the country. ‘3Cs’ values are embodied in everything partnership with the Liberian Government

12 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 ANTI-RAPE CAMPAIGN “It could be your mother, your daughter…”

By Rebecca Bannor-AAddae the efforts. country’s judicial system is severely ham- The campaign will travel nationwide pered due to lack of capacity to follow s rape continues to be the for six months. Roadside billboards, radio through rape cases and as a result many most frequently committed jingles, concerts and flyers are part of it, cases of rape and sexual violence are set- serious crime in Liberia, highlighting that rape by law is a punish- tled within the families involved. even four years after the able crime, a crime traumatising the victim Another impediment to fighting sexual civil war ended, the for life and a crime which concerns the violence is the stigma, forcing many vic- LiberianA government and UNMIL have whole of society. tims to conceal their plight. “People need teamed up to launch a nationwide cam- “A lot of people seem to have the idea to understand that when somebody is paign against all forms of sexual violence. that it is not their daughter or their relative raped it is not a crime they’ve committed, The campaign ‘Stop rape - It could be your who is affected. But we need to consider it’s a crime committed by the perpetrator. mother, your daughter, your sister, your that we’re all Liberians and what affects We need to welcome the victim amongst niece’ is aimed at tackling one of the most one affects all. If we don’t understand this us,” says Bropleh. serious challenges facing post-conflict fact then it will be difficult to change, to The soaring rates of rape can only be Liberia. move forward,” says Laurence Bropleh, tackled when every man, woman and child During the 14-years of conflict, thou- Liberia’s Minister of Information, Culture in Liberia is aware of the damage sexual sands of women and girls had fallen victim and Tourism. violence does to society. A wholesome to rape and sexual violence, used as a It is widely believed that many rape functional society cannot be realised if weapon of fear and humiliation by all war- cases never get reported but stay within women and girls live in constant fear of ring parties. Today, despite numerous the families of the victims although the sexual assault. The anti-rape campaign is a attempts by the government, the UN fami- number of reported rape cases climbed to step towards breaking with the culture of ly in Liberia and NGOs to tackle the issue 425 in 2007 from 351 in 2006. During the silence and lack of awareness surrounding of rape and sexual violence, incidents con- war perpetrators of sexual violence the issue of rape. “We need to change our tinue to make headlines. The nationwide enjoyed impunity but Liberia’s new gov- mindset, our attitudes when it comes to anti-rape campaign was launched in ernment is strongly committed to revers- rape,” says Bropleh. “What is pivotal now December 2007 following a call by ing the pattern of injustice. However, the is major awareness in every sphere of our President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to step up society.” Sampson Zogbaye/UNMIL Sampson SRSG opens UN State Authority Extende

By Sulaiman Momodu and post office facilities etc. In order to mend the UN and the international com- assist to restore state authority, the section munity who came to our aid for peace and fter years of civil conflict and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) stability to return to our country when we during which state officials agreed on the criteria, modality and were actually in dire need,” says Levi J. and local government methodology for taking the government Banny, Assistant Minister/Legal Affairs at authorities abandoned their back to the people, taking into account the Ministry of Internal Affairs. offices, leaving most parts security considerations, availability of Over the past few years, Civil Affairs ofA the country devoid of government pres- basic services and the increased rate of Officers have been assigned to govern- ence, state authority has now been extend- returnees to their areas of origin. They ment ministries, autonomous agencies and ed throughout Liberia, even though its point out that before, government could corporations to advise on policies and consolidation remains a key challenge. not exercise its authority or control over good governance practices on a day-to-day Since the deployment of UN peace- some areas. “Civil Affairs officers were basis. In close coordination with UN agen- keepers four years ago, UNMIL’s Civil deployed under very difficult conditions to cies, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Affairs (CA) - the largest civilian substan- all the 15 counties in Liberia, in some others, they have been working on issues tive component of the mission - has been areas even before disarmament and demo- of local government elections, boundary working to ensure that government bilization of ex-combatants had taken delimitation exercises, decentralization, in extends its control to the counties. Civil place,” notes Civil Affairs Officer Gilbert addition to assisting to build the capacity Affairs Officers say ex-combatants were Ngesu. of civil society organizations (CSOs) and in control of key government installations, “Transformation is always a rough local government authorities. Generally, including police stations, court houses, time…we will do great injustice to our priorities vary from county to county. In immigration and customs offices, banks conscience should we fail to highly com- for instance, the focus is

14 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 and structures are legislated. Civil Affairs straints that need to be addressed for local played a key role in helping the govern- authorities to effectively function. Under ment to develop policies in the ministries the country support team frame work of agriculture, education, youth and sports, though, the “One UN” strategy is to sup- lands, mines and energy and in state cor- port local development initiatives. porations such as the Public Procurement Liberians say one of the contributing and Concessions, Forestry Development factors to the country’s 14-year long con- Authority, among others. Additionally, CA flict was the over-centralization of played a key role in supporting Liberia’s Monrovia and the marginalization of the admission into the Kimberly Process counties. To mitigate this, the Liberian Certification Scheme through developing government, in collaboration with part- relevant documentation and policy papers. ners, is currently engaged in nationwide Related to this is the collaboration consultations with various segments of the between Civil Affairs and UNDP to sup- society to develop county-specific devel- port CSOs and the Ministry of Planning opment agendas. and Economic Affairs to draft an NGO As Liberians enjoy relative peace, one Policy Guidelines for Liberia. of the major areas of intervention is inter- Civil Affairs Officer Ngesu says they ethnic land and property disputes “If peace have also engaged civil society actors, has to be sustained, one of the areas to both at central and local levels, with CA focus on is the potential conflict resulting field officers engaging CSOs on a regular from land disputes. There has to be a per- basis, and have reported on gaps that need manent mechanism to resolve such dis- to be addressed. Civil Affairs officers putes,” says Civil Affairs Officer, Adriano engage community and traditional leaders, Cassandra. He adds that part of the prob- who form the bedrock of community lem is linked to lack of clear delineation of organizations that define everyday cohe- administrative units in the counties with sion and operations at village level. A key poorly defined boundaries, newly created dividend of this approach has been the multiple administrative units, lack of consolidation of local authority in addition Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL archives and a weak judicial system. The NMIL QIP funded Bureau of Immigration office in Lofa to building a conflict sensitive early warn- good news is that government is at the ing mechanism at community level, which verge of establishing a Land Commission, is important in the context of current which will strictly deal with land and thinking that CSOs are a major thread in property rights issues. ed, But… the tapestry that forms the peacemaking Assistant Minister Banny is very con- architecture. cerned about issues of rule of law. “We more on land and property as well as inter- Notwithstanding the gains made, chal- still have ‘trial by ordeal’ (torture to make religious and ethnic disputes. In Grand lenges remain. County Superintendent of a suspect confess a wrong doing) in the Bassa, Sinoe, and Bomi the focus is on Grand Cape Mount County Catherine counties. In 1916, it was abolished and plantations, and in other counties where N.Watson Khasu says lack of accommoda- declared unconstitutional and illegal but ex-combatants are many, their local inte- tion for government workers, no commu- people continue to practice it to this day. gration is the priority. nication facilities, inadequate vehicles, We have to sensitize our people to respect Civil Affairs officers also assist local lack of employment opportunities for communities to identify development youths and vocational training facilities rule of law.” In February this year, vio- projects. Throughout Liberia, the United are some of the numerous challenges fac- lence ensued following a murder incident Nations Development Programme ing her county. “The line ministries have in Tapita, Nimba County, leaving the (UNDP) has assisted communities with not come to stay in Robertsport (the coun- UNMIL-QIP funded police station burnt small-scale projects. For its part, UNMIL ty’s capital) because of lack of accommo- down. The incident also claimed the life of has addressed some of Liberia’s pressing dation. In this age of technology, how do a woman who died in the inferno. needs through its Quick Impact Projects. you work when you have no computers Superintendent Watson-Khasu stresses With the UN Fund commit- and internet facilities? We are very grate- on the way forward: “One of our greatest ting US$ 15 million to Liberia, it is expect- ful to the UN and other partners but we problems is the mindset of our people. We ed that more projects will now be designed still need support.” will really appreciate if the UN and part- to consolidate gains and sustain the coun- Civil Affairs expert Abimbola Aina ners will help us in this regard - encourag- try’s peace. concurs. “We play a facilitating role to see ing Liberians to take responsibility for A key area in strengthening state that local authorities are better supported,” their own development and destiny.” authority is ensuring that relevant policies she says, adding that there are still con-

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 15 World Healt Revamping the Health

