Open Letter to Liberia Ministry of Youth & Sports

September 8, 2017 
Dear Madam Asst. Minister.

Please accept my sincere compliments and best wishes, as I seek your indulgence to draw your attention to pertinent issues hampering the growth and development of young people in Liberia, especially girls.

In today's Liberia, the young people in general are unfortunately endowed with many difficulties, and the scars of these difficulties are acutely visible among girl children in their teens. On this note, I would like to emphasize on teenage pregnancy and why practical actions or considerations must be given to this societal menace.

According to the Liberian Demographic and Health survey in 2013, 31% of female children between the ages 11-19 in Liberia have given birth. This number is expected to hit 54 percent by 2017 if the necessary actions are not taken. The survey highlights acute poverty, family pressure/peer pressure, illiteracy and the lack of family life education, among others as the reasons behind this.

Many victims of this problem have attributed the cause of them getting pregnant during their teens to extreme poverty. Some of them alleged that their parents or guardians use them as bread Winners for the family. This, they narrate, leads them to sleeping with men only to sustain their families. I am not sure what the government is doing about those parents who use their kids as breadwinners? Another reason they noted is the lack of sex education or family planning education. The "Liberian culture" doesn't permit kids and their parents discussing family or sexual issues.

As a result, these kids depend largely on the Internet for education. What happens is that they practice what they learned from there, without proper verification. You and I know the Internet itself does not have much appropriate information for teens.
Madam Minister, isn't it time to include sexual or family life education in our school curriculum?

Being an advocate and the current Assistant Minister for youth Development, what are you (The Ministry) doing to minimize if not eradicate some of these many challenges? What are some of the plans that are in place to cater to these teen mothers and their babies that have been abandoned by the reckless men who impregnated them? What plans are presently being implemented to empower these young ladies that are in various street corners and are being abused daily?

Again accept my unbridled felicitations, as I patiently await your response.
Best Regards, 

Asata Dukuly 
An Aspiring Journalist