US Based Liberia Coalition Project On Assessment Mission to Liberia

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 26, 2004


The Liberian conflict has had a devastating effect on the children of Liberia, many of whom have known no other way of life. United Nations agencies put the numbers of child soldiers in the county to over 15,000. The damage inflicted upon the children during the 14-year of devastating and bloody war in Liberia is unimaginable. Often, those who survive are physically injured and psychologically scared, and have fallen behind their peers in education.

However, several organizations and individuals of goodwill are working relentlessly to transform the frustration and plights of these children in order to make them useful persons once more for the task of nation building.

One of such organizations that have taken up this demanding and challenging task is the Liberia Coalition Project (LCO) based in Florida, the United States
of America.

The Liberia Coalition Project deals with child soldier related problems through education, vocational training, reality therapy counseling, art and recreation therapy and housing assistance.

The organization offers qualitative and quantitative solutions that will be helpful in improving the lives of child soldiers and fulfilling many of the unmet needs, while the priority needs to address include literacy, healthy lift-skills, choices, career and vocational training.

The executive director of the Liberia Coalition Project, Mr. Jerome Z. Gayman told journalists in Monrovia this week that the goal of the organization is to provide the on going leadership, direction and support that is often lacking for "exploited and at risk" children during their most difficult years of development.

According to Mr. Gayman, the program will teach and encourage high achievements to strengthen the effected children's resiliency to meet the challenges of life by providing programs for both physical and mental health of children and young adults.

Mr. Gayman, who and Ms. Delores H. Johnson, Program Administrative Director of the organization are in the country on a two weeks assessment mission, said that the Liberia Coalition Project is an intervention, prevention and intensive rehabilitation residential program for "child soldiers" and children affected by the trauma of the civil war in Liberia.

Accordingly, the projects are expected to be located at the Boys Town, near Monrovia; Buchanan, Grand Bassa county, among other areas, while it will serve 500 participants per site at the ratio of 20 to 1, totaling 28 full time staff, 25 part-time staff and 20 paraprofessionals, 62 staff members.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gayman and his delegation on Tuesday, March 23, assessed conditions at the Boys Town outside Monrovia and left for Buchanan, Grand Bassa County on Wednesday in an effort to also assess condition and address the citizenry of the county on developmental initiatives and support to child soldiers.

The delegation will on March 25-26 pay an official courtesy calls on the Vice Chairman of the Liberian Transitional Government, Hon. Wesley Johnson; US ambassador to Liberia, John Blaney, the director of USAID and the United Nations secretary-General Special representative to Liberia, Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein.