By Lewis S. Teh
A member of the African Youth Fellowship, Thompson N. Temitope says the AYF envisages a society free of violence in which citizens have the right and opportunity to express their opinions on matters affecting their wellbeing.
Mr. Temitope explained that AYF is a non-political youth-led organization that was founded in 2017 by Ambassador Moses Nuwon Buwee with the goal of creating young leaders as agents of peace and promoting democracy.
He made the observation recently at the celebration of International Youth Day with a call to young people across the country to remain peaceful.
According to him, the organization operates under four pillars namely; peacebuilding, leadership development, entrepreneurship, and advocacy. He added that since its establishment, the group has hosted series of activities, including leadership and peace-building conferences in Montserrado County, including non-violence campaign messages in various high schools as well as peace conferences focusing on violence-free election in Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Gbarpolu and Bomi counties.
He added that AYF also renovated and dedicated youth hub in 2019, which has provided space for young people to do research and enhanced their skills in computer literacy.
At the same time, he said as part of their plans for 2023, they were able to host a day-long peace leadership conference, with the objective of informing young people of their role during these electoral periods.
Mr. Temitope stressed that the peace of Liberia is being threatened if nothing is done to address increase of disadvantaged youth, who are otherwise considered here as zogoes.
We certainly celebrated this gone Nelson Mandela day in various ghettos in Paynesville outside Monrovia with the aim of creating awareness on sustaining the peace of Liberia”, he said.
Also giving a background of International Youth Day, program manager, Jutomue S. Kollie, said the Day came as a result of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 45/120 that endorsed recommendation by the World Conference of Ministers of Youth of Portugal, Lisbon from 8-12 August in 1998 that August 12 each year should be commemorated as International Youth Day to draw worldwide focus towards various issues surrounding youths globally.
According to him, IYD offers a platform to honor qualities of youth and potential that they hold towards development of a nation and the world as a whole. The day he added, also acknowledges challenges young people face and how to eliminate those challenges.
A lot of contribution has been made by young people towards community development, in the protection of the environment and volunteering for various social projects; this year we are celebrating this day under the theme ” Peaceful Coexistence: a pathway to Sustainable Peace and Development’ with a global theme “Green Skills for Youth towards a sustainable world”, Mr. Kollie explained.
He noted in preparation for the 2023 Election in the country, AYF Liberia has begun youth peace dialogue with different stakeholders, including media executives with phase I targeting Bong County.
For her part. Madam Rolsin Timmons, Youth Coordinator in the Office of UN Resident Coordinator here, extolled AYF Liberia members for dedicating themselves up to the celebration, saying the Day is significant to youth of every country.
She also called on young people in the country to remain peaceful during these electoral periods, adding that a country that protects its peace gets to see real development. Editing by Jonathan Browne