The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection says its attention has been drawn to a sustained, yet baseless social media report accusing it of reluctance to distribute UNICEF-donated bicycles to its fifteen County Coordinators and Child Welfare Officers and Committees nationwide.
The Ministry, in a release issued Thursday in Monrovia, clarified that contrary to the misinformed and malicious social media report, it had already concluded Phase I of the distribution of the bicycles which included Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bomi, Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, Lofa, Bong, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties.
The release further quoted the ministry as clarifying that Phase II of the distribution of the bicycles, while awaiting coding by the General Services Agency or GSA, has, however, been interrupted by the bad road situation in the Southeast – a situation further worsened by the recent collapse of the bridge linking Rivercess and Sinoe Counties.
Despite the challenges posed, the Ministry indicated, it has begun the distribution of the donated items to Rivercess, Sinoe, Maryland and River Gee Counties respectively, also revealing that contrary to the unfounded reports, it received 18 land cruiser jeeps, 119 motor bikes and 1,000 bicycles from UNICEF.
According to the release, the aforementioneditems were donated following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between it and UNICEF, with the primary focus to expedite the Ministry’s work regarding its program on the rights and protection of children and families affected by the Ebola Virus Disease.
The Ministry further described the distribution process of the UNICEF-donated items as transparent, with full documentation of received counties and delivery notes from each of the Child Welfare Committees and the County Coordinators respectfully.
According to the MOU between the Ministry and UNICEF, both institutions agreed to observe their unique and separate functions, so that the proper utilization of the donated items, the capacity of both UNICEF and the Ministry will be enhanced in delivering case management, psychosocial support and other relevant assistance to women and children in the country.
Under the MOU, the parties acknowledged that the donated items will only be used by the relevant staff responsible for case management, family tracing and reunification, provision of psychosocial care, welfare institutions monitoring, data collection, technical supervision to Child Welfare Committees and any work that promotes the rights and wellbeing of children in the country – something the Ministry upholds with high esteem.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has reassured that it remains grateful to UNICEF and other international partners who continue to build the capacity of the Ministry to help implement its mandate in Liberia.
The Ministry of Gender, in line with the MOU, expressed its commitment to the restoration of human dignity to all vulnerable children, especially those affected by the deadly Ebola Virus Disease; maintain and monitor the usage of the vehicles, bicycles, motorbikes and all of UNICEF donated assets for the protection of women and children in Liberia.
-Edited by George Barpeen