Workshop On Disaster Risk Management Begins in Monrovia
The Informer (Monrovia)
Kevin S. Tydehson
30 July 2009

A three day workshop to deliberate on findings from the nation-wide capacity needs assessment on Liberia’s preparedness to address natural disaster commenced yesterday at the Monrovia YMCA Building on Broad.

The workshop brought together County Gender Coordinators, County Inspectors, Liberia National Red Cross Society Field Officers, members of the National Legislature including representatives of media institutions among others.

According to UNDP Information Officer, Mr. Anthony Selmah, the workshop is expected to broaden the understanding of participants on key disaster risk reduction frameworks and provide an opportunity for participants to contribute to the finalization of the draft National Action Plan for capacity development.

Speaking during the official opening program, Internal Affairs Minister, Abdulai Johnson, lauded the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for its support in organizing the workshop and said that disaster does not discriminate between urban and rural communities.

Minister Abdulai disclosed to participants that Liberia has experienced numerous disasters such as floods in the costal areas of the country since 2006 coupled with the damage of major highways.

“I had an experience of flood that took a whole town in certain part of Grand Kru while I was in the helicopter traveling with the President Sirleaf,” he said.

The Minister said that man-made disaster can be minimized through education which according to him triggered the present workshop for participants to be educated and explain to others how man-made disasters are dangerous to the country.

He observed that construction pattern which forbids one to carry on construction works in the swamp in the country many years ago because according to him, swamps were considered as government’s land because swamps have the tendency to absorb water which flows from main land as a result of rain which is considered as a natural disaster, while construction in the swamps is man-made disaster.

He said once a man decides to build in a swamp, he should be prepared to salvage the area in which he is doing the construction or create a channel through which water from the mainland could flow to avoid man-made disaster.

He maintained further that constructing on swamping areas in the country is one of the challenges faced by the government and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Commission which is also a functionary of the government.

It can be recalled that the Government of Liberia and UNDP conducted a National Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity Needs Assessment in 2007 as part of the process of Strengthening National Capacities in disaster risk reduction. The assessment identified major resource constraints and capacity gaps in policy and legal frameworks. As a result, a draft National Action Plan for Capacity Development was developed.

UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.

Copyright © 2009 The Informer.





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“Need to rethink County Development Funds”, says Pres. Sirleaf
Written by Vivian Gartyn
Thursday, 18 December 2008

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says there is a need to rethink the management of the County Development Funds.

The President said the current management is causing serious problems undermining the essence for which the funds were budgeted.

The County Development Funds are being managed by county officials in collaboration with the Legislature.

The President disclosed lawmakers are giving instructions to the Finance Ministry for payment of funds, something she described as totally inappropriate.

There have been claims and counter-claims of corruption from across the country over how the County Development Funds are expended.

There are also calls for the General Audit Commission to audit the funds but the President said the GAC should be allowed to carryout bigger audits.

She assured that other companies like Momo and company can be contacted to audit the county funds.

Meanwhile, President Sirleaf announced a pending reshuffle of her cabinet but was quick to state that is not about corruption or dishonesty by those to be affected.

The Chief Executive further clarified that the pending reshuffle is intended to make her government more effective.

President Sirleaf acknowledged that some of her earlier appointments were about political considerations and pay-backs for support during the elections.

She said now that her government has reached its mid-point, there is a need for some changes to ensure more achievements.

The reshuffle is expected to affect every level of government and will see the transfer and dismissal of some officials.

In another development, the President has disclosed that the Dunn Commission will present its report in January 2009.

She assured that any recommendation from the commission would be implemented.

Over two hundred thousand U.S. dollars was approved for the commission to investigate the authenticity of the emails scandal that linked the office of the President.


Liberian president, rural inhabitants discuss “Lift Liberia” initiative
Running Africa, GA
(MONROVIA-Nov. 24, 2008): President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf over the weekend continued town hall meetings with a visit to Grand Cape Mount County. During Friday’s  interactive session with the President, residents of Grand Cape Mount advanced several suggestions, which they say, if carried out, will buttress the successful implementation of the ‘LIFT LIBERIA’ Initiative. Among other areas, they discussed agriculture, education, the economy and infrastructure.

Among other areas, they discussed agriculture, education, the economy and infrastructure. An Executive Mansion release quoting the residents, …

Link:  http://runningafrica.com/news-11262008Sirleaf-Lift-Liberia.html


President Sirleaf begins county tour  
Written by Vivian Gartyn    
Thursday, 13 November 2008 

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has begun her much talked about dry season county tour across the country.

On Tuesday, the President visited two districts in Grand Bassa County, touring development activities and farming projects.

Madam Sirleaf dedicated two Administrative Buildings in Districts Number 1 and 2 and a held a town hall meeting.

During the meeting, the president explained the Poverty Reduction Strategy and address concerns of the citizens.

She encouraged the citizens to demand meetings with their officials to hold them accountable as part of the development process.

While in Grand Bassa County, President Sileaf assured that volunteer teachers in the Country would be compensated before Christmas.

President Sirleaf said the compensation is in appreciation of services rendered the educational system over the years.

She however said, a process is ongoing to absorb qualified volunteer teachers in the school system and train unqualified ones.

The President encouraged the volunteer teachers to register with their District education officers to go through the process.

Madam Sirleaf’s statements were in response to concerns by people of Districts Number 1 and 2 in Grand Bassa.

