From onsite to Virtual; NACED camp remains colorful
Amid the many challenges coupled with the increase in Corona Virus (COVID’19) cases leading to NACED Camp 2020 being hosted Virtually, from physically being held in Bong County it was reprogramed in the dying minutes to a virtual Conference via digital platforms of ZOOM and Facebook Live and still maintaining the high-quality of expected output by Right Holders Network with support from YOCEL.
The Right Holders Network-RHN is a child and youth led advocacy platform established in 2017 as an auxiliary of YOCEL. RHN works to promote children’s rights through Policy Advocacy, Capacity Building, Community Awareness and the hosting of the National Children’s Education and Development Camp amongst others. We believe that children can only speak out when their capacities are built and their knowledge enhanced. To achieve this, we planed the third convening of the National Adolescent Education and Development Camp (NACED Camp 2020); an event which has been recognized and endorsed by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection under the theme: “Ending Child Marriage in Liberia”. The camp aims to create the platform for children and adolescents between the ages of 14- 24 years; to share their initiatives, inspire, mobilize and support each other.
Considering the vital role of youth in future development we have this CAMP as an annual event and the premier platform where young people can interactively brain stone on prevailing problems and challenges and find realistic solutions/answers to them. This year’s Camp was held under the theme “Ending Child and Force Marriages in Liberia” on Monday, December 28, 2020.
The camp was successfully hosted virtually with about one hundred twenty (120) participants from across the country including Lofa, Grand Gedeh, Bong and Montserrado amongst others excluding the viewers on the social media.
Serving as Keynote Speaker, Honorable Moima Briggs Mensah, and Representative District: #6. Bong County, challenged members of the Right Holders Network and children across Liberia to take the lead in the fight against early and force marriage by serving as ambassadors in their respective communities/institutions. She also urged national government, CSOs, religious and stakeholders to broaden the fight by engaging victims in the most remote parts of the countries and actors of early child marriage by creating more awareness and sensitization on Ending Early Marriage in Liberia.
In another presentation, Atty. Mmonbeydo Nadine Joah, Executive Director for Organization for Women and Children highlighted policies and legal approach that the rights of children which CSOs activists can use a leverage in ending child and force marriages in Liberia.
Also speaking on the role of CSOs in influencing positive change in communities and attitudes in Ending Child and Force Marriage in Liberia, Madam Joyce L. Kilikpo Executive Director of Public Health Initiative of Liberia stressed the need for stronger collaborative efforts from government, Civil Society Actors and community in ending child marriage across the country.
Some recommendations and key action points from participants included but not limited to:
Stronger engagements from government, CSOs and state actors into educating students about early and force marriage and the consequences involved, workshops should be held in schools about the reporting mechanisms.
The need for government to fully implement the already existing laws and policies that speaks to the issues of early and force marriage in Liberia.
With the virtual participation from across the country, and our international advocates from Rwanda that were fully represented, the Right Holders Network and the YOCEL family commended the efforts of all of our delegates and viewers who formed part of this year’s event.
For their part Right Holders Network and YOCEL thanked everyone who participated and supported us in making NACED Conference 2020 a success most especially our partners Firestone Liberia, the Fund for Global Human Rights, Kids Developments Initiative, Plus Liberia and others for their meaningful contributions and reaffirmed their commitments to the RHN and the children of Liberia.