Multisectoral Committee Members On Drugs, Substance Abuse Visit Youth Agriculture Training Center By: Julius Konton

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The Government of Liberia is said to be taking the bull by its horn in an effort to robustly tackle drugs and alcohol abuse across the country. As part of said endeavor, relevant stakeholders under the Multi-sectoral Committee on Drugs and Substance abuse on Monday visited the Youth Agriculture Training Center in Bensonville, Montserrado County.  Members of the committee ready to execute its task as instructed by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, among other things, assessed the Bensonville facilities for possible transformation of the center for the accommodation and rehabilitation of At- Risk Youths. The Team which was led by Youth and Sports Minister, Cllr. Jeror Cole Bangalu, Health Minister, Dr. Louise M. Kpoto, and Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency Director, Abraham Kromah, will also work in  transforming the Youth Agriculture Training Center into a contemporary center that would rehabilitate At-Risk Youths and give them basic technical vocational education skills. Speaking following the assessment, Youth and Sports Minister  Bangalu said their visit was in line with President Boakai’s mandate declaring drugs and substance abuse as public health emergency.  Minister Bangalu who described their  initial exercise as a  national endeavor, also stated that  their presence demonstrates the willingness of the government not to only transform the center but also to create an enabling environment for young people who are considered outcasts to regain their status and contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of the country. It can be recalled that the Youth Agriculture Training Center was established in 1978 as a result of a bilateral agreement between the Government of Liberia and the Federal Republic of Germany to provide entry-level training in general agriculture to rural youth, thereby helping to reduce rural-urban migration. The exercise by the committee which is the beginning of more engagements  to come appears to be one of the priorities of the Liberian leader with interest in empowering and transforming the future leaders of the country, including making Liberia a drug free country, as he initially stated. At the same time , it was observed that with the willingness,  zest and teamwork spirit was seen at the initial stage of the exercise among the committee members, as it is expected that they will do more in order to achieve their desired objectives.  In the wake of the current government’s plan , it can be recalled that previous government also initiated similar plan as it is expected that the new government will look at where the past government stopped and work with already willing partners and sponsors  in the sector in order to collectively address the national health emergency crisis as branded by President Boakai during his State of the Nation Address few weeks ago.

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