Satta F. Sheriff Keynote address @ African Public Service Day June 23, 2017

    Satta F. Sheriff Keynote address @ African Public Service Day June 23, 2017
    Keynote address by the Executive Director Youth in Action for Peace and Empowerment (YAPE) Photo credit:
    Excellences, the Director General Liberia Civil Service agency, Ministers and civil servants of Liberia, members of the press, the children and youth of Liberia, audience, Distinguish ladies and Gentleman. 
    I bring you official greetings from Youth in Action for Peace and Empowerment (YAPE).  As a very young person, it is an honored to be selected among thousands of brilliant young people to address this year’s 2017 African Public Servant Day in Liberia. Thanks to the Civil Service Agency for the invitation.
    This year’s Public Service Day stretches young people a better platform to address civil servants’ issues that affect them and the African continent respectively. It gives us the platform to not only talk about partnership in Africa developmental agenda, but to also commit our youthful services to the public. It seeks among other things to give us the space to bring to the attention of government recommendations to improve youth services and advance in the implementation of existing protocols that protect the working population.
    Today, June 23rd is not only the African Public Service Day but this day is also marked as the United Nations Public Service Day.  In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/57/277 designating every June 23rd, as United Nations Public Service Day, to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community. 
    It is very important to bestow honored on Public Servants for their contributions made to the cause of enhancing the role, prestige, and visibility of public service.  As a continent, Public Service Day originated from the conference of African Ministers for Public or Civil Service held in Tangier, Morocco 1994. 
    It was agreed at that conference that June 23rd be celebrated annually as Africa Public Service Day to recognize the value and virtue of service to the community.  On this day, we must set aside our differences and work collectively to achieve the agenda for Africa’s transformation.
    We must use unity in public service to change the status code. We must use our diversities to unite. Our goal in public service should be to develop and better Liberia not a divisive, underdeveloped and corrupt Liberia.  I am excited that we have come together as a country again to observe another celebration of the African Public Service Day in Liberia.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to Speak to you on the theme ‘’Youth in Public Service; Rebuilding Liberia through Civil Servants”.  According to Liberia’s Demographic profile 2016, Youth constitutes about 83% of Liberia’s 4.3 million populations.  This profile alone puts young people at the front of critical national decision making processes.  The profile in itself delineates young people in Liberia as the majority population. 
    But, are we in the majority that are today on the frontlines of national decision making as the population?   Are we at the front of service delivery?  Young people must be ready, prepared and willing to serve.  Young people must take the lead and learn from the old to prepare for the future ahead. 
    The future starts with Children, develop with the youth, rest with elders and again pass over to children. Our actions are paramount and crucial to the nation’s development. Our willingness to provide services must be promoted and supported through the provision educational opportunities and empowerment.  We cannot create a better working environment alone, we need everyone to support us in this task.
    Everyone has a civil servant story to tell, mine has been with numerous challenges, but yet a passionate one.  I started voluntarily serving the public at age nine (9). By then, there’s nothing I known about the public service agency or public servants; but I still did what I could. From a very poor background, I worked in the space of the media and later found my voice in the Advocacy field. 
    I have tried and I continue to passionately contribute my services to the children of Liberia. I am sure all of us in here today have different stories on how we stated our public servants journey. We all have our field of specialization.  We all, one way of other are serving. I want you to know that your services are very important to the growth and development of Liberia. 
    This country needs you and your services at all times.  Whatever you are doing, do it with passion and commitment, you will think that it is not important, but remember, someone is watching. As we join others African countries to observe the African Public service Day in Liberia, we should all be cognizant of the future of our beloved country, Liberia. 
    We must recognize the power of civil servants and their many meaningful contributions to society. Our parents have struggled to maintain a better Liberia through public service. Liberia cannot progress if we as a nation cannot work together with youth at front. 
    As this year theme for African Public Service day says ‘’Entrenching a citizen-centered service delivery culture: partnering with the youth for Africa’s transformation’’, it is only the youth of Liberia through our services in partnership with you will build and transform this nation to a better position.
    We have chosen the fight to develop Africa but we are concern about the service delivery systems that are working and not working for our people. We are concern about those services that are being delivered. We are concern about the issues and resolutions that are discussed and finalized on our behalf. We are also concern that majority of our colleagues are at high risk of unemployment and low educational opportunities. 
    We want more for every child and youth in this country. We want to be visible in partnerships and collaborations on Africa’s transformation. THE TIME IS NOW! The time is now!! We must count the youth of Liberia in every sector.
    As we celebrate today, let’s reflect on the situation of civil servants. For too long, civil servants have suffered. What are your plans to change your current situation and position?? Do you always want to be the same?? Do you want the youth and children of this country to inherent a better future? You must show the difference, get ready for change now.  A positive change that will affect every civil servant in this country, from payroll, to housing facilities, to educational opportunities, to better health care and to a smart pension after retirement. 
    The civil servants of this country must say to the youth, we are ready for change. Our Social security system for civil servants is working again.  It is time to motivate you… Always say to yourself, Liberia will rise again and yes we can make it. Liberians can do better. 
    The youth and Children of this country depend on the decisions you make today.  We must engage ourselves, remind the government, international and local partners that our commitment to the continent and regional cohesion would not necessarily mean that we neglect our national responsibilities and duties, but yes, we are in gear for progress.