Seventeen-year old Abraham M. Keita from West Point Monrovia, Liberia is the 2015 winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize. Abraham has been awarded the Children’s Peace Prize, a prestigious award previously given to Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai. The 17-year-old was presented with the award for demanding justice for child victims of violence and for successfully campaigning for the Liberian parliament to adopt the children’s law. Keita played a leading role in the Liberian Children’s Parliament where he successfully lobbied the Liberian Parliament to adopt the Children’s Law to protect children’s rights.
He was nominated by SURE Liberia which is a campaign for reconstructing the minds of Liberian youths through education. Keita’s tireless work as a campaigner, bringing attention to crimes against children and campaigning until the perpetrators are locked away, stood out and convinced the jury. The young activist received the Prize from Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee who in 2011 was the first Liberian to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in Liberia’s peace-building process.
She stated at the ceremony “Keita’s work is inspiring”, adding that “I recognize in him a true change maker: Fighting to end the extreme violence against children.”
Some 80 per cent of the population lives below the poverty level in Liberia which was also hit this year by the deadly outbreak of Ebola in west Africa. In a country where 60 per cent of the population is under the age of 25, almost 4,500 children lost one or both parents in the outbreak in which some 5,000 people died. According to a report by the University of Leiden, in the west of the Netherlands, almost half of Liberia’s children have experienced some kind of physical violence and 13 per cent of girls have been sexually abused.
Keita stated upon receiving his award,
“Together with my peers I have successfully lobbied for children’s rights laws, but the now need to be put into practice,” Abraham said on receiving the award. “Children worldwide are still exposed to violence and injustice while thugs often go unpunished. I want people across the globe to acknowledge that this is unacceptable and that every world citizen, whether young or old, can be an agent of change”
Congratulations to Abraham Keita for getting the International Children’s peace award. This award is expected to give him more strength to continue to work for the children in Liberia and around the world.