By J. Wesley Washington in coordinating activities to improve the clinic, health centre, county hospital, and health of the Liberian people. tertiary hospital. It will be introduced s Liberia moves from the Although responsible for coordinating incrementally to become functional in 70 emergency phase to recov- health care activities in the country, the per cent of existing health facilities by the ery and development, the health ministry has been hamstrung by the end of 2008, up from the current 40 per Ministry of Health & lack of financial and human resources. cent. Social Welfare is develop- However, as the new government strives Liberia’s Deputy Health Minister and ingA a comprehensive National Health to raise the living standards of the popula- Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Bernice Dahn, Policy and Strategic Plan. In collaboration tion, the Ministry and its partners have says BPHS standardizes the package of with health sector partners, including the begun coordinating health sector activities services, promotes redistribution to ensure World Health Organization (WHO), the aimed at making Liberia’s health services greater access to essential health services Ministry launched the Basic Package of more efficient and accessible. throughout the country and defines the Health Services (BPHS) during Liberia’s The launch of the BPHS serves as the minimum set of staff with appropriate first ever National Health Fair recently. cornerstone of the National Health Plan. It skills for each facility level. “By carefully The three-day programme held under the defines an integrated minimum package of prioritizing our services, we plan to guar- theme “Invest in Health, Build a Safer standardized prevention and treatment antee their availability to each and every Future” was designed to create awareness services that will be adapted for each level Liberian who seeks health services at the of all aspects of the role the Ministry plays of the health system -- community, health Health Ministry’s facilities,” she said. The

16 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 HEALTH

WHO Officer-in-Charge, Dr. Fussum world. HIV prevalence rate is estimated at Daniel, said during the launch of the 5.2 percent while 7 per cent of children BPHS that it was intended to serve as the under five are severely underweight. foundation for the provision of basic and There is just one doctor for every 28,000 quality health services to the population of Liberians. this country. “Indeed the hosting of the In her annual message to the National National Health Fair and the launch of the Legislature recently, President Ellen Basic Package of Health Services are con- Johnson Sirleaf highlighted the plight of sidered very vital to the WHO as both are the country’s health sector. “Today we expected to contribute to the attainment of have 122 doctors serving throughout the the health related Millennium country of which 51 are Liberians against Development Goals (MDGs) in Liberia,” a need of 842. There are 668 nurses serv- he noted. ing the population against a need exceed- “The BPHS, which are standardized ing 4,000 persons,” she noted. minimum services that include both pre- The National Health Plan outlines the ventive and curative services, designed to objectives, strategies and resources to improve maternal, newborn and child reform the health sector to effectively health as well as communicable diseases, deliver quality health and social welfare will be delivered free of charge in the ini- services to the people of Liberia and oper- tial stages, until we can restore our ates within the framework of the Interim nation’s health,” Liberia’s Vice President, Poverty Reduction Strategy. The opera- J. Wesley Washington/UNMIL J. Wesley h Organization’s booth during the National Health fair Sector

Ministry also expects that NGOs and other

faith-based health institutions will adopt Washington/UNMIL J. Wesley the Basic Package as their guide to provide Health & Social Welfare Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale takes HIV test health care to the populations they serve. Dr. Joseph N. Boakai, said. tional and integrated framework for imple- Based on the principles of primary Liberia’s14-year civil war all but menting the plan is based on four key health care, the BPHS aims to make serv- destroyed the country’s health services. components -- Basic Package of Health ices available at the peripheral levels of While the revitalization of the health sec- Services; Human Resources for Health; the health system. The management of tor has begun, it is far from reaching its Infrastructure Development; and Support health services will be progressively pre-war status and remains fragmented, Systems. decentralized so that responsibility for uneven and heavily dependent on pro- A proposed four-year budget for the implementing them rests at the county lev- grammes implemented by local and inter- National Plan is put at US$283 million as els. BPHS provides the basis for opera- national non-governmental organizations. part of the government’s multi-year plan- tional plans, defines the technical and Liberia’s infant mortality rate today is ning. The current budget of the Health Ministry is approximately US$10 (includ- management competencies required at 157/1,000 (compared to sub-Saharan aver- ing funding for the John F Kennedy hospi- age of 102), under-five/child mortality rate each facility level and guides the forma- tal) and represents 8 per cent of the total tion of an essential drug list which can be is 235/1,000 (sub-Saharan average of 171) national budget of US$129 million. It is costed to estimate the financial resources and maternal mortality ratio is expected to increase to US$33 million by required for implementation. 580/100,000, among the highest in the 2010.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 17 Mountains of Waste

By Sulaiman Momodu gle…the crisis in Monrovia devastated other public places. “We could not have everything,” says Monrovia City Mayor, cleared the backlog of rubbish that had learing mountains of rubbish Ophelia Hoff Saytumah. accumulated during the crisis if UNMIL that overwhelm the capital, The piles of rubbish, sometimes mixed had not come to our assistance through its Monrovia, has been a daunt- with human excrement thrown away in Quick Impact Projects which lasted for ing challenge faced by the plastic bags known as ‘flying toilets’, pose about three months,” commends the City authorities ever since the a serious health hazard. As the city author- Mayor. restorationC of peace in ities lack the capacity to deal with the UNICEF has also rendered assistance 2003. “Cleaning the menace, the United Nations Mission in for about a year. Notwithstanding such city of rubbish Liberia (UNMIL) has been assisting the assistance though, the scenes of rubbish is a big Monrovia City Corporation ferociously re-appeared in public places strug- (MCC) to clear the sprawl- with scavengers including children fre- ing rubbish from quently seen salvaging whatever they markets and could from the foul-smelling waste. Over the past few years, poor waste manage- ment had led to the contamination of food and water sources leading to out- breaks of diseases such as cholera. Why is waste manage- ment becom- ing a peren- nial

18 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 SANTITATION problem in Monrovia? Before the war, Corporation. The project also includes management. It involves ensuring that city Monrovia had a population of about paying contractors engaged in the collec- residents have hygienic toilet facilities 400,000 people. The war uprooted thou- tion and disposal of waste. both at home and in public places, and sands of people from the countryside and The rudimentary waste collection sys- other wastes from places like funeral many of them ended up in the capital. tem involves contractors going out and homes, hospitals and industries are not Today an estimated 1.5 million people clearing stockpiles of rubbish, followed by located or disposed off in ways that will inhabit the capital, leading to large quanti- a daily collection and disposal of up to 30 contaminate drinking water sources. By all ties of refuse generated on a daily basis. per cent of the waste generated in a day. As indications, dealing with Monrovia’s liq- Last April, the World Bank came to the of early January, a staggering 95,000 cubic uid and solid wastes requires huge funding aid of the City Corporation with a project metres of waste have been cleared from which the city corporation lacks. to develop a basic solid waste collection the capital. “Considering where we are In addition to lack of funds and techni- system. “The solid waste collection pro- coming from…we are coming from almost cal staff, the proper use of skip containers gram forms part of the World Bank’s nothing …we are very grateful to all those is posing yet another challenge. Already Emergency Infrastructure Project. The who have assisted us over the years. With 10 skip containers have been reportedly rudimentary system is designed to allevi- our capacity we cannot clear the waste,” damaged by users lighting up fire in the ate at least some of the problems associat- says the City Mayor. bins despite clearly written warning: “No ed with the accumulation of waste in the Today, both old and young Liberians lighting of fire!” The authorities say the city. It aims to improve sanitation and liv- public is being sensitized on the need to ing conditions in Monrovia.” says The piles of rubbish, some- change their attitudes - not to indiscrimi- Bronwyn Grieve, the Bank’s Infrastructure nately dispose of waste and not to put fire and Basic Services Consultant. times mixed with human in the bins. Waste management is a very expensive excrement thrown away in The WB solid waste programme has undertaking. The WB has spent US$ 3 plastic bags known as ‘flying been extended to June 2009. So, how will million to date with an expected US$ 4 the system be sustained? “We are looking million planned for 2008 – 2009. Under toilets’, pose a serious for alternative means of financing; we are the World Bank-funded project, the United health hazard. As the city doing costing so that our government Nations Development Programme authorities lack the capacity knows exactly how much we need,” says (UNDP) has handed over equipment val- the Mayor. “The programme that we are ued at over US$ 900,000 including 120 to deal with the menace, the doing now is only addressing about 30 per skip containers located around the city, United Nations Mission in cent of solid waste. So for the next fiscal eight Ford trucks, and spare parts to the Liberia (UNMIL) has been year we need about US$1.8 million to sus- tain the programme given that we now assisting the Monrovia City have trucks and bins. If we have to go up Corporation (MCC) to clear to 100 per cent, we need about US$ 6 mil- the sprawling rubbish from lion which means we have to buy more equipment.” The current waste disposal markets and other public site at Fiama is located in the capital but places. arrangements are being made to move it to Whein town on the outskirts of the city. could be seen shoveling rubbish into yel- The WB is funding the development and low-painted skip containers. The rubbish initial operation of the Whein site as an is then loaded in trucks and carted away interim solution until a more permanent through the busy traffic to the Fiama landfill site is found and funding for its dumpsite. Hitherto, the dumpsite was development identified. poorly managed but the WB project has As efforts continue to keep Monrovia helped to improve it. “I am glad to be clean with UN peacekeepers assisting cleaning my city and also getting some from time to time, the International money that enables me to take care of my Labour Organization is also involved in family,” explains one of the workers. the effort by working with communities. A “Clearing the rubbish and helping my study is to be undertaken to explore the country to be clean is far better than possibility of levying taxes on households engaging in crime,” says the 40-year-old and commercial enterprises that generate father of four. waste as is the standard practice in other Further to rubbish, categorized as solid parts of the world. Waste producers shar- waste, another herculean task the city cor- ing the burden may go a long way in solv- poration confronts is that of liquid waste ing Monrovia’s perennial waste problem. Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 19 IN CONVERSATION: ELLEN MARGRETHE LøJ “Liberia can become a A former head of the Danish development agency, DANIDA, and until recently Denmark’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ellen Margrethe Løj has assumed duty as the Special Representative of the Secretary-GGeneral and Co-oordinator of United Nations Operations in Libera. In an interview with Editor Mathew Elavanalthoduka, she discusses the priorities of UNMIL, reiterates women’s ability to tackle tough jobs, and urges Liberians to take charge of the nation’s destiny.

