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Liberia: UN hails youth participants in clean-up

Liberia: UN envoy hails youth participants in clean-up campaign

The senior United Nations envoy for Liberia today praised thousands of the country's youth who have participated in a campaign to clean up Monrovia ahead of Monday's historic inauguration of President-elect Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Alan Doss made his comments at a ceremony in the capital which marked the culmination of a 10-day exercise called “Youth in Action,” involving nearly 4,000 young volunteers who helped beautify the city through a massive clean-up effort.

“Several years ago you might have carried guns, but you put them down and you picked up spades” Mr. Doss told participants. “It is these spades which will rebuild this country. It is you that will rebuild this country.”

Over the past ten days, the young volunteers removed more than 250 truckloads of garbage, brushed and painted roadsides, patched potholes and repainted many buildings, bridges and road signs throughout the capital, according to the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (UNMIL), which provided logistical support.

In its own efforts to help clean-up Monrovia, UNMIL has removed over 100 wrecked vehicles from the roadsides, repaired potholes, removed nearly 200 truckloads of trash, and made repairs to Roberts International Airport and other vital infrastructure.

Among those attending today's ceremony was President-elect Johnson-Sirleaf, who Mr. Doss held up as a role model for the youth volunteers. He said that throughout her career, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf had always showed determination and lived by the motto “never give up, never give in.”

Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf herself thanked the youth. “You are the future of Liberia; you are the ones who are going to stand up and take this country forward,” she said.

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