The Young Ambassadors for Peace or YAP, a local group says Liberia is at a crossroads and it’s time young people of Liberia do away with violence and engage in activities that will promote peace across the country.
The group says for too long the young people of Liberia have embraced violence as an alternative, something which has negatively impacted the country. It noted that over the years, young people had allowed themselves to be used by politicians to ignite violence at the detriment of the state.
Addressing reporters at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill, YAP President and Executive Director Momo Taylor explained that the group became very proactive in 2003 during the Accra Peace Accord in Ghana.
According to him, YAP is non-political, non-for-profit, purely dedicated to ensuring that young people appreciate the sustainability of peace in Liberia. “Young Ambassadors have managed to train, recruit and commission over fourteen thousand seven hundred young people between ages 18 and35 as peace ambassadors. We also trained 3,313 security personnel from both the police and the AFL on non-violence campaign and non- violence issues of citizens to ensure everyone appreciates the sustainability of the peace that people enjoy today”, he added Mr. Taylor said YAP has 1,150 volunteers in all 15 counties of Liberia, saying “We have been working not on the basis of political interest; we are working because the youths are being seen as the front factor of violence; the categorization of young people are always seen in the wrong perspective, and since 2003 we been working to ensure that over 62 percent of the population is trained and commissioned as peace ambassadors.”
He said the issues of 14 years of civil conflict will not come to fruition and issues of peaceful demonstrations that will lead to chaotic violence and setback for the country will not come to fruition, adding that since the formation of YAP, it has been working to ensure that every young person contributes to sustaining the peace.
He said as Liberians go to elections in October, the interest of the Young Peace Ambassadors has been drawn to ensure that young people minds are cultivated in the way they can help by supporting the peace process, and ensure that that the country sails on safe ship.
Mr. Taylor also announced an impending national peace and reconciliation tournament beginning February 1, to April, which will bring together 73 electoral districts from across Liberia.
He said now is the time to avoid politicians using the youths as surrogates, saying “It is about time that we think about moving this country forward, because Liberia is all that we have.”
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne