Several Receive Training in Early Warning on Elections Violence Prevention

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Gbarnga, Bong County – The Liberia Peace Building Office at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in collaboration with partners has completed a day long refresher training on early warning and early response elections violence prevention.

The refresher training with took place 23 August 2017, took place at the regional peace and security hob in Gbarnga, Bong County.

It brought together about eighty participants mainly youth from ten counties including Maryland, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Nimba, Lofa, Gbarpolu, Bong, among others.

Giving an overview of the training, the Senior Program Manager of the Peace Building Office Christopher Fayiah, said in 2009 with the support of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the Liberia Peace Building Office recruited, trained and established the county peace committees.

The exercise was intended to help the PBO move to the lower level by decentralizing peace building initiatives at the county level; something he noted has worked very well as has been reported by the various superintendents of the counties.

Also in 2011 according to Mr. Fayiah, with the support of the United Nations, the Early Warning and Early Response Focus Groups system was established with the aim of reporting conflict or violence issues that could resort into chaos.

“And this has also worked well and over these years we have able to have a number of training with you in various areas and I think you have been doing very well since you went out in the various communities in reporting and helping to mitigate conflict issues” we have received good reports from the counties through the superintendents of your good work and we want to applaud you all for your hard work” Mr. Fayiah noted.

He pointed out that with elections just around the corner, the refresher training was necessary to reawaken the missing links in the work that has been done by the county peace committees to ensure that the 2017 elections can be free and fair.

In a related development, the Liberia Peace building Office in collaboration with the Justice and Peace Commission-Gbarnga and the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) and other CSOs, has begun mobilizing 2,500 Anti-Violence Volunteers that will help to promote the prevention of widespread elections violence and effectively reached out to an additional one thousand youths with messages of peace and violence free elections.

The initiative which began August 1 and comes to an end on 30th September 2017.

A release quote the Executive Director of the Liberia Peace Building Office Edward Mulbah as saying, the overall objective is to provide emergency assistance aimed at creating conditions for working collaboratively with Liberians, especially youth in the 15 counties on county to county basis to ensure a peaceful environment for elections.

Mr. Mulbah said this will be achieved through series of community and county levels peacebuilding and reconciliatory activities that will ultimately prevent elections-related violence that will enable smooth and peaceful transitions.

According to him, the PBO component of this initiative will undertake a number of targeted activities that will lead to achieving specific objectives including mobilizing and training 264 Anti-Violence Volunteers including young men and women in peacebuilding, mediation and conflict prevention in 8 counties.

The release further said the exercise will support efforts of these Anti-Violence Volunteers to reach out in communities to create awareness of peace and non-violence before, during and after elections;

increase understanding and participation of young women and men in electoral and post electoral processes for peacebuilding at all levels.

It can be record that in consideration of the significance of peaceful elections, ECOWAS launched a Project titled: Emergency Support to Preventive Diplomacy and Related Actions to Ensure a Free, Fair and Peaceful Elections in Liberia.

This Project with reference number – FED2015/365-457 is funded by the European Union through Africa Peace Facility Early Response Mechanism.

The Project will engage key actors before, during and after elections to ensure that the process leading to the inauguration of a new president is credible and peaceful.

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