War Ends, Rape Continues in Liberia

It is lunch time at the Light Stream Academy School on Pagos Island in Monrovia. The stretch of land, with more than 4000 inhabitants, is completely cut off from the rest of the capital. It is surrounded by swamps and marshland. The only access routes are by foot. Dozens of children, wearing green and white…

‘Up Jumps a Girl Into the Book’

Recess is over at a small church school on the edge of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. Children wearing bright blue, yellow and white uniforms stream back into the classrooms. Seated behind brown wooden desks, with sweat just drying off of their little bodies, only a few children have pens and copy books. They are…

UN’s Female Role Models

Teachers and parents in Congo Town in Monrovia say since the arrival of the female Indian peacekeepers in Liberia, children’s views of women are gradually beginning to change. The female peacekeepers came to the country in 2007.  Their job is to guard the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the President’s residence. But, the UN Gender Advisor…

Anti-Rape Activists Say Only Prosecutions Will End Violence

At least four rape cases are reported at health clinics in Monrovia every day, according to rape counselors.  This rape epidemic means many girls are suffering physical and emotional trauma that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. But, one local organization called Touching Humanity in Need of Kindness, or THINK, is giving…

Is it time for a Liberian War Crimes Trial?

It has been more than a year since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report. Among the recommendations was the setting up of a war crimes court. Thousands of people died in the country’s 14 year civil war while human rights abuses were committed across Liberia.  But is our country really ready for…

Children Having Sex for 3US cents

Children as young as ten are selling sex for as little as 5 Liberian Dollars, the equivalent of 3 US cents. They are using their bodies to pay for food, clothes and school fees – according to the NGO, Women’s Aid Incorporated.  It says poverty is driving children onto the streets. Prostitution is illegal in…

Children Rented to Beg

Children are being rented to beg for blind people on the streets of Monrovia.  That’s according to the Montserrado Super Intendent.  Grace Kpan says although some of the kids may be related to the blind person, she fears in some cases the children may be rented.  She says she is concerned about the number of…

A Decade Since UN Law on Women

Liberia is leading the way on the UN’s first ever law on women peace and security. The law, UN security council resolution 1325, was passed a decade ago and Liberia is the first country in Africa to complete a national action plan to implement the law. 1325 seeks to have women participate in every security…

Seven Years After War, is Liberia Ready for a War Crimes Trial?

Click to hear the whole story. [audio:http://newnarratives.podbean.com/mf/web/atxwwr/TeceeTRCFinalpackageNov2010.mp3] A symposium on Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in New York this month has once again stirred debate about recommendations in the TRC’s final report. The government has failed to implement most of them, chief among them the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to try more than…

UN’s First Female Police Unit Inspires Liberian Schoolgirls

Click to hear the whole story. [audio:http://newnarratives.podbean.com/mf/web/nxq42y/LadyMai1325IPKfinalpkgeOct2010.mp3] Students play outside the small, rectangular, building in Congo Town. It’s recess at the victory chapel school in Monrovia. Children are neatly dressed in their blue uniforms with orange and white stripes on their collars. It would be like any other school in the country if it wasn’t…

Is Liberia Ready for War Crime Tribunal? Liberian people are divided

A conference in New York earlier this month has renewed debate about one key recommendation of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Delegates, including TRC Chairman Jerome J. Verdier, said the time has come to prosecute 182 Liberians accused in the report of war crimes. But Front Page Africa interviews with Liberians in Monrovia found ordinary…

A Lack of Safe Homes Leaves Rape Victims with Perpetrators

Tears roll down 16-year-old Tete’s full cheeks as she retells her painful ordeal. When she was 11, Tete and three of her sisters, were raped by three uncles over and over again. Tete’s family was part of the Never Die cult that claimed every body in the family was free to have sex with anyone…

Sonnie Morris Alum

Sonnie Morris is a public relations officer with the United Nations in Liberia. Sonnie was recruited from her job as a reporter and presenter at Sky FM in 2011 because of her groundbreaking reporting with New Narratives. During her time in the program Sonnie won widespread acclaim for her expose on teenage prostitutes. The story…

Clara Mallah Alum

Clara Mallah is a newspaper reporter in Monrovia. During her time with New Narratives she was a reporter with FrontPage Africa newspaper where she did groundbreaking reporting on a range of issues including child prostitution, unsafe abortions and child rape. Clara won the 2011 Women’s Reporter of the Year award becoming one of just 3 women ever…

Lady Mai Hunter Alum

Lady Mai was chosen by the Liberia Broadcasting System, the country’s state radio, for a new project involving young people reporting on young people in 2008. She coordinated the International Children’s Day of Broadcasters before moving to the Liberia Women Democracy Radio at the start of 2010, the first and only radio station for women…

India’s Female Peacekeepers Inspire Liberian Girls

It is break time at the Victory Chapel School in Congo Town. Children dressed in their royal blue uniforms with bright yellow and white trim fight to get under the shade of the only mango tree in the yard. It is the start of the dry season and the scorching sun will soon be almost…

Chronic Malnutrition Blamed on Mothers

Mercy Freeman sits on a small hospital cot in one of Liberia’s emergency hospitals, looking down at her frail son, whose dark eye sockets have sunk into his bony face. “He just started getting thin and thin[ner]. I do not know what is happening, that is why I brought him to the hospital,” the 18-year-old…