Monrovia — Liberia will join the rest of the world in celebrating the Day of the African Child on June 16, 2022.
The celebration of the Day of the African Child (DAC), intended to give children the voice to speak on issues that affect them, arises from resolution No: CM/1290 of the Heads of States Summit of the then Organization of African Unity held in Abuja, Nigeria in June of 1990.
This year's DAC is being observed under the global theme, "Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy & Practice since 2013" while the national theme is "Creating a Space for Children to Speak Against Harmful Practices Affecting their Well-being".
Addressing the media on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, Gender, Children, and Social Protection Minister Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, said the day will be celebrated in Liberia from June 15 to 16.
She said that on Wednesday, June 15, there will be a series of sporting activities for kids on Wednesday at the Invincible Park.
"48 hours from now the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the Children's Representative Forum and members of the Child Protection Network will commemorate the Day of the African Child (DAC)," she said.
According to Minister Saydee-Tarr, programs are expected to be held in the fifteen counties across Liberia and a national program will be held in Montserrado County, where hundreds of children across Liberia will come together to commemorate the day.
"Interestingly, this year's celebration of the "Day of the African Child" is special because it marks Liberia's two hundred years of existence since its founding in 1822 by freed slaves from the United States of America. As part of a mission by the American Colonization Society, which aimed was to reduce the number of free Blacks in the U.S. by settling them in Africa. Former slaves arrived on Providence Island and later moved in land where the Capitol City of Liberia is now," she said
"As part of activities marking the DAC, Liberia National Children Representative Forum will also on Wednesday at 11:00 am converge at the Invincible Sports Park, Fish Market for a day-long sporting festivities including, the bag race, egg race, running race, football, and kickball games,"
"The DAC will climax on Thursday, June 16, 2022, which is the Day of the African Child. At 9:AM, the Children will parade from the Ministry of Health, Congo Town to the EJS Ministerial Complex, Oldest Congo Town, Monrovia" the Gender Minister said.
She said after the parade, the children will take over the program, which starts with a panel discussion on harmful practices affecting the children of Liberia.
"After the discussion, key ministers are expected to participate in a panel discussion on harmful practices affecting children from their perspective.
"The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Information will participate in a panel discussion on progress on policy and practices since 2013,"
"Members of Press, may I remind you that Specific Objectives of the DAC are to ensure the following: "Children will effectively engage policymakers as well as state Actors for the implementation of Laws and policies that protect children"
"Enhance the knowledge of children around Liberia about their rights and responsibilities, "Provide the space and opportunities to interact with new friends and advocate through the Liberia Children Forum programs and counties forum initiatives."
The Gender Minister said children under the age of 15 make up 42 percent of Liberia's population, while 63 percent are under 25.
This statistic, she added, is aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against children, and gives the country a great task to protect its young people from harm while giving them the space and opportunity to develop and lead the country forward.
She added that violence against children and adolescents, especially girls, including rape, abuse, harassment, and exploitation remains a daunting challenge in Liberia.
Over the years, the MGCSP has been collaborating with its partners to ensure that its mission for protecting violence against children has adhered in every spectrum of the Liberian society through the participation and involvement of all stakeholders including children.