However drop-out rates remain high, particularly for girls, of
whom three out of every five can't read, as they quit for reasons ranging
from forced marriages, early pregnancies, discrimination and violence. (Girls
were even known to have sex with their predominately male teachers in order
to receive decent grades.)
to implement strategies to engage girls in education led UNICEF
to withdraw funding from government sponsored initiatives in
2009 on they grounds they were there on paper but no real effort
had been made to implement them.
Healthcare is also a cause of
concern for children in Liberia with just 40 Liberian doctors
and 50 nurse midwives for a population of three and a half
Again, during the war, clinics and other medical
facilities were destroyed as well as the loss of life of medical
staff. This general lack of health care resources is compounded
by the country’s hot, tropical climate that is ripe for numerous
diseases from cholera, lymphatic filariasis, yellow fever, river
blindness, to the country's greatest health threat of malaria.
Other facts and figures paint an unequally bleak picture for
Liberia children. 83.7% of them live in poverty, 111 out
of every 1000 Liberia children will die before their fifth
birthday and most can expect to live to just 45 years old. Only
61% have access to safe water and those who grow up and find a
job, made harder with a literacy rate of just 52%, will be
amongst just the 15% of the population that's employed.
The video above provides a glimpse of
life inside Liberia for children today.