September 5, 2015:
Representative Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood of District 9, Montserrado County has dedicated a warehouse for the marketers of Fiamah Market in Monrovia. During her dedicatory statement, Rep Youngblood re-emphasized; “You owe me nothing, I owed you. During the election I told you that I would have come back to you and indeed I am back to fulfill by commitment—this is not a payback but a sense of responding to your needs”. At the program, the Youth Chairman of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Mr. Jefferson Koigee thanks the people of Fiamah and the district at large for their continues support to the work of the CDC lawmaker.
Representative Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood was given a Certificate of Appreciation from the Liberia Marketing Association’s Fiamah branch. “I was embarrassed when I heard that marketers were carrying their goods homes because of the lack of warehouse, issue that needed timely intervention”. She added. The youngest lawmaker estimated the cost of the project in the tone of little over 8,000 USD. She clarified that the money used is neither not County development Fund nor Social Development but her personnel money that she worked for.
Hon. Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood Representative District 9 Montserrado County & Member of the Board (FLY)
Let me appreciate the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) the Organization of which I am part of because I am a youth and also a Board Member. Appreciation also goes to the UNFPA family for their continuous supports and commitments in educating the Liberian populace about sexual Reproductive Health Education mainly among the Young people of Liberia for organizing this year International Youth Day celebration on this topic.
This venture (passage of the Sexual Reproductive Health Bill) mainly lies on us as youthful lawmakers and as such we should lobby with others to ensure it passes into law and the enforcement of its implementation and sustainability. Giving my background as partner in progress and key player of the aforesaid, I have captured four (4) points to be considered:
• To work with the Federation of Liberian Youth, UNFPA and my colleagues for the passage of the Sexual Reproductive Health Education and its inclusion into the National Curriculum. I pledge to sponsor this bill in introducing it at the level of plenary as the youngest lawmaker with the full backing of my youthful colleagues and with the blessing from the elders in chamber.
• The importance of empowering young people cannot be over emphasis, Let me take a quote from a young lady Ms Agnes Bangura from Sierra Leone who represented the Mano River Youth at the just ended UNFPA technical working session in New York where Deputy Minister Saah N’tow and I represented Liberia, she said and I quote ” Why should our love one’s died before we as young people can get job to sustain ourselves? Contract tracers and Data Collectors Is epidemic the only means for employment? Is it the process in which we as young people should put food on our tables? The answer is NO. We must have access to job in the absence of crisis. Now the Ebola crisis is over should we as young people go now and pray to our God to bring back another epidemic because our jobs are about to be over”. I say it is time to act, we have listen for too long it’s time to walk the talk and create the space for our young people. With over 74% of our population below the age of 36 youth & young adult Empowerment is a must.
• Sexual Reproductive Health Education is very important because statistic states that over 33% of our young girls gets pregnant before the age of 16 this is very serious. Let me give you a real life incident. The other day I visit Hope for Women hospital in Paynesville and Dr. Jallah inform me that she had just carry out a charity delivery program of 100 pregnant young girls who were less than 18 years old just before our schools could re-open so, I say this sexual reproductive health education is too important and institution like Hope for women should be prioritize in the budget.
The call for support from the legislature is very timely. We as a nation we should identified the root cause of this crisis? Today I want to say the major cause of teenage pregnancy is Poverty. Our people are suffering. Mama gone to sell in the market, papa gone to look for it, he cannot even return home with anything. Papa nah come but the plastic bag has a hole on it before he gets home nothing is in it. So little Tutu girl has now become the head of the home bring food for her parents so at age 15 she’s already a mother. This is serious, our people are really suffering and we as Legislators the people’s deputy must act now. As Montserrado Student Union Ambassador Against Teen a pregnancy I want to officially say to UNFPA, Ministry of Youth & Sports and my own mother institution FLY I pledge to move with you all throughout the Nation to spread the message against teenage pregnancy and educate our young people about sexual reproductive health education. This action can only be a success if the nation takes the lead with its budgetary allotment to making this campaign easy. The legislators must see reason to support this. No nation can develop if their lawmakers and policy makers are not ready to support such growth with serious cash.
• I promise to Lobby with members of the 53rd National Legislature for budgetary support for the full implementation of the National Youth Act of 2013 and also increment of budgetary allotment for the Federation of Liberian Youth, the Mano River Youth Parliament and the Liberia National Students Union this will help to encourage the decentralization of youth activities throughout the country.
Let me conclude by saying, it is wrong to have in the national budget $85,000.00 USD for the Federation of Liberian Youth the group that constitute 74% of the population and the Abingno Federation gets $175,000.00 this is injustice to the young people of this country. Let me give you an open secret; I did a letter during the budget review to correct this, I also asked for more support for sexual reproduction health education , the ministry of health and education generally but my letter did not make it on the floor of plenary for some reason.
But let me challenge you young people we have the power to change this story, we constitute the highest percentage of the nation’s population we can determine who becomes who in this Country. So it’s time for us as young people to step up our games and take charge of our destiny. Let us stop being baggers and become final decision makers. We can do it the power is in our vote. Finally, all that has been said can only be realized when the legislature see reason to support by placing money rightly in the budget. so I end by say the road to sustainable development starts with the legislators and end with the legislators. I thank you all and Happy International Youth Day.