Posted on Monday, March 7th, 2011 at 9:36 am
Louise Yarsiah leads the women of WANEP in song in Liberia. Photo: Jenny Hobbs, Concern Worldwide
By Jenny Hobbs, Education Co-ordinator, Liberia
Few people are aware that a group of women – calling themselves the Peace Women, dressed in colourful lappas (Liberian cloth), bright white t-shirts and white headscarves, were instrumental in bringing peace to Liberia. Their story, which begins with the simple act of sitting along the streets for months under the hot sun or torrential rains of Liberia, led to the exile of alleged warlord Charles Taylor in 2003, now awaiting his verdict in The Hague.
In 1998, women from all tribes and religions in Liberia united in their common goal for an end to violence, and played an essential role in the decommissioning of young rebels to install peace and democracy in a war-torn country. The movement took place under the auspices of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP). Today the work of these Peace Women continues. Here in Liberia, 75 women gather on a dusty football pitch to hold a 40-day fast and prayer meeting in solidarity for the women and children in neighbouring Côte D’Ivoire, where over 77,700 refugees have fled to Liberia. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011 at 4:32 pm
Children in Grand Bassa with school curriculum materials provided with support from Concern. Photo: Ester Havens, Liberia
By Jenny Hobbs, Education Coordinator, Liberia
When a girl starts school in Liberia, she arrives full of enthusiasm and hope. Squeezing onto a bench with children her age—under a corrugated roof, in a make-shift building—she looks to her teacher ready to learn. But, without books to read from, a desk to lean on or a pencil to hold, progress is slow. Her teacher is an untrained, unqualified, unpaid volunteer. He struggles to control the overcrowded class and yearns for a curriculum to follow, textbooks to use or a decent blackboard to write on.
Concern Liberia is working to address these issues in 30 remote schools in Grand Bassa County. Constructing classrooms, separate toilets for boys and girls and providing furniture is just the start. Textbooks and other essential learning items like blackboards, pencils and copybooks are also being distributed. Read the rest of this entry »