Let’s start with your new role. Although advantage to the Mission and to the UN there must be correctional facilities to you have worked at the UN represent- team as a whole. The challenge for Liberia keep those convicted in humane condi- ing your country, this is the first time today is not in establishing the peace, but tions. These are all intricately connected. you are serving the UN as an insider. consolidating the peace. It means that the It is also important for the Mission, How do you look at your new role? United Nations, not only UNMIL, but the together with the whole UN family, to look The transition from outsider to insider whole UN family must contribute to that at recovery measures and governance translates into two challenges. One, and it effort. We also have to prepare the ground issues because they also relate heavily to is the most important one, is to work for eventually leaving the long term devel- the ability of the country to sustain the together with everybody in UNMIL opment activities to the government and peace. Peace, security and development towards transforming all the words and the development agencies. In this peace- are three interlinked and intertwined chal- ideas that I have been espousing over the building phase it is critical that all the lenges for Liberia. years into reality on the ground. That is a actors work together in synergy. The sum challenge, because it is easier to draft a is so much greater than the parts. With the civil war over speech telling people what they are sup- and peace holding, posed to do than to actually do it. So that’s So in your view, what are UNMIL’s pri- Liberia is no a huge challenge. orities at this moment? longer in the The second challenge when coming Our task in UNMIL is to implement news, and the from the outside is to get accustomed to a the mandate given to us by the Security world’s very different bureaucratic system. Even Council. It is very clear from that mandate attention is though I have been in a bureaucracy for and also from the last discussions at the focused on many years, it is a small one compared to Council - when the Mission’s mandate was various other the United Nations. The rules and regula- extended in September last year - that we global tions are different and present challenges, must continue to assist in both keeping the hotspots. especially in the beginning. peace and consolidating the peace. That is Does Liberia in parallel with us performing our role in risk being Liberia is in a phase of transition from relation to security in the broader sense of ignored by the war to reconstruction and development. the word. We must assist the government international How do you think your previous career in building the capacity to gradually take community at in development and as the head of the over the responsibility for national securi- this critical Danish development agency, DANIDA, ty by training and developing the Liberia stage of transi- would help in your role as the head of National Police, as well as creating the tion from war to UNMIL? new Armed Forces of Liberia. reconstruction? My background in development work We must also support the much needed That is what we is an advantage, especially so in Liberia’s reforms in the whole rule of law sector, sometimes call the “CNN current phase. However, besides develop- with specific emphasis on the justice sec- effect.” There is a tendency ment, I have also been involved in securi- tor. There will not be security unless for the media to focus on ty and political issues, for instance when I trained policemen are on the streets and crises and then move on represented Denmark on the Security are able to arrest suspected criminals. But once they are no longer Council and when I was posted to Israel that is not the end of the story. Those a hot topic, during the first Gulf War. arrested must have access to due process, and to This combination, I hope, will be an and they must be tried in courts. And,

20 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 prosperous country…” ignore the difficulties faced in reconstruc- made available to Liberia be utilized? we have a female deputy in UNMIL. But tion and nation-building. But, Liberia is Together with my colleague from if your premise is that women cannot do lucky to have Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Tanzania, I was a facilitator appointed by tough jobs, I totally disagree with you. It President. She is a good, hard working and the President of the General Assembly to has been proven over and over again that committed leader, who has a vision for negotiate the resolution on the establish- women can accomplish tough tasks just as Liberia. She does not miss an opportunity ment of the Peacebuilding Commission. well as men. I think the United Nations to remind the international community of The Peacebuilding Fund is to be used should get more women in leadership Liberia’s continued struggles to recover to finance activities in countries that are on positions. There are many capable women from the effects of the war that devastated the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda. out there. the nation. Her interaction with the inter- But the fund is under the Secretary- I was asked by a journalist, at my first national community helps spread the mes- General’s purview and there is a second press conference here in Monrovia, sage that work still needs to be done in window under which the Secretary- whether it is difficult for me to work with Liberia. General can authorize funds for use in so many men in the Mission. And I All of us in the UN family, be it countries that are not on the Peacebuilding responded by saying that I have been UNMIL, Agencies, Programmes or affili- Commission’s agenda. That is the case working in environments that have been ates like the World Bank, have the respon- with Liberia. rather male dominated throughout my sibility to highlight the challenges facing There have been close consultations career; so I suggested to the journalist that Liberia - whether they catch the headlines between the United Nations and the he asks some of my male colleagues if it or not. We must attract the attention of as Liberian government, in this case led by was difficult for them to have a female many players as possible to help take the Minister of Internal Affairs, and a boss - it may be more difficult for my male Liberia forward. And we have framework has been drafted in which pri- colleagues than it is for me (laughs). been lucky with the good ority areas will be identified for the utiliza- number of world leaders tion of the US$15 million that has been If you were to tell Liberians something and heads of interna- earmarked for Liberia. Mostly, the funds on the way forward, if you had a mes- tional institutions will be used for relatively short-term but sage to the people of Liberia, what that have visited critical interventions focusing on reconcil- would it be? Liberia in the iation – so very very important in enabling I would urge each and every Liberian past two a war-scarred nation to move forward. to do their utmost to contribute to further years and in A steering group is to be set up in consolidation of the peace in Liberia and the process February and the proposal is that it will be to actively engage in Liberia’s develop- brought co-chaired by the Minister of Internal ment. I’m convinced that Liberia is on the positive Affairs and UNMIL, and will comprise right track and I am impressed by what has attention to other government representatives as well happened in Liberia since I visited the first Liberia. as representatives of international part- time round, and that was only less than ners, bilateral and multilateral, NGOs, two years ago. You were civil society and business so that we could The international community can the co-Chair have a wide variety of views on the prior- assist and support the country but it is for of the General ity areas. the Liberians themselves to take charge Assembly and move the country forward. I am con- Working There are not many women heading vinced that Liberia can succeed. It will Committee on the operations, which are take hard work but Liberia can become a Peacebuilding often a tough job to do. As a woman, do prosperous country. It has land, it has Commission, and you feel disadvantaged in any way? Or, water, it has abundant and diverse natural now Liberia is bene- could it be the opposite? resources. So if all Liberians unite with the fiting from the Unfortunately, not many women are in government and the politicians to bring Peacebuilding leadership positions in peacekeeping oper- Liberia forward, they will succeed and Fund. How best ations and I think I’m the only Special they have the support of the international can the Representative of the Secretary-General at community. funds the moment. Luckily, there are more and more deputies and I’m very lucky that Thank you.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 21 Youth in Volunteer Initiative By Rebecca Bannor-AAddae volunteers will be deployed outside their gates from throughout Liberia met at a home county. During the war people got week-long conference together with gov- ayoe Kellen is attending accustomed to defining themselves by eth- ernment and development partners to pro- to a small girl in the nic grouping. We hope that this initiative duce a national youth policy intended to children’s ward at will also help stem this divide and instead address the many pressing problems fac- Phebe hospital in Bong make people see themselves fully as ing the youth. The conference discussed county. “The girl was Liberians.” the looming hardships facing the growing broughtM in with severe malaria. She’s bet- Initially the idea of a population of youth in Liberia where 15- ter now, at least she can open her eyes,” national volunteer corps 24-year olds comprise a significant says the young nurse while injecting med- was launched by the portion of the population, with icine into the girl’s arm. youth themselves. In those under the age of 15 aver- Although Kellen seems at ease push- 2005 more than aging over 40 per cent. “The ing her medicines trolley through the 150 youth dele- reasons for failure of suc- green corridors, it is just her second week as a volunteer nurse at Phebe hospital. “I’ve had the dream of becoming a nurse since high school. I want to save lives and I want to serve my country, that is why I chose to volunteer,” says Kellen, who graduated from nursing school in the sum- mer of 2007. Together with other recent graduates, Kellen is part of the new National Youth Volunteer Service (NYVS) spearheaded by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and supported by UNDP and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV). NYVS is a two-year pilot programme aimed at enabling the youth to contribute to the development process in Liberia. As volunteers, university graduates support both education and health sectors which face an acute need for teachers and practi- tioners. Through this, the volunteers will also gain practical skills enhancing their opportunity to access the labour market. By way of their work in the field, the youth will promote the importance of vol- unteerism in the development of post-con- flict Liberia. “In fact the objectives are manifold,” says Etmonia Tarpeh, Minister of Youth and Sports. “The programme is also a way of building linkages between the various cultures of Liberia since the

