Liberia - Reintegration of war affected youths

HR&S is collaborating closely with  IDEFOCS in Liberia and the aim is reintegration of war affected youths.
The Initiative for the Development of Former Child-Soldiers (IDEFOCS) was established to advocate for and enhance the development of Former Child Soldiers (FCS), Women Associated with Fighting Forces (WAFF) and War-Affected Youths (WAY); the Zogos. Following years of civil unrest in Liberia, the need to ensure policies and decisions that would engender the participation of vulnerable youths in national development plan is paramount to the work of IDEFOCS. IDEFOCS was established by Zogos, in a refugee camp of Zogos from Liberia in Accra June 20, 2003. The core founder was Commander Morris MATADI and he collected support form 20 more Founders. 

The mandate of IDEFOCS is to provide rehabilitation, reintegration and employment for Zogos. The IDEFOCS vision is a Liberia of well-developed, integrated, and pro-active Zogos creating positive change and the mission is seeking the well-being of Zogos through a holistic development, empowerment and employment programme.

IDEFOCS is collaborating with relevant agencies, international partners and national groups on the following objectives;
- Organize and coordinate the activities of Zogos in Liberia.
- Promote reconciliation among the citizens of Liberia based on the need to cooperate for the common good.
- Foster the development of Zogos by instilling in them a dedication to positive change and a sense of social and moral responsibility to society.
- Educate youth who are associated with violence on the danger with atrocity.
- Seek, defend and protect the rights of Zogos, particularly their rights to organize themselves and partake in decision making and policy implementation process on all issues affecting them.

IDEFOCS ascribes to the following core values as guiding principles for its operations:
- Zogos' participation in policy implementation.
- Active promotion of rights, inclusion and respect for all.
- Commitment to information sharing, honesty, transparency and accountability
- Decentralisation of activities.

IDEFOCS is member of the Federation of Liberian Youths, which is an umbrella organization coordinating youth and student activities in Liberia.

Already invested:
- Action10: 20,000 USD; HR&S: 10,000 USD

Donations seeked: EUR 50,000
- Core work: 10,000; travel 5,000
- Ghetto interactions. 5,000
- Trauma counseling, physical health care, drug addiction treatment 5,000
- Farming 5,000; crop value adding structures: 5,000
- Innovation centre establishement: 10,000
- Public awareness: 5,000






Ghetto interventions
IDEFOCS visits regularly, and sometimes also HR&S,  three adopted ghettos in Monrovia. A survey has been made compiling ghetto members, their health status and their ambitions.  The purpose is team-building, care, attention and mutual knowledge sharing.  Food and entertainment is offered as well as cleaning programmes. All three ghettos were protected against Ebola by early intervention by IDEFOCS and HR&S / Action10 together.

Botanical Reintegration Village (BRV)
The ghetto dwellers informed through the ghetto survey  that they will not have capacity to change their behaviors unless moved away from the ghetto. Consequently IDEFOCS and HR&S in collaboration with Action10 interacted with the community of Little Bassa and agreed on a cooperation. IDEFOCS / HR&S / Action10 procured land in Little Bassa and constructed a reintegration house. Land was cleared form trees and farming implemented. Zogos are offered to stay in the BRV and benefit from trauma counseling, drug addiction treatment and physical health care. They are offered work on the farm with the purpose of learning farming to sustain themselves with food as well as getting used to a working type of life. They are also offered work with construction with the same purposes. With these two skills the Zogos can also be employed as teachers. The farm also address crop value addition through milling and cooking.

Innovation Centre
An Innovation Centre is constructed in the Little Bassa Junction. The purpose is to provide the community and the Zogos with opportunities to implement innovations, start businesses and benefit from employment according to the HR&S InnoC programme (please find details elsewhere). The side businesses are office services as well as selling of cold water.

Public awareness
Our programme also contains public awareness through Radio and outdoor entertainment. ‘‘Voice of the Vulnerable’’ is an educative, interactive and entertaining radio program designed by the Initiative for the Development of Former Child Solders (IDEFOCS).  . The awareness raising addresses the fact that the immense population of Ghetto dwellers, known as vulnerable people, in postwar Liberia is a major challenge to community peace and security, because most of these vulnerable people are youth who are engaged in violent crimes like armed robbery, rape and drugs abuse. The stunning fact that is hard to resist is that most of these vulnerable persons are former child soldiers who are being stigmatized by the community and also by their families. Today, communities are being threatened by the violent acts perpetrated by these vulnerable people. This is a terrible situation and problem that need to be solved. To help solve these problems, IDEFOCS have designed ‘Voice of the Vulnerable’’ to help find a possible solution to reduce the growing number of vulnerable people in the society.Moreover, mob violence initiated by the community dwellers as a remedy to reduce the threat caused by these vulnerable people can never help to solve this problem, but rather initiate more lawlessness that can create a situation that threaten community peace and security. IDEFOCS also arranges  outdoor awareness events with  entertainment (dance and songs)  that says No to Drugs, Crimes and Violence.


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