As part of efforts to maintain the no violence campaign after the just ended controversial elections, the Development Education Network-Liberia (DEN-L) in partnership with the catholic Agency for Oversea Development (CAFOD) with funds from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has ended a one day peace musical Extravaganza in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The program which was held under the theme “We all are winners, Liberia is a winner”, brought together local county authorities, local artists and civil society actors among others.
Giving an overview of the even, DEN-L Executive Director Dorothy Toomann stated that a nationwide conflict analysis conducted by the institution shows that several conflict drivers and trigger were identified adding the need for the conduct of the event in order to bring people together for the common good of the Country.
According to the results of the analysis, 77% of respondents cited disputes over land and property rights as a major area 68.8% mentioned high rates of youth unemployment while 59.2% felt threatened by high cost of living and stable foods dependent on imports.
According to her, the above mention results are also consider potential flashpoints for violence and politicians are key conflict actors (70.8%)
The DEN-L Executive Director adds that the presidential elections may, given the tensions around it, provide a trigger for such conflict. “Another factor to take into consideration is the potential for disenfranchised youth to be mobilized for political aims, as has happened in the past.” She continued.
According to her, DEN-L has a vision to contribute to a Liberia at peace with itself and its neighbors. She noted that to respond to the situation of the youths, DEN-L in partnership with CAFOD and UNMIL opted to work with vulnerable youth in this project as a way of mitigating conflict drivers and triggers from the point of view of youth through project, support to the constructive engagement of high risk youth in the lead up to the 2017 elections.
She also said that the project led them to engage five hundred (500) youth in Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties through rapid assessment process.
“Four hundred were identified to participate in the project and we developed a tailored training module to cover, Good governance, peace-building, Rule of Law and the 2017 election process and procedure”. Madam Toomaan said.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner of Suakoko District Paul Darwokalah extended comedations to DEN-L and partners for the under takings and promised to push the message of peace forward.
By: Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Gbarnga.