22 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 YOUTH cessive regimes in this country to ade- Development Report. They were briefed way. I learned how to approach communi- quately address issues of young people by local and international educators on ties, how to work together and never within a national policy framework, is civic education, leadership and project impose. This vision really helps me in equal to their failure to address the histor- management and they discussed their remembering that volunteering means ical-political socio-cultural and socio-- upcoming volunteer fields of education serving people for our common develop- nomic contradictions that have long since and health. Furthermore, the volunteers- ment.” hurt our nation,” said the President of the to-be had a taste of what to expect during A supervisor in the field serves as the Federation of Liberian Youth, George G. a few days of volunteer activities in com- focal point of support for the volunteers. Wisner at the 2005 conference. A substan- munities around Monrovia. The supervisor acts as a link between the tial outcome of the conference was the At the end of the training participants programme and the communities ensuring National Youth Policy Framework which were assigned their locations. Like Kellen, awareness and deployment opportunities. today operates as a guideline for govern- Anthony Gweisah has been deployed in The volunteers receive a monthly ment policies and includes a formulation . “I’m learning everyday allowance of US$100 to cover food, trans- of the need for a national volunteer corps. coming across different cultures and dif- port and the token fee they pay to live with At this stage 67 volunteers serve in ferent languages,” says Gweisah, who is host families in the various communities. four of Liberia’s 15 counties. Students from Nimba county and majored in sociol- The youth are deployed for a period of six who graduated between 2005-2007 have ogy in 2007. Gweisah also volunteers in months during which they are expected to been encouraged to apply for NYVS and the field of health but on an outreach basis. develop micro-project proposals based on suitable applicants attended a three-week Together with the county health team and their experience. The projects should be induction training course in Monrovia in NGOs, he visits rural communities to raise rooted in the communities and evolve January and February 2008. The training awareness on pressing issues such as around youth, governance and volun- helped participants to become familiar HIV/AIDS, malaria and the importance of teerism and the best proposals will receive with major documents approved by gov- safe drinking water. “I find that people implementation grants. ernment such as the National Youth Policy respond well when we explain what we do UNDP and UNV are funding the two- Framework, the Millennium Development and why we do it,” says Gweisah. “The year pilot programme which is seen as the Goals and the National Human training course was very helpful in that initial stages of what is to become a per- manent structure. Tarpeh explains that NYVS is a process with a beginning and not an end. “This will eventually become a national programme and not only catering to university students but to all youth. It is not enough to include the youth in deci- sion making, they must also be out there helping to actively create the climate they want to advocate for,” says the Minister of Youth and Sports. A NYVS steering committee meets quarterly acting as the guiding body to the programme. The steering committee addi- tionally receives volunteer performance evaluations from the supervisors in the field and they approve grants for micro- projects proposals. The committee is chaired by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and members include ministries of Health, Education, Planning as well as UNDP, UNV and academic institutions. The next batch of volunteers will be deployed in September 2008 to additional counties throughout Liberia. An estimated 200 youth are expected on board for the second round. Meanwhile Kellen, Gweisah and the others will pave the way for what could become a groundbreaking spirit amongst the youth to work together for a better Liberia. Rebecca Bannor-Addae/UNMIL

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 23 Women Surge Ahead

By Rebecca Bannor-AAddae In Liberia, the inauguration of Ellen bers and now comprise a significant con- Johnson Sirleaf as President in 2006 was stituency. eadership positions -- in poli- path-breaking, bestowing the war-ravaged So what better place than Liberia to tics, commerce or other areas nation the honour of producing the first host the International Colloquium on -- have remained beyond the democratically elected female President Women’s Empowerment and Leadership grasp of the majority of on the African continent. Her election scheduled to take place in 2009? women throughout the world. marked a decisive turn in the history of More than from around LWomen's participation in managerial and Liberia and prompted a surge of women in the world gathered in the Liberian capital, administrative positions is around 33 per political leadership positions. Monrovia, for the preparatory meeting of cent in the developed world, l5 per cent in Liberian women played key roles in the Colloquium in January. The Africa, and 13 per cent in Asia and the achieving peace during the 14-year con- Colloquium, co-hosted by the President of Pacific. Only 1 per cent of the world's flict. Well-coordinated grassroots move- Liberia and Madam Tarja Halonen, assets are in the name of women. ments amongst women staged demonstra- President of Finland, is intended to Nonetheless, the good news is that 12 tions and brought warring parties to the empower women at various levels to female heads of state have been appointed negotiating table. During the elections in become effective leaders and thereby pos- or elected since 2000. Is the tide turning? 2005 Liberian women voted in great num- itively impact development in their coun-

24 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 EMPOWERMENT

ment either. They demand accountability and transparency from government but what these women really do, what we all need to do, is to create a sense of urgency amongst ourselves. Become stronger and louder together,” said the facilitator of the workshop, Julia Duncan Cassell, who is also the Superintendent of Grand Bassa County. The Colloquium will be a Liberia- focused event rooted in the experience of women’s significant leadership roles dur- ing and after the conflict. However, it is an international undertaking, engaging women worldwide on the need for inclu- siveness in decision making processes in order to achieve sound social and econom- ic development for all. The broad organisational structure of the Colloquium evolves around an interna- tional steering committee comprised of representatives from the seven continents. National steering committees work local- ly, tasked with public outreach, logistics and sustaining the momentum of what is intended to become an influential event with hundreds of participants attending from all over the world. Two days of workshops, presentations and discussions culminated in planning for the 2009 Colloquium. It was agreed that the guiding principles of the Colloquium

Eric Kanalstein/UNMIL are leadership development, women’s The election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf electrified Liberian women empowerment, and peace and security. tries and abroad. ing one’s rights and becoming familiar The UN Security Resolution 1325 on “The Colloquium is not intended for with examples of countries like Rwanda women, peace and security, adopted in women only to develop and use their and Finland where women constitute near- 2000, will serve as the overarching frame- capacity. The Colloquium is also intended ly 50 percent of political leadership. work for the Colloquium. The expected for men to realise that 50 percent of the One workshop entitled ‘Women who outcomes include developing a new con- world’s population is out there waiting to will not wait’ attracted an impressive cept of leadership emerging out of experi- be engaged,” said President Johnson crowd. Participants were asked to identify ences of women in governance and estab- Sirleaf as she welcomed participants to the women in their own communities whom lishment of sustainable mechanisms to four-day long preparatory meeting. they see as leaders. Everyone quickly sin- document and follow-up on international- “African women, like women elsewhere, gled out individuals attributing virtues ly agreed standards on gender equality and are now claiming their space, and a liber- such as ‘innovative’, ‘good listener’, gender participation. ated society is one which uses all talents of ‘determined’, ‘caring’ and ‘willing to The International Colloquium on both men and women and a society that accept her mistakes’. The exercise was Women’s Empowerment and Leadership promotes justice and equal opportunity.” meant to recognize the numerous women will take place in Monrovia 7-8 March The first two days of the preparatory at the community level who daily strive to 2009. meeting were dedicated to a number of make their communities a better place to In Liberia the national steering com- training workshops. Participants, who be but receive little recognition. mittee of the Colloquium is comprised of included dignitaries, representatives from “These many women are drivers of our the Ministries of Gender and Development the UN family in Liberia and grassroots communities. The women who will not and Foreign Affairs, UNMIL’s Office of and community leaders, engaged in skills wait don’t sit around to wait for donors the Gender Advisor, UN agencies, enhancing activities such as looking at from abroad because it takes Liberians to Programmes and Funds, academic institu- methodologies for leadership, understand- make Liberia. They don’t wait for govern- tions and women and youth groups.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 25 By Sulaiman Momodu

