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A 19th-century settlement of freed U.S. slaves on Africa’s western coast became the country of Liberia in 1847. The Liberian economy is still in recovery , particularly following the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic and the ongoing recovery from the 14 year Liberian Civil War. Eighty percent of the population of Liberialives in poverty. Liberia is bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and the Atlantic Ocean.

ChildFund has served children in Liberia since 2003.

ChildFund Liberia’s programs include early childhood development, malaria prevention and control for pregnant and lactating mothers and children under age 5, and maternal health awareness. We focus on rehabilitating communities and reintegrating war-affected Liberian women and children as well as internally displaced persons and refugees. ChildFund trains and mentors health workers in community health mobilization and interpersonal communication on malaria prevention and control. Also, ChildFund coordinates the distribution of mosquito nets to pregnant women and lactating mothers as well as children under 5.

ChildFund supports primary schools in rural communities, and trains teachers, school administration and management to improve education in Liberia. Key topics include child protection and development, pedagogy, school-related gender-based violence, early-grade math assessment and early-grade reading assessment. ChildFund works with traditional leaders to promote education for Liberan girls in an effort to halt traditional practices such as female genital cutting. Our Shine-a-Light program establishes boys’ and girls’ clubs as part of a nationwide system to protect and serve children at risk for gender-based violence.

ChildFund Liberia provides livelihood support to youth and young adults, offering business loans and training to help them overcome poverty in Liberia. We also work to rehabilitate juveniles in contact and conflict with the law, providing legal representation, psychosocial support, life-skills activities and family tracing and reunification.

From 1989 until 2003, Liberia experienced just three years of peace between two successive civil wars that left more than a quarter of a million people dead and dealt a devastating blow to the nation's economy. During the war, children were routinely forced to fight as child soldiers under threat of torture or death, or harm to their family. The psychological scars of warfare are devastating for experienced soldiers, let alone young children. Forced to commit brutal acts of violence out of fear for their own safety, many children drafted by rebel forces were left isolated and vulnerable at the conclusion of the war. One in five child soldiers of Liberia have attempted suicide.

Aside from shouldering the emotional burden of fighting, children returning to their communities were often shunned by parents struggling to rebuild in light of the bloodshed. In some cases, children were viewed as liabilities or even commodities, with many children sold into labor. Others became victims of domestic and other types of abuse. Even children fortunate enough to have homes following the end of the civil war still face a range of serious problems. ChildFund came to Liberia at the conclusion of the second Liberian civil war in 2003 and found that despite nationwide efforts to rebuild the country's devastated educational system, many children still lacked access to basic education.

To help children re-enter society, ChildFund introduced interim care centers to offer former child soldiers rehabilitation and displaced children the opportunity to play, grow, learn and address the past. In addition, our community education and investment project provided more than 110 schools across Liberia with much-needed academic materials, including around 75,000 books.

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  • January 7, 2011

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