Over one hundred persons from the security sector and community watch team have benefited from Youth Crime Watch Liberia human rights and anti-electoral violence campaigns.

The program launched in December 2022 over one hundred joint security representatives across the five counties while strengthening the capacity of 15 Community Watch Teams composed of 225 members of youth and women-based Community Watch Teams (CWTs) and 100 local authorities in Gbarpolu, Bomi, Rivercess, Grand Bassa, and Grand Cape Mount Counties.

Youth Crime Watch Project Manager, Varney Teddy Wilson, said the Initiative is aimed at engaging the joint Security and members of the community watch Teams in maintaining the peace in the ensuing 2023 general and presidential elections.

Mr. Wilson stressed that Liberia is at a very critical stage of her democracy and the sustenance of the peace and protection of basic human rights cannot be overemphasized.

“We cannot wait for violence to take place before we act; our actions ahead of these elections start now by continuously engaging the different stakeholders to ensure peaceful electoral processes,” he concluded.

Also speaking, the program manager of Youth Crime Watch of Liberia (YCWL), Roget Chea the Project focuses on strengthening policy reforms and existing Early Warning and Response (EWER) mechanism, including through mainstreaming of human rights, gender, and youth-based approaches, mainly at the grassroots level.

Mr. Chea added that the Project also supports responses to actual and perceived triggers of electoral violence by integrating a variety of actors into the EWER mechanism.

“The issue of campaigns against electoral violence must be pragmatic and that is the reason we are now engaging these very people that will be on the frontlines to work on the preventive mechanisms ahead of the elections,” he noted.

He was speaking to Reporters when the organization climaxed a weeklong training in Buchanan, Grand Bassa county where he challenged the participants to foster the interest of young people whilst ensuring a peaceful and crime-free Liberia.

For his part, the Police Commander of Grand Bassa, William Johnson who was one of the facilitators, William Johnson cautioned youths to buttress the effort of joint Security by helping to maintain the peace and desist civil disobedience that undermines the rule of law.

While the head of Grand Bassa Community Watch Team, Justin Tarr, who was one of the participants lauded the Project team of Youth Crime Watch of Liberia, and local protection actors for such a capacity-building training urging youths to avoid electoral violence and avoid taking the laws into their hands.

Meanwhile, Youth Crime Watch of Liberia with funding from UNDP is implementing this 9 months Peaceful electoral and safe environment Project that runs between December 2022, to September 2023 targeting Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, Bomi, Grand Bassa and Rivercess Counties.

The main goal of the Project is to create a peaceful electoral environment by supporting interventions on conflict prevention and mitigation of widespread insecurity, human rights violations, and electoral violence before, during, and after the 2023 General Elections in Liberia.

The Project also establishes a dialogue and engages with stakeholders (Communities leadership, dwellers, Community watch teams, political parties representatives, and law enforcement agencies) to yield their support and then utilized the gains from holistic engagement to implement tangible actions and processes that will support, promote, and enhance swift response to early warning signs of electoral violence.

While at the same time using social media to promote information dissemination, and raise awareness to disclose response mechanisms and referral pathways to the public in instances where early warning signs are established.