Community workshops

Years of violence exact a price: the current mentality in Liberia is based on survival. Cooperation is difficult, conflicts are not resolved or escalate into violence, and criminality is an everyday occurrence. Development requires cooperation and constructive solutions to conflicts. In order to stimulate this, the Mineke Foundation organized a workshop about security and conflict resolution.

The first workshop was attended by 51 participants. It was such a success, that, at the request of the participants, the time was extended by more than two hours. Furthermore, the participants took part of their own free will and without being paid for attendance, which usually happens in the case of other development projects in Liberia. In addition, the community made a small financial contribution and was actively involved in organizing the workshop. Following the workshop small groups came together under guidance to design small follow-up projects.

The first round of workshops took place in July 2011 and will be repeated in the future, depending on the needs of the inhabitants of Dabwe Town.

Youth club 'Just Say No'

The youth club 'Just Say No' was a unique and constructive result of young people between 15 and 25 years indicating themselves that boys and girls in the community are disrespectful in their interactions with each other and with adults. The high unemployment creates an environment in which drugs, alcoholism and violence flourish. In addition, there is a large number of teenage pregnancies, the threat of HIV/Aids, and in Dabwe Town, like in the rest of Liberia (although to a lesser extent), there is (sexual) violence against women.

The 'Just Say No" club' consisted of young people who start a conversation among themselves under the guidance of a mentor, on whom they can always rely. Via training sessions the disrupted relationship between boys and girls and between young people and adults is restored, and taboos and potential problems in the community are discussed. In this regard the club says "No" to:

  • Risky sexual behavior and HIV/Aids
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Criminality
  • Disrespectful interaction with adults
  • (Sexual) Violence against women

The goal of the project was to help young people find their place and position in society. In addition, the Mineke Foundation uses the 'train the trainer' approach, whereby the first group of young people can provide guidance to the next group, to preserve the lasting effect of the project.

The first intensive implementation of the programme took place from March until the end of 2012 and was made possible by the Carla Commijs funds of the VVAO Netherlands. A core group of 18 youth organized football games, a theatre production about drugs, and three clean-up campaigns in Dabwe Town. The club still exists but is not doing well, and the follow-up will undergo some changes in the future.

Renovation of the school auditorium

A long-held wish was the renovation of the auditorium of the Damiefa School. That wish became true in 2012. At the end of April, the key was handed over to Tonia's father. Our ambition to use the auditorium as a centre for discussions and meetings has not been fulfilled yet, in part because we have no money for power and for seats, but primarily because in the months following the renovation, there were more than 10 break-ins in the auditorium, the school and the houses in Dabwe Town. A boy was seriously injured and Tonia's father was attacked. This was cause for the Mineke Foundation to put the renovation on hold and to first focus on income generating activities and security. This takes shape via the vocational training (with the goal of starting small businesses) and intensive relationships with the leaders and inhabitants of Dabwe Town and surrounding communities.


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