ECOWAS volunteers charged to promote regional peace, development
5/13/2012 8:30:00 PM -
MONROVIA, Liberia, May 13, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga McIntosh, has charged pioneer ECOWAS Volunteers deployed in Liberia to be worthy ambassadors by promoting the ideals of peace and development in their host communities.
'You must at all times conduct yourselves in an exemplary manner so that your actions and words represent the ideals of ECOWAS, the ideals of a Community of States and people united for progress and development,' Dr. McIntosh told the young volunteers at their Pledge of Commitment ceremony in the nation's capital, Monrovia, on Friday, 11th
He said the volunteers should, by their actions, motivate other youth in the region to join the ECOWAS Volunteers Programme (EVP), which is in its pilot phase and is expected to cover four Member States including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.
The Vice President reiterated that the initiative seeks to complement existing programmes for peace building and national volunteer programmes, with the purpose of addressing the structural causes of vulnerability, instability or outbreaks of violence in the region.
He commended ECOWAS partners supporting the EVP, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Volunteer Programme (UNV), the European Union, the UNDP and UNESCO, noting that their continued support and commitment 'will inspire other donors to help us carry out the assignment entrusted to us by the West African Community.'
While expressing gratitude to ECOWAS authorities for choosing Liberia to pilot the project, Dr. McIntosh promised that the Commission would address the teething challenges identified in the implementation of the programme, adding that the experience of volunteerism would make the volunteers 'stronger and better prepared to face life as
productive ECOWAS citizens.'
Expressing a similar sentiment, Liberia's Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Planning, Mr. Christopher Wallace, pledged the country's total commitment to making the volunteers feel at home in their host communities.
The African Development Bank Resident Country Representative, Mrs. Margaret Kilo, also encouraged the volunteers to promote peace, unity, social justice and regional integration in line with the spirit and letter of the ECOWAS Anthem.
Earlier, the programme's National Coordinating Council Chairman, Mr. Otis Wesseh, welcomed the volunteers to the ceremony. The UNV was represented by Mr. Zongui Robert Toe.
One of the highlights of the occasion was the Pledge of Personal Commitment by the 18 volunteers present, which was administered by the Chief Registrar of the Community Court of Justice, Mr. Tony Anene- Maidoh, who congratulated the volunteers for taking a bold step in service to the Community.
In a vote of thanks on behalf of the volunteers, Miss Shirley-Ann Lutterodt, a mental health specialist, pledged that the volunteers would uphold the aims, goals and objectives to make the ECOWAS programme a success.
The ceremony featured animated performances by the UNESCO Culture Ambassador, Mrs. Juli Endee, and her live band that thrilled guests with impressive renditions of the ECOWAS Anthem and another song 'Shine ECOWAS,' lauding ECOWAS and exhorting the spirit of volunteerism. Ambassador Endee also led a cultural troupe in a delightful show case of Liberia's cultural endowments.
The ceremony capped a week of induction training for the ECOWAS Volunteers in Liberia, who include specialists in education and curriculum development, as well as specialists in various health sectors, environmental health workers, and teachers in various fields.