rony: Liberia is endowed with vast swathes of rich agricultural land and abundant rainfall, yet over 50 Grow Wha per cent of rice, its staple food, is imported from other countries to Ifeed the nation’s three million plus popula- tion. Currently, it is estimated that about 40 per cent of the country’s population is food insecure. Malnutrition has contributed to over 20 per cent of children under five in rural areas being under weight or stunted. Nearly three decades ago, riots broke out over the prospect of a hike in the price of rice, contributing subsequently to a coup plot and eventual assassination of President William R. Tolbert in 1980. Against the increase in the price of rice globally, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf earlier this year announced the reduction of US$ 2 from a bag of imported rice. A bag of rice costs between US$ 30 to US$ 40 depending on the brand. Individual perspectives vary for Liberia’s unenviable food situation. “I think some Liberian men don’t like to work but they like to eat and merry; some are lazy and only cultivate very small farms,” says a young Liberian lady, adding, “In the area where I come from, women are the breadwinners while the men just idle around.” Following the restoration of peace, most farmers returned home from refugee and internally displaced camps to begin life anew but they face numerous chal- lenges. Most of the country’s livestock were killed and eaten during the war by fighting forces and most farmers returned with virtually nothing to begin agricultur- brought in from and distrib- Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture al activities, relying instead on the uted to farmers throughout the country. organised a trade fair in Tubmanburg, Liberian government, UN agencies and “Today, government buys what is pro- Bong County, in an effort to recognise the non-governmental organisations for assis- duced from the farmers to distribute to work of farmers. During the fair, over US$ tance. other farmers as well as to sell the balance 30,000 was given out in prizes ranging Liberia’s Minister of Agriculture Dr. so that the purchasing programme, which from rice mills, generators and cash prizes Christopher Toe admits that food suffi- provides farmers with income, is sustain- of up to US$ 2,500 per farmer. “Experts ciency is a huge challenge but says the able.” have shown that every successful growth issue is being addressed. He points out that According to Minister Toe, for the first effort in agriculture is four times more the past two years constituted an emer- time in the , a Food and effective in reducing poverty than any gency period during which the govern- Agricultural Policy and Strategy is being similar effort elsewhere,” observes ment had to provide seed rice, planting discussed among stakeholders. A Food Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, materials, tools and other items to farmers. Security and Nutrition strategy has already who interacted with farmers at the fair. Last year, more than 2,000 metric tons of been prepared and will soon be presented This year the fair is expected to be held in seed rice worth over US$ 2 million was to the cabinet for approval. Lofa County.

26 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 AGRICULTURE

ment by environmentalists that the piece of land is a reserved area and as such, agri- cultural activities are forbidden. “I was born here and grew up here. at You Eat Since the 1960s we have been working here. The Chinese too used to work here so we were very shocked when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told us that this place is a reserve area. This is a complete embarrassment,” says Samuel Brown, one of the project offi- cials. “We are trying to get to the bottom of this issue,” say Minister Toe. “Truthfully, that is not a natural watershed; that place was developed in the 1950s and since that time it has been used to produce rice. It is a major surprise to me but we are collabo- rating with the EPA to ensure that both environmental concerns and agricultural production do not become competitive, that we can all work together.” As Liberia struggles to meet food suf- ficiency, many farmers are today working for rubber plantations and companies instead of engaging in food production. “Are we eating rubber in Liberia?” a school teacher asks. The minister has a dif- ferent view: “If we increase our rubber production and we can add value, it cre- ates employment opportunities so people who are not producing will be able to buy food. It also generates revenue for the gov- ernment and part of that revenue can be ploughed into agriculture.” Some of the challenges facing Liberia’s agriculture sector include lack of quality planting materials and fertilizers, lack of human resources, weak institutions and the unwillingness of some displaced farmers to leave Monrovia for their vil- Agriculture sector faces numerous challenges lages because of the lack of basic services and facilities such as health and education, Describing the support of partners as dering assistance to Liberians in diverse and more. Most Liberian farmers rely on “tremendous”, Dr. Toe says some of the ways, including agricultural production. the old-fashioned method of cutlass and Ministry’s multi-lateral partners include “These people were not asked… they are hoe. The use of modern methods such as FAO, UNDP, WFP and UNHCR while the keeping the peace by helping us to be food power tillers and food processing facilities bilateral partners include China, the sufficient with their own contribution…I are still a dream. United States of America through USAID, have gone to all the places where they are The UN Special Representative to the UK government through DFID and rendering assistance. I doff my hat to Liberia, Ms. Ellen Løj, has urged more. All the partners collaborate with the them,” the minister applauds the peace- Liberians to be more actively involved in Ministry to support farmers by providing keepers. agricultural activities for their own benefit quality planting materials, tools, training, However, in Gbedin, Nimba County, and for the enhancement of Liberia’s econ- and by strengthening institutions such as one of the places where Bangladeshi omy. “There are several things that we the Central Agriculture Research Institute peacekeepers last year assisted farmers to need to do. We still need assistance, but we (CARI) at Suakoko, Bong County. cultivate over 100 acres of seven varieties cannot wait for assistance,” says Minister Since their deployment in 2003, vari- of Bangladeshi hybrid rice, the hope of the Toe. His advice to Liberians? “Grow what ous contingents of UNMIL have been ren- farmers has been subdued by a pronounce- you eat - eat what you grow!”

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 27 Stand up to be Counted By J. Wesley Washington Maneuvering. Be Counted During the significantly impact the socio-economic Census Week.” development of a country. Such detailed t is time for all Liberians to stand up The last census in Liberia was con- information is essential to generate key and be counted. For the first time in ducted in February 1984. By law, Liberia indicators for the formulation of national 24 years, the country will have a should conduct a census at least every and sectoral development plans, such as census, and the government of decade to update its demographic data- Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. It Liberia, in collaboration with its base. Except during the past five years of also helps in the monitoring and evalua- Idevelopment partners, has set aside March peace, much of the quarter century since tion of progress made towards the attain- 21-27, 2008 as Census Week. The Liberia the last census was consumed by civil war, ment of various national and international Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information significantly affecting the population size, development goals such as the Millennium Services (LISGIS) will conduct the 2008 structure and distribution. The civil war Development Goals. National Population and Housing Census. also destroyed databases and statistical With the assistance from the United Billboards, posters, bumper stickers information that once existed. Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the and banners have sprung up in every nook Liberia conducted its first census in United Nations Mission in Liberia and corner of the country explaining the 1962. Twelve years later in 1974, another (UNMIL), the United States Aid For benefits of being counted during the cen- census was conducted and the last one a International Development (USAID), the sus. “Don’t Guess Liberia’s Population. decade later in 1984, which returned a African Development Bank (ADB) and Be Scientific, Be a Part of The National population of a little over two million. LISGIS, an autonomous body created in Census!” reads one poster on the back of a Today, rough estimates put the country’s July 2005, Liberia is all set for the forth- taxi cab in the capital, Monrovia. A bill- population at over three million. coming census. LISGIS has developed a board erected in far-away Yekepa, Nimba Demographic dynamics such as popu- five-year plan, outlining the various activ- County, shouts: “Support Census ’08 for lation size and growth, fertility and mor- ities that will be carried out during the National Development; Census Is Not For tality rates, age structure, population dis- main phases of the census. Taxation, Recruitment Nor Political tribution, and urbanization and migration UNFPA has been the biggest contribu-

28 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 CENSUS

tor to the overall process, says the enumerators and field staff during the cen- so far contributed US$2.2 million to the Director-General of LISGIS, Dr. T. sus week, with emphasis on local recruit- exercise, the USAID over US$300,000 Edward Liberty. With the population ment. and the ADB has committed US$300,204. agency’s support, five persons have been The Census Sub-Technical President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, last trained in Census Cartography Mapping Committee, in collaboration with the June, launched the National Population & and Management in and Zambia Census Secretariat, has already completed Housing Census at the Monrovia City while another five were trained in the census questionnaire and the various Hall. At the launch of the Publicity and Advocacy Phase of the upcoming Census Intermediate GIS Geographic Information manuals which will be used by the field Week last December, the Liberian System in Ghana. The UNFPA has also staff carrying out the census exercise. President again reiterated government’s recruited long term technical advisors and Close to one million household question- clear and unequivocal support to the cen- consultants to aid the Census Secretariat in naires and over 10 field manuals have sus noting that no government can bear the the preparation of various census instru- been printed. risk of planning in the absence of accurate ments, including the production of enu- To successfully implement the enu- data. “Today, we wake up to the under- meration maps for the census. Liberia has meration process, LISGIS will need standing that the national census is a for- been mapped and has been divided into US$5.5 million. The Liberian government midable tool for development and will be enumeration areas to afford an enumerator is providing US$1.6 million for 2008 used by our government and development take data of about 120 households before while UNFPA is providing US$760,000 partners alike to formulate policies which the end of the census week. towards the census process this year. A would be used to ameliorate the conditions of welfare of our people,” she said. The Recruitment and training of six census five-year plan of action puts the overall Liberian President has called on every regional coordinators, 17 census county cost of the census project at over US$7.6 individual within the boundaries of Liberia inspectors and 135 census district inspec- million, less than half of which will be to come out during the census week and tors are in its advanced stages as UNMIL spent during the phase of census counting give accurate information about oneself. FOCUS goes to press. About 8,000 to or enumeration. Since preparations for the It is time for each and every Liberian 10,000 persons have been recruited as census commenced in 2006, UNFPA has to stand up and be counted.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 29 By Sulaiman Momodu

