Buchanan, Grand Bassa County – The former speaker of the children parliament of Liberia, Satta F. Sheriff c, has called on the Government of Liberia to allocate money for children in the country’s national budget.
Serving as keynote speaker of 2017’s Day of the African Child program celebrated on
June 16 in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, Ms Sheriff said the purpose for celebrating the day is to inform local and International stakeholders, parents, communities and children themselves about the plight of African Children.
She expressed dissatisfaction in the lawmakers for not prioritizing children in the national budget and said numerous appeals have been made for budgetary allotment to the children of Liberia all to no avail.
She termed the situation as a disservice to the future leaders of the country.
The former speaker of the Children Parliament said the government needs to recognize children and prioritize their importance for the future of the country by investing in them now. She said a country can have more educated people only if it begins educating children from their early age.
We need to make progress on protection, empowerment and equal opportunity for children in Liberia. We are getting into the acceleration mode and should be focusing on reaching every child of Liberia, she said.
She added that commemorating the day also intends to mobilize resources and take concrete actions about the plight of children in Africa.
She reminded her audience about children being the future leaders of Liberia and must be educated like other children in the rest of the world provided the government of Liberia recognizes them.
Over 500 children from Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Margibi and Montserrado counties attended the program which was held at the Unification Pavilion on the Fairgrounds in the port city.
Sheriff encouraged her fellow children to be focus and study their lessons instead of roaming the streets and falling prey to peer pressure that may ruin their future.
Mentioning the upcoming Presidential and legislative elections, she stressed the need for the protection of children against electoral violence in order to remain on the road to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide equal opportunities for children in Liberia.
This year’s Day of the African Child was held under the theme: Protecting Children from Electoral Violence, A Road Map to Achieving 2030 (SDGs); Provide Equal Opportunities for Children in Liberia.
The theme calls upon policymakers, parent’s caregivers to examine progress made and build upon it.
The program was sponsor by the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection in partnership with Liberia Children Forum, UNICEF and Child Protection Network.
The celebration of the Day of the African Child (DAC) arises from Resolution Number CM/1290 by the Head of States Summit of the then Organization of African Unity which was held in Abuja, Nigeria in June of 1990.
It declared 16th day of June every year as the Day of the African child to commemorate the death of hundreds of school children massacred on June 16, 1976 in Soweto, South Africa by the then apartheid Regime.
For others, the day is a time for serious and critical reflections on the hardship young and vulnerable children continue to endure.
Report by Elton Tiah, FPA Contributor