The people said their school system is being controlled by volunteer teachers and appealed for them to be included on government payroll.

Series of meetings have been going on between the teachers and the Education Ministry to address the issue of volunteer teachers.

Already, government has identified over seven thousand volunteer teachers across the country.

The President has left for Zorzor, Lofa County in continuation of her dry season tour.   


Mr. Dahn (holding cutlass) with a local reporter at the farm







Several Acres Oil Palm Planted in Nimba Owner Wants Others Motivated

By C.Y. Kwanue
Published: 15 October, 2008

A son of Nimba County, who returned home recently from the United States of America to manage his 100-acre of oil palm, says his aim is to help motivate other farmers in the country.

Mr. William N. Dahn, 56, told the Daily Observer at his farm on October 11, 2008 that his idea is against the backdrop of the fact that Liberia, for many years, was among the top oil palm and rubber producers in the world, but in the early 1980s and during the 14-year conflict, the country’s production accounted for only a small percentage of total global output.

Again, due to the prolonged civil crisis, the oil palm industry is presently experiencing an acute decline in production, thus placing Liberia at the bottom of the table of oil producing countries.
The apparent downward trend in oil palm production in the country has seriously claimed the attention of Mr. Dahn, who is at the moment making personal frantic efforts to revive the country’s oil palm industry.

Mr. Dahn, a Liberian who recently returned home after living for many years in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States of America (USA), said he returned home “for good” to manage an oil palm plantation in order to remain focused in contributing meaningfully to the post-conflict reconstruction of war-torn Liberia.

“Though everyone is a politician by trade, for now, that is not my objective, because I returned home upon the advice and consent of Nimba former County Attorney, G. William Kai, Sr. and David Queglay, also a well-to-do farmer in Nimba. The two men encouraged me to come and venture into farming. Already, with the help of the townspeople, Atty. Kai has provided me a 100-acre of land for oil palm production,” Mr. Dahn told our senior reporter who visited the oil palm main production site on Saturday October 11, 2008.

The Zlangor Oil Palm Enterprise, according to Mr. Dahn, is at the moment operating in Gblah Town north of Bahn City, Zoe-Geh District’s Provincial Capital in Nimba County where he had prepared 40 out of the 100 acres of land for the purpose of producing palm oil for laundry soap making, etc. The 40 acres are expected to be harvested by December this year.

When the production gets going, according to Mr. Dahn, he will consult his farm manager, Morris Winpea, so that they could concentrate from the initial stage in the areas of palm oil for consumption and general soap making as the mill installed for the purpose is purchased from the local market.

The project, he said, is just about helping the rural dwellers so that together most of the residents could benefit from the harvest, adding that it could help the community by providing some of the basic social services including building of clinics and sometimes vocational training center as the Government could not do all with its limited resources.

According to Mr. Dahn, when the milling machine starts to operate, it is expected to produce at least 10 tons of fresh palm oil a day.

“The downward trend in oil palm production has also given me confidence and the muscles to employ six persons, but with many other contractors, that would find strategic solution aimed at empowering the locals to also get back to the soil to own farms and stop depending on Government for subsidy,” Mr. Dahn stated.

According to him, the idea to establish the farm was born in 2000 and since that time, most of the palms planted on the farm are now nearly ready for production. “I have installed the processing machine for the necessary production of oil here,” he said.

Mr. Dahn, who commended another son of Nimba, Prince Myers, for his continued encouragement, said he had spent a little over US$40,000 since the farm was established in 2000 to present.
With his college education, Mr. Dahn, an accountant by profession, formerly worked in Liberia as personnel manager of a logging company. He further explained that while in the States for most part of 20 years, he ran a private transport system and later got involved in income tax services, “out of which, I earned a good living, but we have to come and help our people as well.”

The Daily Observer


We can sometimes focus too narrowly on our home on our nation on West Africa.  While doing some research on Rural Development we stumbled across the most amazing model for success.  It is from our brothers and sisters to the east.  Once upon a time Uganda was referred to as the Pearl of the African continent.  Certainly some of the luster was spoiled through events of the recent past.  But the people can not be kept down.  We found a rare Pearl of great worth in the field of transformative rural development training.  So marvelous we had to share.

From the grass roots up The Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT) is an indigenous civil society organization located in the Kibaale District in Uganda.

Please note the geography.  This program is far from Uganda’s capitol.  URDT is located in the small town of Kagadi in the Kibaale District, about 180 miles northwest of Kampala. From the beginning in 1987, the founders were not looking for the easy thing, but rather as they say, “the toughest challenges”  They settled on he Kibaale District would be ideal because it offered a combination of the toughest development challenges:

High infant mortality, high maternal morbidity, low literacy levels and rampant poverty.
The three counties in the Kibaale District were so-called “lost counties” that had suffered a century of neglect because of disputes over land titles and governance.
The district was multi-ethnic, with more than ten tribes making up the population of 416,000.
The district was very rural, with poor roads, no electricity or phones.
There were no NGOs, except for churches.

For twenty years they have experimented in “visionary” rural development methodology, building its rural development program in a demand-driven way, working collaboratively with communities to determine their needs and priorities.

URDT’s mission is to facilitate self-generated development in rural communities. URDT delivers on this mission by combining development projects with education and training so that skills and knowledge remain resident with people as they organically change the quality of their lives.

Follow this link for more on the URDT: http://www.urdt.net/default.html

We could use this in Liberia.  EarlyBird endorses the URDT model for rural training and development


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