MONROVIA,LIBERIA – A Project dubbed ‘Motoring from War to Peace’; aims at supporting Social Reintegration of Liberia’s Conflict-Affected Youth through Nationwide Counter-Stigma Efforts has launched and distributed bumper stickers to counter stigma and fight COVID – 19 in Liberia.
The Executive Director of Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP), Jimmy Shilue, said the project is to ensure that peace remains stable and also improve social and economic relationships within Liberia.
P4DP is a Liberian Peace building and research organization that received the first UN Peace building Fund in 2008, through Interpeace. The organization works with state and non – state actors to build genuine peace and uses Participatory Action Research methodologies in its work.
Mr. Shilue spoke during a brief in-door session marking the pre-launch Bumper Stickersexercise. The program, which took place on July 24, 2020, was done in adherence to Social Distancing Protocol.
Speaking on the background of the project, he said following 14 years of civil conflict in Liberia, the economic and security context deteriorated and with the end the conflict in 2003 and restoration of semblance of normality, the demand for commercial motor cycles (Pen-Pen) increased astronomically due to inadequate public transport system.
Emphasising that commercial Motorcycle taxi driving provides livelihood support and social integration opportunities to 175,000 conflict-affected Liberians, Shilue noted that the sector is increasingly becoming precarious and youth involved in this sector suffer stigmatisation despite the positive contributions they are making to Liberia’s Peacebuilding process.
The P4DP boss said fostering social inclusion by redressing global inequality through supporting social reintegration of conflict-affected youth is a key principle of SDGs 10. As such, his organisation in collaboration with Dr. Jaremey McMullin of St. Andrews University, U.K, in 2018 conducted a study involving motor cycle drivers, motorcycle union officials, police officers, passengers, and civil society leaders to mitigate fragility and ensure social inclusion and economic survival of “At risk Youth”. Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, one of the burning finding from the study he observed is stigmatization of cyclists.
The pre-launch awareness raising and Bumper stickers’ aspects constitute two major activities of the research that was done since 2018. Participants, including cyclists and stakeholders from communities in Montserrado, Bomi, Margibi and Nimba, where the project were implemented,are expected to gather at Vamoma and Fiamah parking centers to commence the distribution of bumper stickers.
According to him, the project “Motoring from War to Peace supporting Social Reintegration of Liberia’s Conflict-Affected Youth through Nationwide Counter-Stigma Efforts do not only deliver conflict resolution skills to vulnerable groups but also responds to new emergencies threatening the peace that we enjoy in Liberia, example COVID – 19.