The Government of Liberia (GoL) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Wednesday, 6 February 2013 jointly signed a US$4.9 million agreement for the GoL-UNICEF 2013 Child Protection Program. The agreement, which is the GoL-UNICEF annual work plan for the child protection program under both the GoL and UNICEF program of cooperation, is expected to run from 2013 through 2017.
Ministers Julia Duncan-Cassell (Ministry of Gender and Development), Christina Tah (Ministry of Justice), S. Tornorlah Varpilah (Youth and Sports) signed for their respective ministries on behalf of the GoL, while the forth government official who was expected to sign, Finance Minister Amara Konneh was conspicuously absent. UNICEF-Liberia Resident Representative, Isabel Crowley signed for her organization.
The child protection program is geared towards ensuring a safe and protective environment for the most vulnerable children, adolescent, and young people through the provision of quality essential services and social safety nets, as well as improving access to gender-sensitive and age-appropriate justice and protection systems for the children of Liberia.
Key areas of the GoL-UNICEF child protection program include scaling up birth registration services in Liberia's 15 political sub-divisions, providing capacity development of relevant actors to manage social welfare cases, monitor residential facilities and promote family-based care among others.
Under the GoL's agenda for transformation, the child protection program aims to contribute to several national priorities, including peace, security, rule of law, human development, and issues related to gender, HIV/AIDS, human rights, labor and employment, and the disabled and disadvantaged.
Referring to the GoL-UNICEF signed child protection program annual work plan, Gender and Development Minister Duncan-Cassell averred that the government cherishes UNICEF's continued commitment relative to supporting Liberia's recovery and development efforts by aligning its support to the GoL development agenda, and the 2013 annual work plan.
She accentuated that government's partnership with the UNICEF has yielded landmark transformations on the country's policy and legal framework in the protection of the rights of women and children, adding that the GoL-UNICEF partnership has also extended what she calls a lifeline to the poorest and most vulnerable members of the Liberian society.
For her part, UNICEF-Liberia Resident Representative, Isabel Crowley among others stated that her organization was pleased and happy to continue partnerships with the Ministries of Justice, Gender and Development, Youth and Sports, Health and Social Welfare and other key stakeholders in building a protective environment and promoting the rights and welfare of the children of Liberia through the child protection program.