aught red handed trying to break into someone’s house at night to steal, 11-year-old Joe Blamo (not his real Spotlight o name) recently found him- Cself in police custody. In Blamo’s firm grip were candles, a match-box, scissors and iron bars. Clad in tattered trousers and looking unkempt, the youngster told the police that most of his accomplices were friends who lived on the streets. Street Chi Stopping cars and pedestrians to beg, shining shoes by roadsides or selling cold water or sundry items, sad and hungry- looking children crowd the streets of the Liberian capital, Monrovia. They don’t attend school and sleep in markets and street corners or along corridors or any place they could pass the night despite the dangers lurking in the dark. “I stay with my step ma who beats me up everyday so I ran away from home,” explains a 10-year-old boy in rags. “I am staying with my auntie who sends me to sell oranges. I don’t go to school and if I don’t sell, she won’t give me food,” laments another. The exact number of street children in Liberia is not known. A survey carried out in July 2007 in Monrovia, Buchanan, and Tubmanburg revealed that about 75 per cent of 568 street children interviewed were from rural areas. Of this, about 75 per cent are from Bong and Nimba coun- ties. “The issue of street children is very challenging,” says UNMIL Child Protection Advisor, David Ntambara. He points out that many street children have families but because of the economic con- ditions in their homes, they are on the streets selling, while others are delin- quents or are children running away from their homes because of maltreatment and other abuses. “Some children don’t have anybody to take care of them while others have taken adult responsibilities of getting means of livelihood. The family structure is very weak so it is very difficult for chil- dren.” Child protection experts say the issue of street children has been worsened by internal child trafficking by people in urban areas who go to rural areas and tell

30 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 STREET KIDS

parents to give them their children to edu- provide daily technical advice. cate. But once the children are entrusted to Some children end up on the streets them, the promise of education is aban- because their parents either abuse or reject doned and the child is sent to sell and sub- them, especially those that are physically jected to other abuses. Some female street challenged. “There was a time one of the on children are exposed to rape and in some parents cut the fingers of the child while cases boys are sodomised. another parent put red hot coal in the Over the years, the United Nations mouth of the child because the child stole Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been food in the house, which was a clear working in close collaboration with part- aggravated assault so we sent the parent ners such as Project New Outlook, directly to court,” says Pouseah. Christian Children’s Fund, Action for With emphasis on prevention, ldren Greater Harvest, Sustainable Development UNICEF has assisted in the establishment Promoters, Helping Hand, Touching of child welfare committees through part- Humanity In Need of Kindness (THINK), ners. So far, over 274 child welfare com- and the Don Bosco Homes (DBH) to mittees have been set up throughout address the issue of street children. Liberia’s 15 counties to help identify chil- The civil war ripped apart the lives of dren at risk in the community and to pre- many Liberian children. Many got con- vent them from ending up on the streets. scripted into warring factions, but some, Children’s clubs have also been formed made orphans, ended up on the streets. where children talk to peers against going “After octopus in 1993 (during which to the streets and disseminate messages on rebels forces waged a full scale attack to key issues. capture Monrovia), there were lots of For its part, UNMIL plays an advisory street children in Liberia, but with the role on child protection issues, provides assistance of UNICEF, DBH established technical assistance in terms of expertise five centres for over 1,000 children most and training, attends child protection net- of whom were reunified with their fami- work and task force meetings, and advises lies in subsequent years and the centres stakeholders and relevant ministries on closed,” says David S. Konneh, the child protection. UNMIL recently carried Executive Director of DBH. out an assessment of 117 orphanages With support from UNICEF, DBH is where some of the street children end up providing shelter for children that come in and made recommendations based on find- conflict with the law with the cooperation ings. Furthermore, UNMIL Child of the Liberia National Police (LNP). As Protection intervenes on behalf of children of early February this year, there were 36 who come in conflict with the law by children at the centre for various offences; assisting to establish contacts with their they are either receiving psycho social parents, and in situations where family support so they can go back to their par- members could not be contacted, the DBH ents or face trial in the juvenile court. is contacted. “UNICEF helps to protect children Recently the Liberian government who come in conflict with the law. We are announced that street children would be trying to work with the judiciary to estab- forcefully removed from the streets and lish child friendly courts so that children sent to school. Although the pronounce- can get a fair hearing,” says UNICEF ment is yet to be implemented and proba- Child Protection Specialist Alfred Mutiti. bly will never be, child protection agen- “Seeing young children engaged in cies say it is not the best approach. criminal activities almost every time pose Experience shows that in countries where a very big challenge to us as a nation. We children have been forcefully removed need a home that will counsel and take from the streets they always end up resur- care of children than always arresting and facing after some days. releasing them again,” notes K. Leo Although the children’s plight is Pouseah, the Deputy Chief of Section at attracting some attention, it may be a the Women and Child Protection Unit of while before they could find a better home the LNP where UNMIL police officers than the streets.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 31 Millennium Villages

By J. Wesley Washington ous continents. Kokoyah Statutory District, hosting an iberia is the latest African estimated 15,000 residents, is situated in country selected to have two south-eastern Bong County, on the border Millennium Villages. The with Grand Bassa and Nimba counties. It first Millennium Village is to is a cluster of three sub-districts with a cul- be located in Kokoyah tural mix of Kpelle, Bassa, Gio and Manos LStatutory District in Bong County. River and lacks the basic services necessary to Gee County, in south-eastern Liberia, is sustain economic growth. UNDP-Liberia, the site for the second village project. the MDGs focal point, inspired by the As Liberia gets set for the launch of Millennium Villages concept, and in con- the Millennium Villages, the Special sultation with the Government of Liberia Advisor of the United Nations Secretary- chose this district for the first project General Ban Ki-moon, Professor Jeffrey expected to support poverty alleviation by Sachs, paid a three-day visit to the country providing general development assistance in January. The highlight of the visit was a and capacity building. round-table conference that focused on Providing a synopsis of the how Liberia could achieve the Millennium Millennium Village project concept and what their focus is as partners, Sachs, also

Development Goals (MDGs). Washington/UNMIL J. Wesley There are eight MDGs – which range Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia from halving extreme poverty and the University told the round-table that the schools as there is an arrangement with spread of HIV/AIDS to providing univer- priority areas for investment in the project SONY, a major computer manufacturing sal primary education, all by the target will be in the areas of agriculture, health, company, to provide computers for all the date of 2015. This forms a blueprint education and infrastructure. “On educa- Millennium Villages in Africa. Likewise agreed to by all the world’s countries and tion, our commitment has to be that there Ericsson, a mobile phone company, has leading development institutions. More are schools for the children to go to, teach- volunteered to bring telephone and inter- than one billion people - one sixth of the ers there to teach them and books and sup- net connections for all the Millennium world’s population - live in extreme pover- plies to learn from,” he said. Villages, including those in Liberia. ty, lacking safe water, proper nutrition, Sachs said agriculture would take cen- Also crucial to the project is improving basic health care and social services. tre stage in the Kokoyah Millennium infrastructure which will entail rehabilitat- Sachs, who served as Special Advisor Villages Project as investment in food pro- ing roads, bridges, providing safe drinking to former UN Secretary-General Kofi duction and income earnings of the com- water and sanitation as well as providing Annan on the MDGs, headed the inde- munities are crucial to the upliftment of electricity to the district. “We are extreme- pendent advisory body responsible for the the district. “I believe that the key to eco- ly delighted that through your partnership blueprint Investing in Development: A nomic development is that people have the we are about to improve the lives of the Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium tools that they need to be productive,” people of Kokoyah Statutory District as Development Goals. Part of the Plan is Sachs, a leading international economic we look forward to the kick-off of the first constructing Millennium Villages around advisor, remarked. Millennium Village project in Liberia,” the world in different agro-ecological He also assured his audience that once says David Waymah, the District zones that reflect the range of farming, there is some electricity in the district, Superintendent. water, and disease challenges facing vari- there will also be computers for these The Deputy Special Representative of

