The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: U.S.$32.5 Million Country Program Launched

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)-Liberia has launched its US$32.5 million Country Program which runs from 2013 to 2017.

The five-year program, according to UNFPA, seeks to improve the lives of the people of Liberia especially the youth and women.

Under the five-year program, UNFPA said the system would be built to ensure availability of data that addresses population dynamics and its inter-linkages with the needs of the youth.

According to UNFPA, the five-year Country Program is aligned with the Poverty Reduction Strategy of Liberia, Agenda for Transformation through Action of 2013/17 and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) pillars one, two and three.

"The National 10-year Health Plan, the roadmap for reducing maternal and morbidity and other sectoral policies and plan informed the proposed program," UNFPA said in the document.

According to UNFPA, the five-year Country Program responds to five outcomes of its strategic plan.

The program, among other things, incorporates advocacy and communication, partnership, networking and capacity building and integrates a rights-based and gender-responsive approach.

The Minister of Health and Social Welfare who launched the plan called on various government ministries and agencies that are targeted under the UNFPA's Country Program to utilize funding that would be received for the intended purposes.

Minister Walter Gwenigale pointed out that over the years funds received sometimes are not used for the intended purposes, saying "I wonder what we do with the money we get."

He claimed that implementing institutions have misused money received by holding workshops and dishing out huge per diem, leaving the main work undone.

This, he said, was wrong and needed to be stopped to ensure that donors' funds are expended for the intended purposes.

Minister Gwenigale said it is time for implementing institutions to make good use of money received. "Let us put the money where it will do good work for us."

He lauded UNFPA for its continuous support to Liberia especially in the health sector.

Earlier, UNFPA Resident Representative to Liberia, Madam Esperance Fundira said her institution is committed to supporting Liberia in whatever way possible.

She recalled that UNFPA has supported Liberia in several areas including health, national population census, as well as women and girls.

Madam Fundira said with hundred percent increment in the new Country Program, much would be achieved in the next five years.

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