January 18, 2021

AfricaTopForum

AfricaTopForum – News Around Africa

…Amidst Increasing SGBV Cases: BFF Conducts Marital Seminar For Over 400 Liberian, Ivorian Couples

5 min read
BFF President Augustine Arkoi, Madam Rita Arkoi & Rev. T Wleh Gaye, Board Chair of Saclepea Joint Christian Fellowship pose with Married Couples at the Saclepea Refuge Baptist Church.

The Better Future Foundation (BFF), in collaboration with Family Federation for World Peace, and with support of pastors and grassroots churches has conducted an Honoring of Marriage & Family Seminar in Saclepea, Nimba County.

Held on the Theme: “RESTORE THE FAMILY, REBUILD THE COMMUNITY & RENEW THE NATION,” the seminar was aimed at “honoring and promoting the institution of marriage & family,” as the foundation for community peaceful coexistence and sustainable development.

During the forum, about seventy couples, including cohabiters from Saclepea and its adjacent communities including couples (whether legally married or not), widows/widowers with no further intention(s) for another marital relationship and people of all denominations and religious backgrounds were empowered with the necessary spiritual, and life skills to manage “healthy relationships.” 

Participants of BFF Marriage & Family Seminar pose in Ziggida, a strategic cross-border Town in Lofa County, situated along the border with the Republic of Guinea.

BFF President, Augustine Arkoi, speaking at the workshop said it was further intended to encourage everyone from various religious, socio-economic and other backgrounds, especially those who are in love or marital relationships, to respect, honor and fully commit to legitimizing their relationships before man and God as eternal husbands & wives.

The BFF President said, his organization has been holding similar capacity building seminars in Montserrado and other rural counties, including Lofa; and cautioned people in marital relationships to serve as good role models in raising their children to be responsible citizens and problem-solvers who promote peace in their respective communities and the nation.

Participants of BFF Marriage & Family Seminar in Zorzor, Lofa County

At the well-attended and colorful occasion, married couples who have demonstrated years of commitment to overcoming divorce, keeping their marriages, and serving as good examples to their children & communities and couples who are not legally married, but willing to legitimize their relationships, and pledged never to divorce, but commit to being good examples to raise their children and support peace and development in their communities and nation were honored and certificated amidst jubilations by other family members, friends and other associates.

Also honored and certificated were several other community residents look on with delight were young cohabiters (boyfriends & girlfriends), who too committed themselves to stop fornicating, and stop giving birth to unwanted children and pledged to legitimize their relationships, overcome divorce and to serve as role models by responsibly raising their children as patriots, and promoters of sustainable peace and development in the country.

Mr. Arkoi, on behalf of BFF cautioned the audience, including reintegrated Ivorian refugees, to at all times remain law-abiding and constructively engage in promoting cross-border cooperation, as community citizens of ECOWAS. The BFF Boss concluded by encouraging all registered voters to participate in the upcoming December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial elections; and further reminded everyone to support peaceful and credible elections in Liberia.

Speaking on behalf of grassroot churches, the Board Chairman of the Saclepea Joint Christian Fellowship, Rev. T. Wleh Cheaty Gaye lauded the BFF and partners for what he described as a very resourceful seminar with revealing material contents aimed at nurturing marital relationships and the promotion of peace and harmony in the communities and nation.

Rev. Gaye used the occasion to call on the clergy, and other religious leaders, husbands and wives as well as cohabiters who may have violated their respective marital vows and engage in domestic violence and other acts of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) to desist and honestly recommit themselves to building and promoting healthy marital relationships for the wellbeing of their children, community and the nation.

For his part, Mr. Serge Kalto, Chairman of the reintegrated Ivorian refugees in Saclepea, Nimba County, along with 14 Ivorian couples who also participated in the marital workshop, expressed delight over the contents of the seminar.

Mr. Serge used the forum to disclose that there are many cohabiters in the Ivorian refugee camp in Saclepea who equally desire to host wedding ceremonies to legitimize their relationships, but unable to do so due to their current underprivileged conditions.

While commending BFF for incorporating the Ivorian refugees into the marriage and family capacity development seminar, Mr. Serge encouraged the Liberian based ECOWAS Civil Society Advocacy organization and its partners to continue the gesture of providing opportunities for more reintegrated refugees to legitimize their relationships and uphold their marital values including taking full parental responsibilities in raising their children void of domestic violence and juvenile delinquencies.

Other personalities who made remarks at the occasion included Rev. Nehwah Tarlo, President, of Saclepea Joint Christian Fellowship, Rev. Morris M. Yeedoun, Executive Director of Harvest International, and Rev. Dennis Jonah Monmia, Senior Pastor of the Refuge Baptist Central Church in Saclepea, all of whom appreciated BFF for the gesture and national outreach to empower families in rural communities. The Clergy men used the opportunity to further call for increase in collaboration among the churches, leaders and local institutions to not only deliver the much-needed education and other basic social services, but to also ensure the maintenance of moral order in the family and society for sustainable peace and development of the Liberian nation.

According to BFF communication, from November 2019 to present (November 2020), a total of 410 cohabiters and married couples, representing Lofa, Montserrado and Nimba Counties, including Ivorian reintegrated refugees have successfully participated in the BFF marriage and family seminars, and certificated.

In another development, the Better Future Foundation (BFF), has applauded the Government of Liberia (GOL) for provision of electrical power supply system and ensuring its effectiveness and reliability in Saclepea and nearby communities in Nimba County.

BFF said, the availability of such basic social services has created the necessary atmosphere for more citizens and residents of various communities in said rural part of the country to engage in multiple socio-economic empowerment initiatives including the enhancement of learning opportunities particularly for students and other professionals.

While describing the electrical power supply program of the GOL in Saclepea as heartwarming and impactful, BFF also appeals to local authorities and UNHCR to offer similar electrical services to the Ivorian refugee camp in Saclepea, to particularly enable children and students to study during night hours, which may ensure maximum productive learning outcomes.

At the same time, BFF disclosed that it has observed with much appreciation the preparations made by the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Liberia Refugees Repatriation & Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), and its partners for receiving Ivorian Refugees, who, according to UNHCR, have been crossing into Liberia in clusters with minimum of 1,000 persons per day.

“In fact, it is consistent with BFF’s mandate as an ECOWAS CSO advocate for regional integration and safe and legal immigration that led us to extend the honoring of marriage and family program to the integrated Ivorian refugees at the Ivorian Refugee Camp in Saclepea,” BFF President Augustine Arkoi told newsmen.

Better Future Foundation (BFF), is a civil society organization dedicated to the postwar reconstruction and development of Liberia. BFF advocates for the regional integration of ECOWAS and supports family counselling programs and activities aimed at promoting socio-economic, educational, and international cultural understanding and cooperation.