32 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 Jordan Ryan, Ambulai Johnson and Jeffrey Sachs at a round-table meeting the Secretary-General for Recovery and Country Team, , amongst may enjoy the benefits that the people in Governance, Jordan Ryan, hoped that all others. Though the project is not yet Kokoyah will enjoy,” Internal Affairs parties to the initiative are driven by a launched, the project document has been Minister Ambulai Johnson noted. great sense of self-responsibility. completed and is expected be signed In September 2000, at the United “Development is not going to happen just between the UNDP and the Liberian Nations Millennium Summit, world lead- because someone wants it. It’s going to Government shortly. ers placed development at the heart of the happen because the people want to do Already, the UNDP has begun making global agenda by adopting the UN things differently,” Ryan, also UN some interventions. In Ulah, the Ulah Millennium Declaration. The Declaration Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Public School and Annex have already was then followed by MDGs - a set of Coordinator in Liberia, said. He noted that been renovated and expanded. Solar pan- measurable goals and targets to be reached as the partners have a responsibility to live els have been installed there as well as at by 2015. Though Liberia is making some up to their word, they look up to those at the village clinic. Other interventions to be strides, it’s unlikely to achieve the MDGs the district level to really make the project undertaken by UNDP shortly include reha- by 2015. work. bilitating and renovating the Quoikapor, The Millennium Villages project so far The five-year project is estimated to Tugbablee, and Kokoyah Public Schools, has reached nearly 400,000 people in 79 cost over US$5.6 million. Already, the repairing emergency bridges and under- villages clustered into 12 groups across 10 Norwegian Government has pledged taking some water and sanitation projects other African countries including Ghana, US$1million. The project hopes to gain in Quoikapor and Tugbablee. Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal, the partnership of Millennium Promise, “We are hoping that the experiences Tanzania and Malawi with one village Japanese Facility Grants, Earth Institute at from this exercise could be transferred to each; whereas Mali, Nigeria, Kenya and Columbia University in New York, the UN other areas in Liberia as well so that they Liberia will have two villages each.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 33 NEWS BRIEF Zoellick Pledges World Bank Support

he new World Bank Group and prospects of the Bank’s programmes one, so say all!” President, Robert B. Zoellick, in the country and the need to expedite The Liberian President reminded the has assured that the Bank their implementation for the desired audience of the meaning of democracy, a would continue to support the impact. They called for the mobilization of la Abraham Lincoln. “Government is of Liberian government in its more donor support for the country’s the people – this means we represent you; Trecovery and reconstruction efforts as the Infrastructure Fund, intended for the con- ‘for the people’ means it is our responsibil- country emerges from the ravages of the struction and rehabilitation of roads, ity to make sure that what we do reflect the prolonged civil war. bridges, electricity and the ports. things that you want us to do; but there is The assurance came during his two- Along with President Johnson Sirleaf also ‘government by the people’ – this day visit to Liberia in January to gain first- and Special Representative of the means you must do something for your- hand understanding of the development Secretary-General Ellen Margrethe Løj, self, it means you must not sit there and challenges facing the country and efforts the World Bank President also participated wait for us to come. You should plant the being made by the government to promote in one of the three regional consultations rice yourselves, you should plant the plan- growth and overcome poverty. that took place in Kakata, Margibi County. tain, banana…” “This visit has given me an opportuni- “The purpose of this meeting is an Addressing the gathering, Special Representative Løj said: “In our efforts to help Liberians to suc- ceed, there can be no better approach, for ensuring the success and sustainability of our assis- tance, than to let the people tell and decide what their most urgent needs are… And the people have spoken clearly through all the con- sultations and forums.” She said Liberia is a rich nation blessed with abundant natu- ral resources such as land, forests, minerals and rainfall. “But it’s going to take the hard work of the Liberian people to turn all of this potential into lasting prosperity,” Løj cautioned. At the consultations, Zoellick reiterated the Bank’s desire to help Liberia develop and provide

Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL opportunities for the future. Already, the Bank has provided an emergency grant of US$ 68 million Ellen Løj with Robert Zoellick to support interventions to address ty to listen and learn about the challenges opportunity to listen to you…what you some of the critical infrastructure needs of facing Liberia,” said the WB President, think are the priorities that we ought to be the country. adding: “The hard work of the people and pursuing…recognising that the govern- Referring to Liberia’s transition from Government of Liberia that I witnessed ment can’t do everything…,” said the emergency to deeper stages of reforms at a offers great encouragement and inspiration Liberian President, pointing out that the press roundtable at the Ministry of Foreign for development partners like the World consultations were aimed at drawing up Affairs, the WB President said he was Bank Group in helping ensure the peace local development agendas to be incorpo- deeply impressed with the level of work and democracy enjoyed by Liberia trans- rated in the country’s Poverty Reduction being done in the country, but cautioned lates into tangible socio-economic benefits Strategy (PRS). The consultations are that there are still many challenges. for all Liberians.” clearly a break with the past when Zoellick’s visit to Liberia was part of his Zoellick’s discussions with President Liberians had to follow the diktats of one four-nation tour of Africa that also included Ellen Johnson Sirleaf focused on progress person under the infamous saying: “So say Mauritania, Ethiopia and Mozambique.

34 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 NEWS BRIEF UNICEF Boss Veneman Visits Liberia

By Rebecca Bannor-AAddae tion through the Business Development Although Liberia is slowly recovering Skills (BDS) programme where demo- from war women and children still face NICEF Executive Director bilised children who have graduated from significant risk of sexual exploitation. Ann M. Veneman skills training now learn efficiency and During the conflict sexual violence was announced more than profitability in order to expand and devel- endemic and despite numerous efforts to US$17 million in addition- op their trade. Mawata, aged 16, recently tackle the issue of rape, incidents continue al assistance towards edu- completed her BDS training and now work to grab headlines. In the capital, UNICEF cationU of Liberia’s children. The as part of a three-member pastry coopera- supports a juvenile transit rehabilitation announcement came during her three-day tive. “I wasn’t able to go to school because centre for girls who have been either aban- visit to Liberia in February 2008. my mother couldn’t afford the fees. With doned or sexually abused. “I’m very con- “Liberia was torn apart by conflict but the money I save from selling cakes, I’ll cerned about the high rates of sexual vio- strong leadership is putting the country on soon be able to pay my own way,” says lence in this country,” said Veneman after the road to recovery. Children are return- Mawata, busy mixing milk, sugar and visiting the centre. “But from talking with ing to school and communities are rebuild- flour for a coconut tart. the girls, I felt so much hope in them. They ing, yet there is so much more to be done,” During her visit to Lofa county, were in a safe place and they were devel- said Veneman, who, apart from meeting government offi- cials, also visited UNICEF supported programmes in Liberia. Due to the war many chil- dren either never enrolled in school or had their education constantly interrupted. At Voinjama Public School in Lofa county, Patrick and his fellow students are in their classrooms waiting to wel- come Veneman. Patrick is 14 and attending 4th grade. “When there was a war we were running. It shouldn’t be like that because when you’re child you should enjoy life and you should be in school,” says Patrick with a smile.

“UNICEF supports people, Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL that’s what I know. They’ve helped us with books and other things.” Ann Veneman with children at UNICEF-supported juvenile transit rehabilitation centre in Monrovia UNICEF supports the Liberian educa- Veneman was also the guest of Malamai oping aspirations.” tion system with learning materials, furni- village to which many people have recent- “Overall I see a strong commitment by ture, teacher compensation and the ly returned after having lived in camps for the international community to Liberia but Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP), the displaced. Today the villagers enjoy most importantly I see a strong commit- a catch-up programme designed to assist mosquito nets in every household and chil- ment by the population,” concluded overage children to complete primary dren and mothers have received lifesaving Veneman before departing Liberia. level education. vaccines for killer diseases such as tuber- Another US$2 million has been made Still, as Veneman pointed out, there is culosis, tetanus, measles, polio and yellow available for advocacy, research and a long way to go with only about 33 per fever. UNICEF, in collaboration with the strengthening data collection systems. cent of primary school age children attend- government and NGOs, have brought This brings the total UNICEF contribution ing school despite free primary education. immunization coverage up from 31 per to Liberia for 2008 to around US$35 mil- UNICEF additionally supports educa- cent in 2004 to 87 per cent in 2005. lion.

