Thursday, April 2, 2009

LTAS Actively Participates in International Colloquium

March 10, 2009
The LTAS hosts played active roles in the just-ended International Women’s Colloquium, as well as the International Youth Forum that preceded the Colloquium, in various capacities. Mahmud, Janice and Kula were delegates to the Youth Forum, while Bookman served as a volunteer in the Youth Forum’s Secretariat. PSI’s was also one of the hundreds of booths trading wares and products at the Colloquium Trade Fair.

Living together with over 30 other youth delegates in the youth camp at the Baptist Theological Seminary, the LTAS Hosts described the 4-day experience as “once in a lifetime”, as they learned a lot on such pivotal issues as climate change, reproductive health, educational empowerment, women’s leadership, et al. The Youth Forum and the Colloquium also created the avenue for Liberian youths to network with their peers from around the world and share best practices on matters relative to young people, as the colloquium brought together over 800 delegates from Liberia and the rest of the world.

During the plenary session of the MDG-3, LTAS Host Mahmud Johnson served as one of the two youth representatives on the plenary and at the close of the International Colloquium, LTAS Host Janice Pratt read the youths’ final resolution after which she received a heavy round of applause, apparently because of the animation with which she read the resolution.

Janice was one of ten Liberian girls starring in a UNFPA/ UNICEF documentary produced for the Colloquium called “I Have Something to Tell You”. In the documentary, the ten girls write about the past, their dreams and the challenges they face in a country hard hit by years of war and carnage. Some of the girls explained their stories of rape, sexual harassment and rejection. There was awestruck silence in the hall as the documentary was been screened. The life stories of those girls were so powerful; it silenced the most hardened spectator. As Janice put it, “I stood in a room with nine other girls, and the aura felt like it was the most powerful room in the world”.

In the 12-minute documentary, the girls share their aspirations of being educators, presidents, lawyers, etc. But the question is: will they be given the opportunity in a country like ours? According to the producers; “I have Something To Tell You gives a chance to these girls to speak up about the issues that affect them. It gives them a chance to call for support to help them overcome the challenges and reach their dreams which they share with every young woman in the world.” And as LTAS Host Janice closing line in the documentary quotes; “there is nothing wrong in dreaming”.

It is without a doubt that the LTAS show is taking indomitable roots in Liberia. The hosts carried with them to the Colloquium the same grace and charisma that they always exude, and, unsurprisingly, many of the delegates began to exhibit interest in following up on the show!

LTAS: Who’s Out and Who’s In?

The LTAS Team witnessed this month (March) the going out of two of its members, as well as the coming in of two new members. Lydia Nimley, former Coordinator of the Let’s Talk About Sex radio show, contract expired with PSI/Liberia, and she opted not to renew it because she intends to pursue another career path. The new LTAS Coordinator is Joey DeMarco. Joey has a wealth of experience in dealing with youths, and he has worked in many countries around the world, including the United States and Grenada. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the West Virginia State University and a master’s degree in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. LTAS also received a new Technical Intern to serve as a technical liaison between PSI and UNMIL Radio. Edwin Genoway replaced Wellington Railey, as LTAS Technical Intern.

LTAS Radio in March

The LTAS radio show discussed very interesting topics this month. Some of the topics were: “Why do Some Parents Refuse to Discuss Sex With Their Children?”, which was so interesting that it spilled over into a part two edition the following week. Another stimulating topic discussed was “Being Faithful”. Some of the guests were Ms. Kanvee Siryon, Mrs. Lydia Nimley, Mrs. Anita Jones, Mr. Stefan Dunbar, and Mr. Darius Tarnue. .


In this debut edition of our “Supporter Spotlight” series, we feature Lisa White, Senior Radio Producer at UNMIL Radio. Ms. White is a native of New Jersey, USA, and she worked at the United Nations Radio in New York before joining UNMIL Radio. In 1993, she graduated from the California State University at Fresno with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and in 2000 she received a Master’s degree in Political Science with concentration in International Relations from Long Island University in Brooklyn. Lisa is the official producer of the Let’s Talk About Sex radio show at UNMIL Radio.

Hear why Lisa White supports LTAS:

“[I support LTAS] because its goal is very important; to educate young people here in Liberia about making good choices, particularly when it comes to sexual activity. And, I like the program- and the mission- because it gives young people correct information. So, it’s a place where young people can come and listen to other young people like themselves, who are doing good things; giving them great information about how to stay safe, how to make the right choices in their lives, and how to be happy.”

Message to young people:

“I encourage all young people to really focus on developing themselves and their talents, and to delay sexual activity for a while until they get to know really who they are and what it is that they want for their lives, and achieve something.”


In the LTAS Spotlight this month (March 2009) is LTAS Host Mahmud Johnson. Mahmud has been appointed as the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA) 2009 National Focal Point for Liberia. The GYCA is a youth-led, UNAIDS and UNFPA supported alliance of over 5000 young leaders and adult allies working in over 150 countries worldwide. Of the 2.5 million people infected yearly, young people account for 40 percent of new infections. GYCA empowers young leaders with the skills, knowledge, resources and opportunities they need to scale up HIV/AIDS interventions amongst their peers.
Mahmud was selected from a pool of Liberian youths who applied earlier this year for the post.