In Liberia, children take on an healthy message on air
Monrovia, Liberia, 23 june 2009 - The town of Voinjama, Lofa County in the north of Liberia, was the center of celebration for the 2009 Day of the African Child (DAC) on 16 June. The day started on air on Radio Kazza, a local radio, where six young articulated children from Lofa took over the airwaves.
The children talked about what is important to them to make Africa better fit for children. They took part in group discussions on simple hygiene practices to prevent diseases and on important human rights milestones since the creation of the DAC in 1990.
Liberia has come a long way since the end of the 14-year civil war but children remain vulnerable to preventable diseases. In 2003, 235 children out of 1,000 would die before reaching the age of five. This figure has now gone down to 135, but it’s still about twenty times higher than most developed countries. The Liberian Ministry of Gender and Development decided to focus this year’s DAC on washing your hands as a way to prevent infectious diseases.
Later during the programme, the six children played a short radio drama re-enacting how black South Africans were mistreated by the apartheid regime. The DAC was created to commemorate the death of hundreds of school children massacred in Soweto by the South African apartheid in 1976.
This year’s major celebrations of the DAC were in the town of Voinjama in the north of the country. Youth from all over the country and representatives from the national government and the county authorities gathered to celebrate under the theme: “Africa Fit for Children: Call for Accelerated Action towards Child Survival”.
The Speaker of the Liberian Children’s Parliament addressed the children and the officials present by calling on the leaders not only to put more resources in health for children and mothers, but also to ensure that the money really improves the lives of the needy.
By Louis Vigneault