The Consolidated Youth for Peace & Development (COYPED) is calling on development partners and key stakeholders that are supporting democracy and elections activities in the country to support youth-led elections projects as the country prepare for elections in October in 2017.
According to COYPED Executive Director, James Koryor the 2017 elections is critical to Liberia democracy and young people have an important role to play in ensuring that the elections are peaceful and non-violent.
Mr. Koryor furthered stressed that for democracy to survive and flourish in country like Liberia, a critical mass of its citizens must possess the skills, embody the values, and manifest the behaviors that accord with democracy. They must know enough about the basic features of a democratic political system to be able to access it when their interests are at stake, and they must believe in the importance of certain key democratic values, such as tolerance for divergent viewpoints and support for the rule of law, he stressed.
The COYPED boss also stated that there are deep inequalities in youth civic knowledge and participation across socio-economic levels that must be addressed to strengthen our young democracy and avoid elections violence, and there is a vital role for youth-led institutions and other civil society organizations, not only in promoting youth engagement, but also closing this gap.
The youth leader also stated that youth-led organizations should take the lead in providing civic and voter education since majority of the voters are young people because research have that program intended for young people are more likely to be successful when they are planned, implemented and manage by youth themselves.
The COYPED boss furthered stressed that there is no shortage or lack of efficient and effective youth-led organizations in Liberia, but rather the lack of support and resources for them and smaller organizations are often overlook by national and international institutions in Liberia.
Youth should not just be seen as participants, but must be considered as key players in sustaining the peace, promoting non-violence elections campaigns and problem solvers in their communities Mr. Koryor asserted.