UNICEF: Funding will help with reintegration of thousands of children associated with fighting forces & provide safe water supply to more than 225,000
MONROVIA, Liberia, 1 March 2006 - The Government of Japan has contributed US$6.78 million to UNICEF to help provide more than 5,000 demobilized children associated with fighting forces with a basic primary school education or vocational skills training. The funding will also be used by UNICEF and its partners to provide 300 Liberian schools and 50 health centres with new water and environmental sanitation services.
“We are profoundly grateful to the Government of Japan for their continued commitment to assist Liberia’s vulnerable children,” said UNICEF Liberia Representative Angela Kearney. “This generous contribution from the people of Japan will support UNICEF’s interventions to reintegrate 11,780 children who were demobilised from fighting forces. We will work simultaneously with partners to reconstruct water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in areas of the country that are undergoing high rates of return of internally displaced persons and refugees who are coming back home.
“Earlier this year, the Government of Japan provided UNICEF Liberia with US$2.21 million to protect children from infectious diseases. This high level of commitment not only reflects the strong partnership between UNICEF and the Government of Japan, but the will of respected donors to support the Government of Liberia,” said Kearney. “It is indeed a new day for Liberia and a huge step for Liberia’s kids.”
With targeted assistance to 5,445 demobilized children, UNICEF will also use Japan’s contribution to develop community-based support structures to facilitate the reintegration of nearly 5,000 other vulnerable children, including many who were separated from their families during Liberia’s 14 years of war. These services will be provided in seven focus counties: Bomi, Bong, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Maryland, Montserrado, and Nimba.
Water and environmental sanitation services in the seven counties will be strengthened through the provision of a safe water supply to at least 225,000 beneficiaries. In the battle against cholera and diarrhea, an estimated 15,000 families in 500 communities will receive hygiene promotion education.
“The new funding for UNICEF Liberia is part of my Government’s strong support of life changing sustainable development programmes in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Japan’s Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Masamichi Ishikawa. “Japan has also recently provided US$10.95 million to UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of Congo for education and child protection and US$7.26 million to UNICEF Burundi for primary education. UNICEF is a proven and effective partner and together we are making the world a better place for children.”
“With Liberians returning to parts of the country that were destroyed during the war, we need to work tirelessly to make the reintegration process a success,” said Mr. Yoshiteru Uramoto, Director of UNICEF’s Tokyo Office in Japan. “Thanks to the Government of Japan’s contribution, we can protect even more young lives by making sure their communities have a safe water supply. We’re also helping to build a future for thousands of kids who had their childhoods forcibly taken from them during the war years. These children dream about going to school, and soon their dreams will be answered.”
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 countries to help children survive and thrive from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF works to advance the Millennium Development Goals by supporting child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, access to clean water and sanitation, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of governments, businesses, foundations, and individuals. UNICEF is a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace.
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