More than 30-participants have benefited from an Alternative to Violence training in the Duport Road Community of Paynesville. The beneficiaries include students, motorcyclists and police officers. The group coordinator of the Alternative to Violence Project or AVP Liberia Students Initiative, Mr. Phillip S. Quaqui, said the purpose of the training was to empower young people to cope with violence in society, most especially as Liberia prepares for the 2017 presidential elections, as well as UNMIL drawdown.
Mr. Quaqui urged young Liberians to be very patient in dealing with whatever issues with which they are faced, warning that if one becomes impatient, he or she becomes emotional, which likely leads to violence.
He said the organization was birthed in the United States in 1975 and has spread to many countries, making impact, especially in such Rwanda. As a post-civil conflict country that recently experienced the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, Mr. Quaqui expressed the fears that violence was still high in Liberia, with the young generation copying violent style of approach in seeking redress to situations facing them.
“And I always tell people, one major cause of young people taking the law into their hands is the issue of fact-finding. Because sometimes we don’t investigate,” he argued. Unfortunately, Quaqui observed that sometimes young people would just be walking in the street, hear noise and subsequently jump into conclusion that the person at the center of the noise was a rogue and must therefore be killed.
As a result, he emphasized that violence-related issue was high in Liberia due to how young people react to situations, suggesting that the best option forward was to create an avenue such as training exercise to mold the minds of young Liberians.
He said his organization – the AVP, mobilize people, take them to quiet places to reflect and build their skills, as well as make them to understand communication to enable them differentiate between conflict and confrontation.
He, however, called for support from Liberians for the success of the program, saying the AVP was a non-barrier organization that targets everybody, including students, motorcyclists and police officers, as primary beneficiaries.
He said the inclusion of police officers was necessary because any violent act involving students, as well as motorcyclists, among others, would attract their intervention.
By Winston W. Parley