News / Africa

NGO Official: Liberian Peace Threatened by Ivorian Conflict

Anne Goddard, CEO of ChildFund International, says Liberian President Sirleaf is also concerned Ivory Coast conflict threatens Liberia's peace

Residents of the Abobo district carry their belongings as they flee the neighborhood which has become a hub for street violence in the nation's ongoing political standoff, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, February 28, 2011
Residents of the Abobo district carry their belongings as they flee the neighborhood which has become a hub for street violence in the nation's ongoing political standoff, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, February 28, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • ChildFund International CEO Anne Goddard spoke with Butty

James Butty

An official of a US-based non-profit group says her organization and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf are concerned the escalating violence in Ivory Coast and the refugees it generates could undermine Liberia’s fragile peace.

The number of refugees flowing into neighboring Liberia increased dramatically last week from 40, 000 to 70,000, according to UN and aid agencies sources.

Anne Goddard, CEO of ChildFund International has just returned from Liberia where her organization works on a wide variety of child protection issues, including re-integrating former child soldiers back into their communities.

Goddard said President Sirleaf is concerned the fighting in Ivory Coast could encourage some former Liberian fighters to again take up arms.

“I did meet with the president (Sirleaf). She expressed great appreciation for our work. She was most concerned at the time about the situation in Cote d’Ivoire and the fighting that just broke out that day in the country and, suddenly, there had been an increase of people crossing the border,” she said.

Goddard says, even though Liberians are trying to return the hospitality Ivory Coast showed them during Liberia’s 14-year civil war, Sirleaf fears the gains made toward peace could be reversed if the fighting continues.

“Liberia is in a very fragile state, still. It’s not that many years since peace came and her concern, which I agree with, is that fighting there (in Ivory Coast) and the great increase in refugees could really affect the country and its stability right now. Because Cote d’Ivoire had accepted so many Liberian refugees over the years, people in Liberia were giving refuge because they were returning the great support that they had gotten from Cote d’Ivoire before,” Goddard said.

She said her organization also works with former child soldiers helping them to reintegrate into their communities.

“We worked with a lot of them in the early days after peace broke out. We helped reintegrate many children back into their communities. There is concern now that some of these children have not been able to find jobs, etc. and, with the conflict spilling over from Ivory Coast into Liberia, these children, young adults now, could be dragged back into conflict again,” she said.

Goddard says she was in Liberia to review her foundation’s work with children, particularly in the area of child protection, which she says began soon after the agreement ending Liberia’s civil war was signed.

“We’ve increased access to schools for many children in terms of helping extend school buildings so there are more schools available to children; we’ve opened what I believe is the first early childhood education program in the country for children from ages 3-5 before they start kindergarten school,” she said.

Goddard also sayd her organization works on teen pregnancy, which she notes is caused by the breakdown of Liberia’s social fabric because of years of civil war.

“I think, in many ways, in a country that has gone into civil war for so long, the social fabric of the country really broke down and it is slowly being rebuilt, and I think that (the) lack of social fabric, which is beginning to rebuild, means the social norms are not there. So, I think girls and boys having sex before marriage is common,” Goddard said.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid