Grand Bassa County, Liberia
GOLD has set as it mission to promote poverty reduction as well as democratic and high quality governance in Liberia. The promotion is done through targeted interviews and continues with concept mapping exercises and community capacity building. The promotion seeks to empower local authority and their community to be able to effectively engage their law makers as to make policy decisions favorable for Liberians and to be fully transparent.
The Vision of GOLD is that everyone in Liberia has a good life and that the Governance of the country is of high quality and Democratic is ensured.
Liberia, Africa’s oldest Independent republic, is located in West Africa, and has a square miles of 111,369 square kilometers with about 4 million people. After its independent in 1847 by free slave (settlers) from America, the central government sought to unify the country by including indigenous Liberians in the decision making process and development of the nation. However, the central government had struggled unsuccessfully and failed to meet this objective due to several factors: free slaves who made up the government held the perspective that the indigenous where not christianized, or civilized, and, moreover, they were accused by the free slaves for being perpetrators of their slavery, thereby creating a feeling of distraught to include indigenous in the central government’s decision making process and development agenda. This measure was clearly seen in the 1847 constitution that limited indigenous, who made up 80 percent of the country’s population, to mere underclass citizens that wholly depended on the central government for its development agenda. For more than 168 years the larger population of indigenous Liberian citizens have suffered extreme poverty, illiteracy and economic disadvantages, while the central government policy affects only urban Liberia and its eminent social class.
This led to the overthrow of Liberia’s nineteenth president, William R. Tolbert by an overwhelming indigenous military, and brought the first indigenous president, Samuel K. Doe to power. However, by failing to create a genuine policy that will unite the country, and set a scope for rural community development, there was a power struggle that lasted for fourteen years, destroying every fabric of the Liberian society, creating a vacuum for major nationwide development. After the war, in 2003, Africa first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected to power with the intention to unify the country, and set up a genuine development agenda, but for ten years very little had been done to develop rural community, which lapsed far behind in the country’s development agenda.
A huge part of this can be drawn to the 1983 constitution under the function of the Executive Branch of government, Article 54 (d) and 56 (b) that allows the central government to appoint local government officials, thereby limiting rural community’s development agenda to central government designed agenda that often are not in the interest of the people.
GOLD has provided leadership and advocacy education to enable local government in District 2 advocate for the reconstruction of the bridge between Bong County (Faynutolee) and Grand Bassa with the objective to promote food security in Grand Bassa, Bong and Monsurrado Counties. The Advocacy is targeting to have a improve farm road to Market for rural farmer in the community.
We have been successful in advocating for the recondition of the Little Bassa Public School. GOLD discussed the condition of the school on three radio talk show and also published the story in the People and Heritage News Papers. This discussion and publication attracted Issac Ross Foundation and Haynes Barshu, the representative of District 2, to recondition the school.
The organization was also successful in promoting effective leadership and communication between the Swakamoore community leadership and its inhabitants over the confusion of fund collected from the community for electricity.
Brocks K. Pokai
Behind LRA, ELWA Junction, Montovia, Liberia