UNICEF to help rebuild Liberia’s devastated primary schools

UNICEF to help rebuild Liberia’s devastated primary schools

Ann Veneman and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
With only one third of Liberians reaching the fifth grade of school and children less likely to read than their parents, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today announced a $20 million programme to help rebuild the education system of the West African country, which was gutted during a long, brutal civil war.

With only one third of Liberians reaching the fifth grade of school and children less likely to read than their parents, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today announced a $20 million programme to help rebuild the education system of the West African country, which was gutted during a long, brutal civil war.

“Reliable funding in the transition period following conflict is a major challenge,” said Ann Veneman, UNICEF’s Executive Director, who is making her first visit to the recovering nation. “This fund will enable children in Liberia to return to school and receive primary education that was previously inaccessible to them as a result of the 15-year civil war.”

A new public/private partnership, based on donations from the Netherlands and the Open Society Institute, will train teachers and rebuild schools. It is estimated that 67 per cent of teachers in the public school system are unqualified.

Ms. Veneman also announced an allocation of more than $2 million for use in advocacy, research and strengthening data collection systems. Part of this money will also be used for the census planned for March next year.