Over 7,000 disadvantage youth in 14 communities in Monrovia and its environs benefited from health and counseling services, family planning information, HIV counseling and testing and mental health services from the Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, UNFPA, UNDP, NACP and YWCA.
The exercise which is being funded by UNFPA is aimed at providing health and counseling services to Zogos or At Risk youth in Paynesville, Sinkor, Central Monrovia and Bushrod Island and Gardnesville which has one of the largest ghettos according to YWCA statistics.
Speaking at the opening of the Outreach in Red Light Gobarchov Market, Youth and Sports Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV & AIDS Prevention Program (ASRH) Officer, Madam Mawen Morris said that this outreach focuses on providing services to disadvantaged adolescent and youth in 14 communities in Montserrado on SRHR/GBV/ARSH including HIV counseling and testing in communities and ghettos where they are unable to access health facilities.
“The Government of Liberia and its partners (UNFPA, UNDP, PLAN Liberia, NACP and YWCA) are here today to assist you with your health, because when you are not healthy you will not be able do anything.” She stressed.
The exercise brought together many disadvantaged youth ( Zogos) who were counseled and tested for HIV and AIDS, medically screen and provided medication for manor illnesses and also received sexual and reproductive health services including condoms and family planning , cooked meal and were also taught personal hygiene and the causes and effects of the use of drugs and alcohol.
Representing UNFPA, Madam Comfort Kollie said this is a joint project by her institution and UNDP. She noted that UNFPA funded the training of the psychosocial counselors, clinicians and nurses at various drop in centers.
“People don’t normally go to clinics and drop in centers for treatment and family planning including condoms, we have decided to come to the communities and make sure that you receive medicine and other services”, she added.
Speaking was the Commander in Chief (CIC) of the Zogos in New Kru Town – Fuel Oil Water Ghetto, 34 years old Cosby Snetter admitted that he is a drug addict and a Zogo, but he is an electrician by profession.
‘’I am a drug user, I support my habit by working for people, crediting and at times, I rob people just to support my addiction. But I want to thank UNFPA and all other partners for taking the first step to identify with us”, he said.
Also, a recently transformed Zogee under the UNFPA funded Social Economic Empowerment for Disadvantage Youth Program, 19 years old Princess Mensah of West Point, commended YWCA for taking her out of the Streets.
‘’ I want to thank YWCA counselors for bringing me to this project. When I came from Nimba, there was no way to get money, so I started going in the ghetto, smoking, during drugs and finally prostituting. But now I have skills, I am working and I have my own place, thanks to all the NGO’s helping us. She closed’’.
The Outreach Team visited Red Light, SKD Community, Old Road Sinkor, 20th Street Sinkor, Central Monrovia, West Point, Logan Town and New Kru Town, Gardnersville, King Gray and Thinker Village.