A local group, Liberia Feminist Forum or LFF says it is deeply troubled by the horrid report titled “UNPROTECTED”, released by Propublica and TIME Magazine last Thursday, October 11, 2018, detailing horrific rape, sexual abuse and exploitation of Liberian children under the care of More Than Me (MTM) Academy.
It calls on the Liberian government to among others, immediately revoke the accreditation of More Than Me (MTM) Academy and their management of schools under the Ministry of Education’s Liberia Education Advancement Program or LEAP.
“We demand a response from the Government of Liberia to our recommendations and the “UNPROTECTED” report no later than Wednesday, October 17, 2018. We are prepared to hold the government accountable in the event that no action is taken to protect these girls.” The LFF says.
In a statement released in Monrovia Sunday, 14 October LFF also asks government to reassign all nineteen (19) public schools under the management of More Than Me (MTM) Academy within the LEAP program, and to appoint a Trustee to take over the affairs of More Than Me (MTM) Academy inaugural school on Ashmun Street, which is at the center of these allegations.
The statement calls for an independent investigation to review the activities of More Than Me (MTM) in Liberia beginning from its After School program in 2011 to present, in order to determine the full scope and magnitude of the organization’s activities in regards to the safety, security and welfare of girls under their care.
LFF demands that More Than Me (MTM) makes available key documentation to ascertain what actions were taken by the Board if any, to curb further exposure of these girls to danger, and that the documentation should include but not limited to:
The two (2) reports by senior staff cited in the publication, specifically, MTM Risk Management Policy, and the video of the interview of McIntosh Johnson conducted by MTM’s Founder Katie Meyler and MTM’s camera man Holden Warren.
Meanwhile, LFF calls for psychosocial counselling for all the students under More Than Me (MTM) from its After School Program to the establishment of its inaugural school on Ashmun Street and up to present.
“We express our solidarity with the survivors and are concerned about their wellbeing given the public attention of these allegations. We will appreciate that appropriate measures are taken by the Government of Liberia to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these girls, which may or may not include their temporary relocation”, the statement adds.
It challenges the government to use this as an opportunity to confirm its commitment to Liberian women and girls, saying, “We affirm our position against the proposed amendment to the New Rape Law and call on the National Legislature to pass the Domestic Violence Bill. The More Than Me incident reaffirms the critical need for these laws to protect Liberian women and girls from these horrifying and inhumane experiences.” Statement