Posted by: APO | 16 June 2010

UN Deputy Envoy urges continuing support for Liberian children’s welfare, as the Day of the African Child celebrated


UN Deputy Envoy urges continuing support for Liberian children’s welfare, as the Day of the African Child celebrated


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, June 16, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Recovery and Governance, Mr. Moustapha Soumaré has stressed the importance of supporting children’s welfare because they constitute a vulnerable part of the population. He made this statement today in the densely populated Monrovia suburb of West Point when the Day of the African Child was commemorated by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), in collaboration with UNICEF, COMIUM, GT BANK, ECO Bank, PLAN, PSI, Sharks, Merlin and the Children’s Forum Network.

Emphasizing the need to prioritize children’s welfare, the UN Deputy Envoy said: “If there is good education for children, then one would be building the future of the nation; so translate your words into actions and put your money where your mouth is.” DSRSG Soumaré praised the Liberian Government for the achievements in education, health, infrastructure and other areas following 14 years of war. He pledged the continuing assistance of the United Nations Family and bilateral partners in assisting Liberia with its Poverty Reduction Strategy programme. “Our role is to create that environment to assist in bringing about equal opportunity for everybody, including children in Liberia,” he pointed out.


Mr. Soumaré, who is also UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, said the selection of West Point for the observance of the Day of the African Child promotes the cause of the children of West Point. “Supporting the children and showing to them that they have a future is important for us,” the UN Deputy Envoy said, adding that their presence in West Point was a show of support for the Government of Liberia.


UNMIL Chief of Public Information, Mr. George Somerwill described the programme as a great success. He said organizers of the Day of the African Child event wanted to focus the attention of Liberians and the UN Family on West Point. “You only have to look around here in West Point to see that there are a lot of needs to be met; a lot of people are really struggling and it was crucial to make it better for people here,” he noted.


One third of the 75,000 residents living in the impoverished community of West Point are children. These children are seriously deprived and lack basic support for proper growth and development. In addition, parents and guardians lack the capacity to help protect their children from health hazards found in their makeshift homes, making them susceptible to diseases. This community is also prone to a high incidence of teenage pregnancy and when some babies are born, they are often found abandoned in the community by young mothers who do not have the necessary skills or resources themselves to care for them.


At the festivities involving over 600 children, a medical outreach was conducted by UNMIL Jordanian and Nigerian military contingent medical corps and medical NGO Merlin, live performances by Boutini, Nicholas and Vivian from A Star is Born, sporting activities, mini fun-fair and games, and live discussions on UNMIL Radio by Liberian children voicing their concerns on issues affecting them. Prizes and awards were given to deserving children and teams.


Attending the programme were UNMIL Director of Mission Support, Mr. Hubert Price and members of the UN Family; Senator John Ballout of Maryland County; Montserrado County Representative Alomiza Enno; representatives of the Gender and Development Ministry, non-governmental organizations working with children and representatives of the sponsors of today’s event.



Mission of UN in Liberia


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