The first vice president and chairman of the program committee for Ade Beda Omega Chapter, Clarine Simpson Vaughn, over the weekend organized its first Green Agents consisting of children under the age of 14 and adults to help clean the Monrovia Central Park.Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Eda Beda Omega Chapter, the first international chapter started here in Liberia came together on Saturday May 23 and picked up trash, water sacs, dirt, and swept garbage that had managed to find its way in between the gates of the Monrovia Central Park. Little children who were invited to the park to learn about environmentally friendly cleaning habits participated in the initiative with the help of their parents and the organizers.“We’re in the park cleaning it up and making the area environmentally suitable and restoring the playground. Our hope with cleaning it up and working with MCC is that MCC will begin to open it to the children in the community. If they see that there are volunteers in Monrovia that are taking ownership of keeping the playground area clean, clear of dirt and liter, they will start to open it up for the children to use, “ Clarine added.The little helpers wore t-shirts logoed ‘Green Agents’ as they happily placed leaves and other out of place items into garbage plastics.“This is mental health month and green symbolizes support for mental illness. It is also one of our colors, the other being pink. By giving them the name Green Agents, it means they are being agents of change by making sure that we are keeping our environment clean and green. We want them to come out and play and also see that it is there responsibility as well as the adults’ responsibility to pick up trash in order to keep the area clean and reduce the amount of dirt around,” Clarine added.It is the responsibility of all Liberians to keep their areas clean and Clarine believes that the unsanitary conditions of Liberia led to the spread of Ebola.“If each of us can make it our responsibility to clean our areas, it will make Liberia a better place to live and for our children to play,” she maintained.Meanwhile, the Sorority on the day of their event also donated an advanced reading room that consists of books, both educational and leisure, chairs, couches, tables, toys and baskets.“We have a reading room that Alpha Kappa Alpha donated in the park to make sure that the kids can use this facility that we know they are not used to. Maybe after playing, they can come into the room and relax while reading very interesting books,” Clarine added.Also, Clarine states that Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) has not opened the park to the public for many reasons, but one reason that is clear to Clarine is that there is no proper management of the park.“We told MCC that we wanted to launch our organization here at the central park and they arranged for the gates to be opened so the park could be cleaned. The gates are not opened to the public. The first time they opened it there was some unruly behavior by the people who came into the park. If they can make sure that they can handle the flow of people coming in, train the kids on how to use the equipment and leave it the way they found it, I’m sure that the park will one day be opened,” she assured.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Education Ministry on Monday commissioned the first Mobile Psychosocial Unit, valued at some $17 million, which is intended to transport welfare officers to areas where persons are in need of counselling.“I think everyone of us here can relate to the fact that there is certainly a gap that currently exists across the country, but, more particularly in the education system when it comes to psychosocial support,” Education Minister Nicolette Henry said as she spoke of the benefits of the unit at the Department of Education’s 68 Brickdam, Georgetown office.As outlined by her, the counsellors will traverse different areas to meet with students, teachers and even parents who might be in need of counselling.“Many times, we have a lot of students with a lot of needs that are unmet (and) aThe new Mobile Psychosocial Unitlot of issues that are not addressed, because we do not have either the capacity or the resources to undertake those,” she said.Henry pointed out that she hoped more units could be commissioned soon to enable counsellors to touch base with all those who were in need.According to the Minister, the counselling programme will seek to help students and even transfer them to specialists if needed.Meanwhile, acting Deputy Chief Education Officer Ingrid Trotman noted that emotional needs of students cannot be overlooked. She added that the Unit would help to reduce stress levels and provide a quick response to areas where trauma is being experienced by persons.The Unit is fully equipped with a refrigerator, stove, air conditioner, bathroom and other facilities to benefit the officials who will be travelling to hinterland areas, among others, to provide counselling.Plans were first unveiled by Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson back in June for the implementation of the project.Currently, there are officers in each administrative region who are responsible for conducting counselling sessions with students – be it one-on-one, small-group or large-group interventions.The Mobile Unit will, however, be a tool to bring together not only psychologists from the Education Ministry but officials from other agencies who may be necessary for specific cases.It was clarified that it was not a case where counselling was not being done, but this new initiative was a step taken by the Ministry to ensure that counselling could be done in a more effective manner.It was further explained that in a situation where students were found drinking alcohol, the team would also be activated, with not only the welfare officers but with public health officials, making the counselling process more influential.