The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the government of Liberia have signed an annual work plan amounting to US$4.9 million for child protection in the country.
The joint work plan which runs from 2013-2017 is aimed at ensuring a safe and protective environment for the most vulnerable children, adolescents and young people through the provision of quality social services.
The five years program further aims to improve access to gender-sensitive and age-appropriate justice and protection systems for all children across the country.
Signatory institutions of the work plan document include the Ministries of Justice, Gender and Development, Youth and Sports and Finance.
Speaking briefly at the signing ceremony Wednesday in Sinkor, Gender and Development Minster Julia Duncan-Cassel said the Liberian government was delighted to be a long time partner to the UNICEF in providing the needed protection for vulnerable children in the country after years of civil unrest.
Minister Cassel indicated that the signing of the work plan agreement provides the government an opportunity to reflect on achievements made in previous years in providing protection for the Liberian children and how to overcome the constraints in the next years.
The Gender Minister cited the passage of the Children's law, the hosting of the annual children's festival, the inclusion of the Child Protection as a cross-cutting issue and the inclusion of a social protection component of the Human Development Pillar in the country as achievements of the Government of Liberia and UNICEF partnership.
"The partnership with UNICEF has therefore yielded landmark transformations on Liberia's policy and legal framework in protecting the rights of women and children; while also extending a lifeline to the protest and most vulnerable members of the Liberian society," she noted.
In remarks, UNICEF Country Representative to Liberia, Isabel Crowley said the signing of the work plan marks the beginning of a new stage in the history of Liberia, as the country embarks on the implementation of its agenda of transformation, the National Vision 2030.
Madam Crowley said the current plan was in full aligned with the vision 2030 document priorities and an integral component of the One-UN program.
According to the UNICEF Country Representative, the Child Protection program is an essential strategy that contributes to the peace building, reconciliation and youth development policies of the Liberian Government.
She noted that overall, the work plan components and actions are geared towards strengthening challenges facing Liberian children, families and their communities to address issues such as sexual and gender-based violence.