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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid