ECOWAS volunteers, who have just completed their two-year tour of Liberia, have been urged to be worthy ambassadors of the country as they return to their various countries.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Chidozie Obi-Nnadozie, told the volunteers at a three-day, post-mission training on Wednesday to use their personal experiences to sensitize their countries, commending them for choosing to serve in the country despite the obvious challenges they encountered during their service.
The training is intended to equip the volunteers with additional skills for life after their tour of Liberia.
The ambassador also called on ECOWAS Member States to do everything possible to put back Liberians on their feet after the country had undergone a civil war.
Certificates were presented to the volunteers, including Mr. Stephen Udu Arusione, one of the pioneer volunteers who died before the end of the service.
Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner for Gender and Human Development, Dr. Adrienne Diop, the Regional Coordinator of the ECOWAS Volunteer Programme (EVP), Mr. Ibrahim Ouedraogo, commended the volunteers for their diligence during the service and then urged them to maximise the skills they acquired during the training.
The EVP country representative in Liberia, Ms. Josephine Ndao, also commended the volunteers for their selfless services and used the opportunity to read a very emotional letter written by two students who benefitted from the volunteers’ assistance.
Organized by the ECOWAS Commission, the capacity building workshop was held for young professionals with specialization in different fields, especially in health and education.
The pilot phase of the EVP, which is for citizens aged between 18 and 35, was officially launched in Liberia in March 2010 with the purpose of recruiting volunteers from across the 15 Member States.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are covered under the pilot phase of the programme.
The programme, implemented with the support of the Ouagadougou-based ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre (EYSDC), is part of the Support to ECOWAS Peace and Development Project (PADEP), funded by the African Development Bank, and coordinated by the ECOWAS Peace Fund.
Other PADEP partners are the UN Volunteer programme (UNV) and UNESCO, which is assisting in the development of a culture of peace and citizenship reference Manual, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the implementing partner for the humanitarian aspect of the project.