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Liberia Integrity & Democratic Participation Project

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Liberia Integrity & Democratic Participation Project seeks to build integrity, inspire young leaders into action that improves their communities and strengthens Liberia’s democracy. The project aimed at providing a platform for young people especially high school students in Liberia to understand key democratic features, policy and laws enhancing integrity, accountability and participation about Liberia's democratic system.

 

The project is aimed at building integrity among Liberian school kids age 16-18 years to enhance their democratic participation in governance. The project will also expose targeted beneficiaries to basic features of democratic processes including voter registration, getting out to vote and engaging with elected officials. The project will provide a platform for the meaningful participation of a new generation of Liberian youths in electoral and community based democratic processes. Through the project, integrity & Civic Engagement Clubs will be established in five (5) high schools, fifty (50) students and ten (10) teachers trained as mentors.

 

The project is a six (6) months program developed as a follow up initiative by James Koryor 2017 CSP Fellow in fulfilment of his practicum.

 

BACKGROUND

 

Democracy is about the equal participation and representation of the people in government. Liberia has an adult literacy rate of 47.6% meaning that more than half of the country population is illiterate, a situation that has caused under-representation and under participation of the ordinary Liberian citizen.

 

Over 50% of registered voters in Liberia are young people age 18-22. The weak implementation of the elections laws, no civic educations in high schools and lack of transparency and accountability in political processes has reduced voter integrity and responsible participation.

 

The understanding and practice of integrity and democracy is an important element in the preparation of all young people for living in a democratic society that values diversity and is committed to equality and social justice.  Such understanding and practice are developed at an early age in learning the basic facts about rights and through acquiring the needed skills to translate this information into action; skills such as decision making, value clarification, and negotiations. Such learning is reinforced through the very nature of the surrounding environment itself. An appropriate climate is an essential complement to effective learning about and through rights, where it is not only enough to focus upon knowledge, and information gathering about rights, but where it is just as important, that children are given the opportunity to develop and practice skills necessary for the defense and promotion of their own and other people’s rights and the promotion of peace. 

 

It follows that children’s rights are best learned in a democratic setting where participation is encouraged, where views can be expressed openly and discussed, and where there are fairness and justice.  Schools in principle provide a structured learning environment for many children particularly at primary levels and offer a good opportunity to focus on changing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of children.  They are a cost-effective way of reaching children while securing wide coverage and sustainability through the already available infrastructure of the education sector itself.

 

In Liberia, democratic values such as respect for the dignity and freedom of the individual, responsibility, tolerance, equality of opportunity and justice need reaffirming in a country that has witnessed long years of war. These violent years have caused confusion in the minds of the Liberian people whether old or young and have shattered their sense of value judgment and principles. Now, with the resumption of peace and tranquility, Liberia is taking positive steps towards improvements and reconstruction efforts toward rebuilding are advancing swiftly. Yet, Liberia is facing the challenge of human development in a peaceful climate. Among its tasks is preparing its present diverse and young generation to function effectively and productively in developing their future whether nationally, regionally or globally.

 

GOAL

 

The overall goal of the project is to increase young people's democratic participation by promoting integrity and responsible citizenship.

 

The Mentor & Student Toolkit developed with the help of Inspire US will be used to train the students and teachers who will serve as mentors and ICE Ambassadors. A strategic monitoring and evaluation tool will be developed to track, monitor and evaluate project activities. Publicity will also be made about the project using our websites, social media platforms, local radio, television, and newspapers.

 

OBJECTIVES

 

  • Establish Integrity & Civic Engagement Clubs in 5 High Schools in Montserrado County, Liberia;
  • Mobilize, recruit and train 50 ICE Ambassadors in 5 selected High Schools
  • Mobilize, recruit and train 10 ICE Mentors in 5 High Schools;
  • organize and host the First Integrity & Civic Engagement Summit;