Monrovia – Better Future Foundation (BFF), proponent of the Liberia Democracy Sustainability Platform (DSP) in collaboration with Youth Beyond Barriers (YBB), has completed a month-long series of lecture on the importance of youth participation in elections and other key aspects of promoting human rights, and sustaining democracy.
Held on the Theme: “Power of Your Vote,” ceremony marking the final phase of the lecture series coincided with the final certification of 65 youth community peer mediators at the United States Embassy near Monrovia.
Sponsored by the United States Government, through its Embassy, the training which was held in five communities in Monrovia and its environs from July to August 2017 was aimed at educating first-time voters between the ages (18-23), from over 20 communities in Montserrado County on how to use their civic rights and duties to ensure peaceful and credible Presidential and legislative elections in Liberia.
It was also gear towards making first- time voters to understand how their votes can influence national growth and development; the need to avoid violence before, during and after the 2017 elections; and the negative effects of selling their votes.
Designed by Miss Jee-Won M. Arkoi, Exchange Alumni of the United States Department of States- PAYLP 2015, the training seminar began on the Capitol Hill Campus of the University of Liberia.
As part of the ten training seminars conducted by BFF/YBB, each group of fifty trainees, according to their residential locations, participated in two days of training exercises and subsequently advanced a group resolution on how they (members of the group) intend to carryout and/ or actualize the message/knowledge acquired from the workshop to their respective communities for sustainable peace and development in the country.
Speaking at the final certification program at the US Embassy, Prof. Debey Sayndee, Director, Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation of the University of Liberia encouraged the training participants to rise above any distractions and remain focused as they strive for quality education if they are to achieve their individual dreams and aspirations.
Prof. Sayndee also told the training participants that they should, at all times, serve as goodwill ambassadors of BFF/YBB by promoting peaceful coexistence between and among youth and community residents and to rise about violence and other acts that have the potential to retard their development and progress in the society.
The UL professor also challenged young people to positively engage their peers to remain law-abiding and to subscribe to positive virtues including honesty, integrity, credibility, hard-work, voluntarism among others.
In his intervention at the occasion, Cllr. Mark M. M. Marvey, an official of the Law-Firm, Heritage Partners & Associates, cautioned Liberian youth to strive for learning opportunities and to exercise care in making decisions which have the potential to affect not only their lives but the Liberian nation now and in the future.
He said young people must always try to be the best in whatever they do including their academic, vocational, technical and professional endeavors.
Adding, “Nothing is impossible to achieve if you work hard in achieving your desired goals.”
For his part, Mr, Kojo Ross, Deputy Director of the Liberia Refugees Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), encouraged young people to take advantage of workshops and other programs that seek to enhance their skills and reasoning.
Mr. Ross emphasized that such skills by the youth should be used effectively in the service of their communities, humanity and the larger society.
He also told the seminar participants to carryout sacrificial development and peace-building services for the benefit of their respective communities and others in need.
Making a brief remark at the occasion, Ms. Rebecca Archer-Kneper, Acting Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy lauded the youth for their participation in the training program.
Ms. Archer-Knepper also commended BFF for getting on board YBB youth from different communities to be a part of said program which she described as history-making.
The US Embassy official who presented certificates to the trainees used the occasion to disclose that the United States is awaiting a peaceful political transition in Liberia and praised the youth for their involvement in the country’s democratic process.
Communities whose youth representatives participated in the training seminar include Peace Island, Bardnersville, 72nd Army Camp Field, West Point, PHP, Central Monrovia, Old Road, Lakpasee, Fiama, Matadi.
Others are Sinkor, Jamaica Road, New Kru Town, Point 4 and Duala.
Youths representing Vai Town, Clara Town, Logan Town, Brewerville, Virgnia(Ricks) and Caldwell also participated in the training program.
According to BFF President Augustine S. Arkoi, the Youth Beyond Barriers (YBB), which provided technical support for the workshop is the Youth leadership and development program of Better Future Foundation (BFF), established in 2007 with the core objectives: “Breaking Barriers, Building/Strengthening Relationships and Promoting Development."