More than 30 students and their advisers from 5 schools, over the weekend of January 25th 2014 completed, Youth Crime Watch of Liberia’s YCW Schools implementation workshop in Gbarnga City Bong County.
The Youth-Led Crimes Awareness, Prevention and Reporting program, tagged “YCW Schools” seeks to enhance school – community security relationship through the stablemen of school based programs in congested, vulnerable and crime threatened communities. This initiative will rejuvenate and expand Youth Crime Watch’s interventions to more schools in Montserrado and Bong Counties, as part of YCWL’s long term mission to promote safer schools and communities by raising awareness around issues that affect students and their communities.
The training was graced by an opening statement by the Acting Minister of Gender & Development, Hon. Andrew Tehmeh, who has long had keen interest in Youth Crime Watch of Liberia’s activities and as well as in youth and community development initiatives around Bong county. The training was held at St. Mark’s Lutheran High School, in Gbarnga City and brought together participants from the St. Mark’s Lutheran High School, St. Peter’s Episcopal High School, St. Martin’s Catholic High School, G. W. Gibson High School, and William V. S. Tubman Gray High School.
This One Day Implementation Workshop is part of a six month initiative, with funding from Humanity United through Trust Africa, as part of Early Warning Early Response Working Group’s Small Grant Initiatives. The main objectives of the training is to build the capacities young people, their advisers, empowering them with the tools and knowledge needed to help prevention of crimes, as well as skills needed to effectively run a Youth Crime Watch of Liberia “YCW Schools” program within their respective school.
YCWL young trainees and their Adviser were very enthusiastic about the program. During the working section, participants identified three major issues in each of their schools that are affecting students, which they would like to address as a debut for responsibility for their YCW School sites.
During group discussions some of the students mentioned indecent dress code and alcohol abuse as key factors affecting students; “some of our friends feel that because they are shy, they can depend on alcohol and other drugs to make them active in class and that can make them brave also to disrupt lectures be rude” – Musa Kamara, St. Martin’s High School.
Another student also noted that their peer’s dress code on campus is unhealthy, it makes teachers to go after the girls and the boys show no decency at all.
“I think all of us need to practice good behavior on campus, by dressing properly, as this attitude will go a long way with us to our jobs and communities.” – Joyce Sumo, G. W. Gibson High School.
According to Thomas J. Barlue, Program Manager of Youth Crime Watch Liberia; the program will continue to support Core Groups, to identify issues affecting them, in addition to drugs and crimes; and work with students and their administrations to address them through peer led Community Service Learning projects.
With support to the objectives of Liberia’s Early Warning Early Response Working Group and the Peacebuilding Office, Youth Crime Watch of Liberia will continue to, through its programs, devise applicable long term mechanism to engage the minds and skills of young people in making them future assets and catalysts of Peacebuilding and crime reduction at both community and state levels.
The organization’s goal is to support the government and other stakeholders in several ways that would create crime-free, drug-free and violence free environments through youth-led initiatives; to instill positive values, foster good citizenship, and to build self-confidence in young people.
Youth Crime Watch of Liberia is an accredited youth organization established in 2004, following the civil conflict, which nearly decimated the population to help address the need for grassroots participation in nation building. The organization is dedicated to fighting illiteracy and promoting reconciliation, reconstruction, peace, development and better and healthier lifestyles in Liberia through crime prevention, youth empowerment and youth employment.