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LRRRC To Restore Zogos’ Hope

-Develops Framework for Rehabilitation; Conducts Surveys and Develops Nationwide Statics

Hundreds, if not thousands of several challenged youth commonly called zogos (for males) and zogolyn (for females) are expected to benefit from nationwide rehabilitation program already conceptualized by the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC).

The initiative which is expected to rid many communities of the criminals who are better referred to by the LRRRC as national internally displaced persons (NIDP) or disadvantaged youth is also supported by the Liberia Institute for Statistic and Geo-information Services (LISGIS) through statistics collection.

According to a release, Rev. Festus B. Logan who is the Executive Director of the LRRRC said the Commission’s objective is to give fruitful and productive meaning to the lives of several young people who are feared by many residents across the country due to their actions necessitated by drugs addiction.

“The Liberia 2019 Zogos Survey  represents a milestone in the history of statistics in Liberia as it is the country’s first ever survey on the Zogos and or national internally displaced persons (NIDP).

“The project is undergoing implementation by the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) with financial support from the Government of Liberia (GOL) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM),” Logan said.

He added that the LRRRC also received technical support from the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), the National Aids Control Programme (NACP), and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“This survey covered Montserrado, Margibi, and Grand Bassa counties but with specific emphasis on Montserrado which is considered for the establishment of a baseline.

“The overall objective of the NIDPs study in the urban and rural areas of these selected counties is to establish the current situation regarding Zogos’ exploitation and abuse in targeted communities and what kind of intervention the government and partners can provide in finding durable solutions for them,” Logan said.

He said the survey also aims at collecting information in each of the targeted communities to enable the identification and analysis of the causes and consequences of NIDPs/Zogos engaged in issues that affect their growth and development in Liberia.

About the Commission’s survey, Logan said 5,274 households in 46 communities with 46 pre-selected ghettos were visited recently and direct interactions were held with the internally displaced persons (NIDPs) and other individuals of interest.

“Data was collected from 5, 274 NIDPs via focus group discussion, community-based Survey, and key informant interview and the data was sent to LISGIS for analysis and they were validated by relevant indicators.

“The survey results are not generalize to national and sub-national levels as the sampling process was biased (purposeful sampling) in order to provide rich information that can be used to inform future programs and policies,” Logan further explained.

He said from the data collected and processed, male drug addicts constitute91.5 percentofthetotal5274respondentswhile female drug addicts make up 8.5 percent and that it was clearly learned from the survey that male drug addicts are more vulnerable than their female counterparts.

Logan reported that 16.9 percent of the malesand14.3 percent of females were reported to have come from Lofa while11.7 percent of malesand14.3 percent females were from Bong.

“This was followedbyGrandBassareporting10.0 percent and 13.4 percent for both male and female NIDPs. In Montserrado County, 11.4 percent and11.3 percent accounted for both male and female NIDPs,” he said.

The LRRRC boss pointed out that a rehabilitation center is undergoing renovation in Bomi County and when it is completed in a not distant future, 150 NIPDs or zogos will be taken to the center and rehabilitated in six months’ time and going forward there will be regular six months rehabilitation coupled with skills training for the disadvantaged youths.

“With government, local NGOs and international partners’ support we will cater to 150 NIDPs at that center. This means, we will enroll them twice a year so as to help them get the needed rehabilitation and subsequent reintegration in society,” he said.

Logan said his Commission’s survey shows that the users of drugs, its sellers and enforcement officers are all associated with drugs and need counseling and rehabilitation.

“The lack of access to money to procure the drugs makes the zogos to go out and steal. They harass people also because of the lack of food to stabilize the effect of the drugs on them,” he said.

Logan added: “It is a proven fact in Monrovia and other parts of the country that thousands of young people are victims of drug addiction and the influence of the drugs taken in by those young people is now having an immense negative impact on the livelihoods of many people across the country.”

He said there is a renovation as well as the construction of new housing units in Bomi and upon the completion of the ongoing works; measures will be put in place for the rehabilitation and training of the disadvantaged youth to begin.

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