ECOWAS, UNICEF and Liberia Celebrate 49th Anniversary of ECOWAS and Day of the African Child

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Ecowas Radio Ecowas @
Ecowas Radio Ecowas @

ECOWAS Regional Radio, UNICEF, and the Government of Liberia commemorated the 49th anniversary of ECOWAS and the Day of the African Child on June 16, 2024.

The event, held at the ECOWAS regional radio station in Monrovia, focused on the theme “Education for all children in Africa: The time is now,” promoting inclusive education regardless of race, color, creed, or religion.

The celebration featured government officials, civil society representatives, and children from diverse educational backgrounds, including students from the School for the Blind. The event unfolded in two phases, addressing critical issues such as the rule of law, child labor, drug abuse, and sexual violence in schools.

Ecowas Radio Ecowas @
Ecowas Radio Ecowas @

Colonel Gregory Coleman’s Address

Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Colonel Gregory Coleman, highlighted the rule of law, asserting that all citizens are equal before the law and emphasizing that ignorance of the law is no excuse. He underscored the importance of legal awareness to ensure compliance and revealed ongoing collaboration between the Liberia National Police and the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency to combat drug abuse. Coleman urged Liberian children to prioritize their education over peer pressure, framing it as essential for future leadership.

“We must avoid becoming accomplices to the drug trade. As you celebrate the Day of the African Child, prioritize your education to become future leaders,” Coleman advised.

Ecowas Radio Ecowas @
Ecowas Radio Ecowas @

Commitment to Children’s Rights and Leadership

Colonel Coleman also committed to working closely with the Liberian Children’s Parliament and regional youth parliaments to enhance their understanding of national and international laws that protect their right to education.

Eddie Jarwolo, Executive Director of NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, representing civil society, encouraged children to embrace principles of good leadership, transparency, and accountability. He emphasized that accountability is key to combating corruption and fostering respectable leadership.

Madam Victoria Zaway, Directress for Children and Social Protection, reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to engaging stakeholders in promoting children’s educational rights in Liberia.

Cultural Celebration

The event concluded with a live performance of “The Lion King” by students from Josephine Clarke Academy, showcasing themes of responsibility, leadership, courage, perseverance, friendship, loyalty, redemption, and forgiveness.

Background of the Day of the African Child

The Day of the African Child was established in 1991 by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) to honor the memory of the 1976 Soweto Uprising, where approximately 20,000 children protested against the poor quality of their education and demanded the right to be taught in their own language. This day continues to highlight the ongoing need to improve educational opportunities for African children.

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