Monrovia — At separate meetings on Wednesday, February 6, President Ellen Johnson bade farewell to the departing Country Representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) - Liberia, Ms. Isabel Crowley, and to nine members of the Female Indian Police Contingent of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Meeting the Liberian leader in her Foreign Ministry Office, according to an Executive Mansion release, Ms. Crowley praised the President and her Government for supporting the work of UNICEF in Liberia, and called her an inspiration for local and international partners working in the country.
She informed the President that education, child protection and healthcare were the main components in the Fund's 2012 Country Program, with US$7 million spent on child protection, US$6 million on education, and US$12 million on the health sector. A total of US$30 million was spent in 2012 to implement the Country Program, she said, with assurances that the amount would increase to about US$40 million in 2013.
She assured President Sirleaf that UNICEF will continue to work with the Liberian Government to move the Agenda for Children Rights forward. "It is very sad to know that I am leaving Liberia, but I will always endeavor to be in and out of Liberia and help in whatever way I can for the children of Liberia," Ms. Crowley assured the President.
She praised the Ministers of Gender and Development, Health, Youth and Sports, Labour and Justice for their critical role in preparing Liberia's Country Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, in implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, noting that their contributions were indispensable.
Ms. Crowley also recalled UNICEF's involvement with the process of establishing the Liberia Development Alliance (LDA), to coordinate the development initiatives of Government, international partners, civil society and the private sector. Ms. Crowley was accompanied by the UNICEF-Liberia Deputy Country Representative, Dr. Fazlul Haque, and Communication Specialist Miraj Pradhan.
Speaking earlier, President Sirleaf informed the outgoing UNICEF Representative that the meeting was an opportunity to show Liberia's appreciation to Ms. Crowley for four years of productive service to the nation and its children. "You have been very helpful in supporting the Government to respond to the needs of the children of Liberia," President Sirleaf stressed.
She recounted UNICEF's support to the Children's Festival held at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex for several years, support to the Liberia Children's Parliament, the Gender Ministry, as well as financing the preparation of Liberia's report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as major instances of support to the Government of Liberia.
President Sirleaf urged Ms. Crowley to see Liberia as her home, and expressed the hope that she would return, in the future, to see the fruits of the work she has done for the Liberian people. "You stayed here much longer than is allowed because we pleaded for your stay based on the quality of work UNICEF was doing in Liberia under your leadership," the Liberian leader concluded.
President Sirleaf subsequently presented a formal letter of appreciation to Ms. Crowley in recognition of her valuable services to Liberia.
Female Indian Contingent
When she received members of UNMIL's Female Indian Police Contingent, President Sirleaf expressed Liberia's gratitude and appreciation to the nine departing officers for the valuable services rendered the country and its people.
The President told the police officers that history will record them for contributing to the peace and security of Liberia, and the world at large. She described the unit as an exceptional group, recognized globally for its level of professionalism, while noting that their presence in Liberia has inspired the women in the country to develop an interest in the security sector.
Also making remarks, the unit's Commanding Officer, Karuna Rai, congratulated the President for being awarded India's most prestigious honor, the Indira Gandhi Award for Peace and Disarmament, and expressed satisfaction about the cordial relationship with the population since their arrival in 2011.
She informed President Sirleaf that the contingent was also involved in providing humanitarian services to the local population through a clinic owned and operated by medical officers of the unit. "We treat between thirty to forty patients daily, and see the opportunity as a golden period of our professional career," she stated. The unit will depart Liberia on February 15.