Liberia: UN mission hands rehabilitated school for Christian and Muslim over to community

Liberia: UN mission hands rehabilitated school for Christian and Muslim over to community

Hand-over ceremony of the school
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) handed over a school it rehabilitated for some 1,500 Christian and Muslin children to a community on the outskirts of the capital Monrovia.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) handed over a school it rehabilitated for some 1,500 Christian and Muslin children to a community on the outskirts of the capital Monrovia.

"This school is a symbol of the progress that Liberia is making and of UNMIL's engagement to support the Government in meeting the needs of its citizens," the Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative for Recovery and Governance Jordan Ryan said at the hand-over ceremony in Sawebeh.

Stressing the significance of education for the development of Liberia, he said that "it is now time for the Ministry of Education takes the responsibility to make sure the school works well."

Liberian Education Minister Joseph Korto stressed that ensuring young people go to school is one of his Government's top priorities as the West African nation seeks to recover from a civil war that killed almost 150,000 people and sent 850,000 more fleeing across its borders.

"Access to educational opportunities is a right and not a privilege," he noted. "Whenever UNMIL and our development partners assist in providing additional classrooms, it is a joyful day for the Ministry of Education, the Government and villages like Sawegbeh."

He underscored the uniqueness of the Sawegbeh English and Arabic Grammar School project because it is the first with additional amenities to meet the Islamic community's needs. "The Muslim community is an integral part of Liberia and deserves to be educated like any other," he stated.

Thanking the Mission for its efforts, Elder John Mills of Sawegbeh, where former internally displaced persons (IDPs) have resettled, said that his people "will always remember the good work UNMIL has done in our community."

As part of UNMIL's Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) initiative, the project aims to assist both Christian and Muslim children in the community. The Mission's Pakistani engineers supervised the construction of the school, while the community provided labour.

Over the past four years, UNMIL, through its QIPs, has spent more than $1.5 million on nearly 120 educational institutions across Liberia with the objective of providing improved facilities for the countryâ??s young people.

UNMIL was established in September 2003 to support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace process; protect UN staff, facilities and civilians; bolster humanitarian and human rights activities; and assist in national security reform, including national police training and formation of a new, restructured military.