The Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development (COYPED) in partnership with the Pan-African Youth Leaders Network (ROJALNU) and the Ministry of Youth & Sports over the weekend officially launched the Community Participation Project to improve Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health in Tubmanburg City, Bomi County. The Project is funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Speaking at the official launching of the Community Participation Project to Improve Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health, the Bomi County Coordinator of COYPED, Isaac Ngakpah, welcomed participants and guests at the event and also commended youth-led organizations operating in the county who he will be working with over the next four months for their commitment to ensure that the project be successful in the county.
Also speaking at the program on July 30, 2015 at the Moses Vincent Community School in Tubmanburg City, the Executive Director of the Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development, James Koryor, stated that the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) endorsed the right of adolescents and young adults to obtain the highest level of health care, stressing that a need for a robust and comprehensive advocacy project that addresses the sexual and reproductive health needs of young people in Liberia is imperative and crucial.
The COYPED boss further stated that the project involved sensitizing youth-led organizations, community members, traditional leaders and policy makers through community-based interventions to address priority-issues such as harmful traditional practices, early or forced marriage, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, GBV, elimination of FGM and all form of violence against young girls through policy advocacy, community mobilization, sensitization and awareness; this program is expected to last for four (4) months from July-October 2015, COYPED boss noted.
For his part, the Executive Director of Youth Exploring Solutions (YES) Stephen B. Lavalah, commended COYPED and partners for such a great initiative and called on participants at the launching program to take the project as their own, stressing that they are to serve as ambassadors in their communities to ensure that the project is successful.
The YES Executive Director who served as keynote speaker at the event called for an immediate end to harmful traditional practices especially early or forced marriage that has the propensity to increase teenage pregnancy, SGBV, illiteracy and poverty. Mr. Lavalah called for the equal participation and empowerment of women and young girls at every level.
For his part, the UNFPA Representative, Henry Sackie who launched the project in the county commended COYPED, ROJALNU and the Ministry of Youth & Sports for organizing such an important event. The UNFPA representative informed the gathering that his organization is committed to providing support to programs that are in the best interest of the vulnerable population especially women and girls.
Mr. Sackie further stressed that adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues are critical to every nation and the UNFPA will always support youth-led initiative that addresses those issues that will help improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the country.
The UNFPA official also stated that his organization is working to ensure that no pregnancy is unwanted and called on participants especially females to take advantage of the family planning services available at various health facilities in the county, while he admonished the male participants to always use their condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS and STIs.
In his closing remarks, the Deputy Director for programs at the Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development, Mr. Joseph F. Weah, Jr., expressed thanks and appreciation to the donor organization UNFPA, Partners, Ministry of Youth & Sports and Pan-African Youth Leaders Network (ROJALNU) and leaders of youth organizations and participants for their valuable contribution and participation at the event.
Mr. Weah assured the donor partner UNFPA that COYPED will work with community members and youth organizations to ensure that the project is implemented as planned. Mr. Weah also encouraged female participants to always attend events that could build their capacity especially on sexual & reproductive health.
The event brought together over eighty participants including representatives from UNFPA, Ministry of Youth & Sports, CSOs, youth organizations, women groups and the media.