Liberia

Liberia: Reintegrating ex-combatants

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Two hundred former combatants of the conflict in Liberia will be given an opportunity to not only earn a living and complete their reintegration into society, but also to make a difference in reducing pollution and improving the health and living conditions of the most vulnerable communities in the capital, Monrovia.

The former combatants will take part in a new IOM programme funded by the German government which will help municipal authorities re-start and manage a comprehensive waste management system in Monrovia.

The fourteen year conflict which killed more than 200,000 people and displaced another one million also destroyed much of the country's infrastructure, contributing to the spread of poverty and disease.

A middle-income country before the conflict began in 1989; seventy-five per cent of Liberia's population now lives on less than a dollar a day.

The capital in particular is facing particular stress. Monrovia has more than tripled in size since 1989 and is now home to a third of the country's total population. One million people are living in an over-crowded city severely lacking in key infrastructure including a waste management system.

Efforts to bring the country back to normal are dependent on the successful completion of the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants, more than 103,000 of whom have been registered so far through a national demobilisation programme. Monrovia itself has large numbers of unemployed former combatants on its streets with the national unemployment rate estimated as being as high as 85 per cent.

Coordinating the programme with Monrovia's Municipal Public Works (MPV), the World Bank and the International Labour Organization (ILO) which are also supporting and carrying out projects focused on addressing unemployment and waste management issues, IOM will help restart a waste collection and management service.

The Organization will provide technical assistance to local authorities; create the necessary premises to implement a waste collection system; identify, recruit, train and manage a local workforce from among unemployed former combatants and devise information campaigns aimed at raising awareness among the city's population of environment and health-related issues.

For further information, please contact Ferdinand Paredes at IOM Monrovia, Tel: + 231 6 448 129 or +231 666 5950, Email: fparedes@iom.int

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