Liberia’s Next Generation Finds Room to Grow

Being a child in Liberia today is not easy. The legacy of a brutal 14-year civil war and the impact of the Ebola virus outbreak mean children in Liberia face a range of life-threatening challenges. The country’s infant and child mortality rates remain among the highest in the world. Despite these obstacles, Liberia is making strides on quality early childhood development and serving as an example for other post-conflict countries.

Early childhood—including infancy, the preschool years, and the transition into the early grades of schooling—is the most critical phase of human development. During this period of a child’s growth, there are lots of ways to help them become healthy, engaged individuals. In the early years, prenatal care, support for mothers, parenting education, access to early health care, immunizations, and adequate nutrition for infants are crucial.

Another priority is ensuring a stimulating and safe environment where children can experience the world with the support of caring adults. Support for education and safe environments for children can also have the long-term benefit of leading to more prosperous and stable societies. Quality early childhood development has the greatest impact on children most at risk. It can alleviate the effects of social disadvantage and break cycles of poverty and inequality.

Good early childhood development is about people working together. It is not the responsibility of one group alone. Instead, it is achieved by government ministries—education, health, social welfare, and justice—working together for children. The government also needs to work closely with parents, communities, faith-based organizations, and the private sector to deliver quality early childhood services.

Parents and family play a pivotal role in early childhood development. In Liberia, many parents of young children missed out on proper parenting themselves, as normal family life was disrupted during the civil war. Good early childhood services provide support through parenting classes and by providing information and guidance to such parents to improve their knowledge and build positive relationships with their own children. All parents need help in supporting their children’s development.

After being clouded by years of conflict and instability, the future for young children in Liberia is bright. There is now a national early childhood policy that establishes what the government intends to do to promote the overall development of young children.

To continue on this path, parents, teachers, the local community, and international development agencies need to come together to work with the government to fully implement Liberia’s national integrated early childhood policy. Along with this commitment, more investment from the national government and from international donors is required to achieve the progress needed.

Learn More:



Very cardinal point.

This is the only way to go if you want to seriously educate and prepare young citizens for the future. As James Baldwin said, "The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he (she) becomes educated.

Education is a force! But, in countries like Liberia this force is very limited or surrounds mostly privileged ones. The change comes with strong public education accessible to everyone, I know that if Liberia will stick to this way, soon many other problems will be overcome. Go Liberia!

In order for all children in Liberia to get access to education, the country will have to properly fund this sector and enact adequate anti-corruption work to make sure funds reach schools - amongst many other things. As the development community we can't think in silos, but must think systemically to understand what else is happening to create the current set of dynamics. For those interested in how to think systemically, we have a few relevant posts on our blog:

Dear Sir.
Ref: Early childhood education in Liberia
We wish to be part of the ongoing early childhood education been implemented by ministry of education in Liberia.
We are anticipating to read from you soonest.
Pr Jude Nwachukwu
Kid’s Foundation Liberia.

Liberia's needs are enormous but cannot be achieved in the mid of corruption. What it needs is a strong and intensive civil society advocacy voice that will hold leaders accountable funds needed to provide human based social services that improve the livelihood of the people. Liberia has huge challenges for critical infrastructure development and education for the young people. No government will succeed until it takes into consideration the interest of the people.

Beautiful start!

The Educational sector in Northeast Nigeria has been severely destabilized since the onset of the insurgency with about 1.2million children reported to be out of school due to insurgency. The result of the insurgency has contributed to the violation of the rights of a child especially in Education which has been truncated.
For fear, school children are forced to stay out of school thus increasing the risk of exploitation, child labour and reducing development. The conflict in the Northeast region has had a direct negative impact on the availability of educational materials (HNO, 2015), thus affecting effective learning.
Most classrooms are over crowded and teachers have limited materials to reach every child in the classroom. is currently working to address educational challenges faced by vulnerable displaced and host community children in access basic education

Liberia's needs are humongous but not insurmountable. Our needs can be achieved by people who believe that they can be done and marshal the efforts to begin to do so. We cannot look to government and foreign aids to always to meet our needs. Individuals, groups, and communities of Liberians must step forward and do their part.
It in this conviction that we founded the Gbawin Literacy Project, Corp., a Washington-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit to promote literacy in a public school in a village in Grand Bassa. For two years in a row we have distributed school supplies, meaningful reading materials to 315 students and 4 teachers at Barsee-Giah Town Public School. We cannot claim that we are solving all of Liberia's problems, but our effort is a way to start, rather than doing nothing, blaming the government. Let they say, a thousand-mile journey starts with a single step.
I still have faith in Liberia and the resiliency to overcome its challenges, however difficult.

Add your voice