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 35 Pakistanis Contribute To Peace in Liberia By J. Wesley Washington regions of Liberia. Since then, with more Headquarters at Tubmanburg with a battal- than 3,400 soldiers, Pakistan has become ion (PAKBATT-7), as well as a Sector akistan was among the first the largest contingent among the 49-troop Reserve Unit; and infantry companies at troop contributing countries contributing countries to Liberia. Guthrie Rubber Plantations, Klay, that set up the military compo- Beyond providing security, their core Government Farm in Bomi County; nent of UNMIL outside mandate, the Pakistani peacekeepers have Bopolu, Gbarpolu County as well as at Bo Monrovia. UNMIL received adopted schools and established vocation- Waterside, Sinji, and Robertsport in Grand theP first Pakistani road and airfield engi- al and skills training centres, in addition to Cape Mount County. In Voinjama, another neering unit in November 2003, and with- catering to the sick through free medical battalion (PAKBATT-8) is deployed with in one month, the Pakistani military began camps even in the remotest parts, as well infantry companies at Zorzor, Yeala, and its deployment beyond Monrovia, first at as reconstructing basic infrastructure, Foya in Lofa County. Klay Junction and onward to its headquar- including roads and bridges. Also, within Sector-II the Pakistani ters in Tubmanburg, Bomi County. Over Charged with the responsibility of contingent has two engineering units the next four months the Pakistani contin- maintaining security in Sector-II (Bomi, based at Tubmanburg and Voinjama; med- gent fanned out to the western Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, and Lofa ical teams at the Level-II hospital in and north-western counties), the Pakistani military strength- Tubmanburg and 10 Level-1 hospitals ens the spread over the Sector. Additional Sector Pakistani units constitute part of Sector-I. They include two engineering units based at the Roberts International Airport

36 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 PEACEKEEPERS

(RIA) and the former because any adverse happenings would Pakistani peacekeepers to the people of compound at Caryesburg. Under the com- have a direct impact on Liberia. We do not Liberia,” said Felecia Do Summah, mand of the Force Headquarters is the want to be caught by surprise,” Brig.-Gen. Assistant Minister for Secondary Pakistani Quick Reaction Force (QRF) Nawaz said. Education at the inauguration of the located at Camp Clara. The peacekeepers The engineering companies rehabili- Centre last year. patrol Liberia’s porous borders with neigh- tate and maintain roads and bridges within The Pakistani medics at the Level-2 bouring Guinea and Sierra Leone by vehi- their sphere of operations including the hospital and 10 Level-1 hospitals in the cles and helicopters, or on foot, to main- Robertsport-Madina, Bo-Waterside- rest of the Sector continue to provide free tain security in their areas of operation. Monrovia, Bopolu-Tubmanburg, the medical services to the local population in Among the major challenges the Foya-Voinjama, Voinjama-Zorzor and the addition to the military and civilian staff of peacekeepers (Contingents I to III) faced Zorzor-Gbalatua highways, amongst oth- the mission. Despite the limited resources since their deployment included the disar- ers. “Thank you, thank you, Pakistanis!!” at their disposal, they provide free medical mament of tens of thousands of ex-com- were the overwhelming chants of hun- outreach in remote areas, reaching out to batants and providing security and logisti- dreds of local residents at the completion the needy and neglected patients with an cal support during the voter registration of the Kaikpu Town Bridge linking average of 15,000 patients benefiting each and the presidential and legislative elec- Monrovia to Tubmanburg and neighbour- month. tions. Contingent IV, which arrived in ing Sierra Leone which was washed away “The strongest affiliations and rela- January 2007 and has begun their rotation, in August 2007. tionships are those built during hard times; continued to consolidate the peace by During the tenure of Contingent-IV, such are the feelings which bond us with focusing more on various humanitarian the peacekeepers have adopted 12 schools, our Liberian brethren,” says Brig.-Gen. and developmental work within their area which were renovated and provided with Nawaz. “Liberians should give peace a of responsibility. various supplies, including sporting mate- chance as the standard of life gradually However, some challenges still rials. The peacekeepers also maintain reg- improves. Continue to lend support to remain, says Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Nawaz, ular link with the schools. In addition to UNMIL and other organizations here to Contingent and Sector-II Commander. He their humanitarian assistance, the help you mend the broken pieces. cites boundary disputes, especially Pakistanis also undertake small-scale Ultimately, it is you that will be responsi- between the old and the newly established community projects to engage directly ble to rebuild this beautiful land.” counties; inter-tribal property disputes; with the local population. One of these is Pakistan joined the United Nations on and unemployed and idle youth as some of the Pak Liberia Friendship Centre which 30th September 1947. Since 1960, the challenges. “Apart from these minor includes a library, computer room and a Pakistan has been actively involved in problems, Sector-II borders Sierra Leone sewing centre and a science laboratory. many UN Peacekeeping missions and and Guinea, so we have to continue to “Now the Liberian youth can sharpen today is a top troop contributing nation monitor activities on those two fronts their skills in computers and tailoring. We with 10,623 peacekeepers serving in the appreciate the love, cooperation and Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, support extended by Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Kosovo and Burundi, among others.

Pakistani troops demonstrate during last year’s Medal Parade Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 37 LLiibbeerriiaannss CAN THE TRC PUBLIC HEARING

For me, though as Liberians we are pro- fessing peace and reconciliation, when perpetrators face the TRC narrating the acts they committed during the war, in my opinion, they open up old wounds. In my view, in addition to the TRC, we should also have a Special Court for Liberia to prosecute those responsible for their crimes against humanity. Dennis Forkpah (Student) Yes, it can heal the wounds of the nation. Whenever you do wrong you have to admit you’re wrong. Though people think that (say) John Brown I don’t think the TRC can heal the killed my father or relative would mean wounds because most people who expe- resurrecting the wounds but you must rienced problems from the hands of resurrect these wounds in order to heal fighters during the war have already put them. That’s the only way out. Until we things behind them. They’ve decided to can tell each other the truth - what we live with the losses of their relatives. So did during this war era - people will for someone to come up and stand pub- continue to harbour even greater mal- licly and confess, it reawakens the bad ice against someone and when this feelings. So I don’t think it’s necessary malice reaches a certain stage, it’s dev- right now. Preferably, set a particular day astating for the country and its people. aside as Memorial Day to commemorate So I think the TRC is a way out; intend- the loss of all those who lost their lives ed to see what happened during the during the war. war. From there we can move forward. Morris Kollie, Jr. (Returnee) McGill Borbor (Journalist)

The TRC is good. For us, we were quite young at the time, but this enlightens our minds as to what transpired during those difficult times. We must also remember that most of these atrocities were actually committed by young inno- cent youth like me. We, as youth, need to hear these stories to ensure that at no time do we repeat this path. Reconciliation is good for our country and we should promote the TRC. Kuku Zantou (Trader)

For me, I feel that the TRC is not help- ing us at all. People had gone through the trauma of war which is gradually I think the TRC public hearing is creating fading away, and for anybody to come more problems for us Liberians because and reawaken your memory can be what has already happened has hap- very painful. But what can we say about pened. We’re trying to forget, though it’s it? I can’t say anything since it was the not easy to forget. The TRC public hear- parties to the Accra agreement who ings are not necessary in my view. I came up with the idea in order for us to would rather let bygone be bygone, have peace. Thelma Nurse (Student) Satta Norman (Civil Servant)

38 UNMIL FOCUS December 2007 - February 2008 ss SSppeeaakk S HEAL THE WOUNDS OF WAR?

Let the will of God be done. Like in my country, Nigeria, there was the Biafra war and serious atrocities were commit- ted. Over time, things have healed. Though I don’t know much about the TRC and what it is doing, as a pastor, I can only say let the will of God be done. Christian Ebere Azubuike (Pastor)

There is a growing misconception about the TRC. I hold the view and I’m confi- dent that the TRC is the best mechanism for us to address the issue of justice because justice and peace are two close I think the establishment of the TRC is a sisters. If you alienate one, you’re going good exercise. Years have lapsed now to cause a problem for the other and I since we had the civil war and time has think we need to pursue justice in a way now healed those wounds. Since loved that doesn’t necessarily seek to prose- ones killed during the war cannot be cute people per se; but seek to bring brought back, it’s time to reconcile and out past happenings and that we can move on with nation building as one look at and say this is what happened people. in the past; where can we start to move forward? We can’t move forward if we Old man Edward King (Ex-AAFL don’t know what happened in the past - Captain) if our past is not well documented. I think this is one key area in the TRC process that a lot of people miss; docu- menting our past experiences. So I stand for the TRC process. Lawrence Randall (Journalist) My view about the TRC process is that it is just here to open old wounds. For me, I would prefer that a Special Court for Liberia be established and the two can go hand in hand. Those who committed serious crimes against humanity in the Liberian war should face that court so as to prevent impunity in future. Saah Bangatormah (Musical Studio Engineer)

Actually, the TRC cannot heal the wounds of the war because it seeks to The TRC will try to heal the wounds. If we remind people of the bitter past. say that this country is a Christian nation; SomeoneThose caught who might in acts have of mob committed violence we should learn to forgive and live in atrocitiesshould against be severely a family penalized member so can-as to peace. If God decided not to forgive us notdeter be easilyothers forgotten; from engaging and going in such for all the sins we commit, what will hap- beforeactions. the This TRC is willimportant be a reminder because of once pen to us? I support the TRC public hear- people continue to institute mob violence ings as a way of healing the wounds of pain. I don’t thinkRat ttheee TRCFlom cano heal any and go with impunitywound. this encourages the war. Em(Smtuadne nJ.t ,H AaMrrEis U(Tnriavedresri)ty) Lawrence Dahn (Student)

December 2007 - February 2008 UNMIL FOCUS 39 UNMIL FOCUS, Vol. 4, No. 02 A publication of the United Nations Mission in Liberia Public Information Office www.unmil.org