COVID-19 Substance Users Care & Support Initiative Launched in Liberia
The Global Action for Sustainable Development (GASD) in partnership with the Association of Progressive Youth of Liberia (APYL) have launched a social welfare and protection initiative for substance users in Liberia.
Speaking at the launch event in West Point on Sunday, May 10, 2020, the Executive Director of the Global Action for Sustainable Development, James Koryor stated that the Initiative seeks to provide feeding, increase advocacy especially for females substance users against SGBV and unwarranted brutality against substance users by state security officers, enhance psychosocial counseling and support for substance users in Liberia during this COVID-19 health emergency.
Mr. Koryor also stressed that the initiative will basically focus on COVID-19 awareness/sensitization prevention for substance users, motivation and psychosocial counseling to discourage and minimize drug abuse among substance users and promote peacebuilding during this COVID-19.
For his part, the Executive Director of the Association of Progressive Youth of Liberia stated that the initiative will also encourage and involve families and communities in the development and implementation of community-based prevention strategies in the selected communities to ensure that the initiative is sustained beyond COVID-19.
The APYL Boss used the occasion to provide COVID-19 prevention tips to the substance users at the event and encourage them to do their utmost best and stay safe by washing their hands as often as possible avoid crowdedness in their ghettos which he considers as a hard thing for them but encourage them to try.
For his part, an executive member of the War Affected Youth Organization of West Point, Abraham Bropleh expressed gratitude for the selfless effort of GASD and APYL for coming to the aid of the vulnerable young people in west point at such a critical time when everyone has forgotten them during this health emergency.
Mr. Bropleh committed his organization support towards the initiative in West Point and called on other prominent residents in the community to join and support the initiative to sustain it for a longer period.
Expressing frustration amidst the COVID-19, T-Girl not a real name stressed that SGBV against female substance has increased. “We are beaten, harassed and money is taken from us by individuals who have sexual intercourse with us, and sometimes they want to pay L$30-50 Liberian Dollars” she stressed. T-Girl also stressed that they are vulnerable and weak and cannot challenge the male partners to fight because most often they are brutalized and that the COVID-19 has put them in serious suffering.
Many of the substance users expressed gratitude for the meal and appeal that GASD and APYL continue to come to their aid during the health emergency because no organization or even government have brought food for them, asking about their wellbeing and visiting them to educate them about the COVID-19 prevention.
They disadvantaged youth further expressed and commit to a peaceful resolution of conflict during this health emergency stressing that they will remain peaceful, crime-free to avoid coming in conflict with the law and state security harassment.
The event benefited over 150 persons dealing with 25 persons at a time to observe social distancing which was a real challenge considering the fact the way the understand issue but however, the aim and objectives were realized and hope lesson learned will be utilized as we roll out the initiative across Montserrado and other counties base on funding and support.
The Global Action for Sustainable Development (GASD) a registered non-profit organization, first established in 2008 as Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development, GASD work to strengthen policies and programs that support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through poverty reduction, gender equality, health, quality education, clean water & sanitation, zero hunger, drug policy reform, transparency & accountability, peacebuilding and environmental sustainability in Liberia.
GASD meets real needs with real results. We develop and implement development programme that affect real lives situations in some of Liberia’s poorest communities in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).