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Robertsport Community Works is looking for an Eco-Tourism and Ecology intern to develop, formalize and promote rainforest walks in the coastal rainforest around Robertsport. A full job description is posted online at
http://www.idealist.org/if/i/en/av/Internship/147344-203.

Thanks for sending this around. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Best,
Elie Losleben
Director of Programs
Robertsport Community Works
077-339-647

CARI is so important to Liberia and beyond.  I thought I would share this article I read at Liberia Natural Resource Issues.

Biting the Hand that Feeds

Liberian Observer (http://www.liberianobserver.com)
By Anonymous
Created Jan 8 2010 – 4:45am

One of the important pillars upon which this government is constructing its Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) is by increasing production in the supply of homegrown crops heavily relied upon for daily consumption and subsistence in Liberia.

This policy is designed to increase production in the agricultural sector. Where successful, increased production will be followed by the building of adequate storage facilities, a marketing strategy and improved road conditions to facilitate rapid farm-to-market activities.

At the end of last year, the President was asked about accomplishments made in her government by her various ministries that had directly improved the lives of the people.

The President readily referred to the strides made in the agricultural sector. There were bumper crops of rice, cassava and of other food groups on which the population depends largely for consumption and for revenue generation.

It goes without saying that apart from rice, the population largely relies upon cassava. In its versatility, it can be boiled and eaten with a variety of sauces, or pounded to make fufu and dumboy. Because of our dependence on cassava as one of the staple foods of the nation, a project designed to promote the cassava industry is being carried out at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Suakoko, Bong County.

Several varieties of high yielding cassava in an area spanning 16 acres had been planted. The plan was to distribute the sticks to farmers for planting.

Mysteriously, or shall we say, mischievously, elements in Gbarnga torched the area and destroyed the nursery. Fingers are pointing to subsistence farmers, who use the slash-and-burn method to clear their farmlands.

Authorities at CARI and in Gbarnga need to establish a no-go area where squatters cannot enter; those caught within the no-go area should be held for criminal trespass.

The farmers and community dwellers in those areas bordering CARI should be made mindful that the activities of CARI are intended to improve farmers’ agriculture pursuits, and that therefore, they should be cooperating with the effort – not destroying it. Perhaps it has now become imperative for local governments to monitor and or control slash-and-burn operations.

Community dwellers must be conscious that they too have a responsibility to embrace government efforts and promote programs that are intended to make them stand on their own feet.

Any action that is counter-productive to government’s development efforts and programs is akin to biting the hand that feeds you. A continuation is interpreted as sabotage.

In carrying out its programs, government seeks community and individual cooperation in order to meet the common goal of improving life and raising standard which is the expectation of all Liberians.

Copyright Liberian Observer – All Rights Reserved. This article cannot be re-published without the expressed, written consent of the Liberian Observer. Please contact us for more information or to request publishing permission.
Editorial
Copyright 2009 | Liberian Observer Online | http://www.LiberianObserver.com

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This is out of control.

As reported from STAR Radio…

Motorcyclist crushed to death, Health Ministry jeep set ablaze in Nimba     
Written by Matthias Daffah    
Friday, 04 December 2009 
STAR RADIO

A motorcyclist died instantly when his bike collided head on with a Health Ministry Land Cruiser   jeep in Ganta, Nimba County.

The jeep which was heading for Southeastern Grand Gedeh County was trying to overtake a truck when it ran into the motorcycle.

The motorcyclist has been identified only as Sunny Boy.

According to our correspondent, a female rider also sustained serious wounds.

Our correspondent says minutes after the collision, angry crowds believed to be motorcyclists stormed the scene of the accident and set the jeep ablaze.

As the angry crowds attacked, the driver and other occupants reportedly fled into the bush for fear of their lives.

The burnt Toyota Land Cruiser jeep was reportedly loaded with medical supplies and other personal belongings.

In the News…
Lofa Business Community: Nightmare in Paradise
Daily Observer
Publication Date: November 14, 2009 – 7:14am
Updated: November 14, 2009 – 3:29pm

[photo: Madam Massa Harleyson’s Used Clothes Center in Voinjama]

Road Network: Challenges, Trends, Problems & Prospects
By:
Edwin M. Fayia III in Voinjama, Lofa County

VOINJAMA – The general consensus in the business community in Lofa County can be summed up in a simple phrase, “Nightmare in Paradise,” owing to the deplorable conditions of that county’s highways and farm-to-market roads.

The challenges of doing genuine business in Lofa County are enormous, especially as regards access to good roads to effective delivery of goods and services to end users, the citizens and residents.

Trends in the Liberian business arena have taken a positive turn with the opening of many foreign and Liberian-owned businesses in the form of small-holder enterprises and service-oriented endeavors. For example, the petroleum sector is dominated by Liberians, especially by the nation’s precious jewels, the younger generation of Liberian youth.

There is no shortage of this essential and highly needed commodity, despite the huge road network challenges in conveying it to the provincial capital of Voinjama in Lofa County, owing to the deplorable nature of the major highways and farm-to-market roads.

However, players in the petroleum sector point out that the profit margin on the commodity is small and therefore needs maximum support and economic empowerment in the form of loans and micro-finance assistance, especially to small Liberian businesses in rural Liberia.

The local petroleum dealers also intimated that the problems associated with the business ranged from trust and confidence from large foreign and Liberian business people, especially the extension of credit and delivery assistance to small businesses operating in rural Liberia.

Another crucial problem identified by the business community in Lofa was the level of insecurity posed by a suspected band of criminals that continue to terrorize and intimidate residents and businesses, hindering their operations in the seven administrative districts of the county.

As an offshoot of the road predicament, another menace that has compounded the woes of the county’s businesses is the uncontrollable hike in transport fares imposed by commercial drivers and other vital public and private transport service providers to, from and within the county.

Looking forward, however, the Lofa business community expressed optimism in the goodwill of the Liberian Government and other major stakeholders in the greater business community to foster and support Liberian businesses, through which several good policies had translated into practical and concrete instruments over the years in the country.

Notwithstanding, the Lofa business community also sounded a note of caution to the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) to graduate from the age-old way of doing everything in the nation’s capital, Monrovia, and advised that the LCC decentralize its business activities to the benefit of the rural sector of the nation.

They also advised that business organizations established in Monrovia should work out concrete modalities that will include and serve rural businessmen and women, as they are also part and parcel of the greater Liberian economy and society.

There are enterprising young men and women in rural Liberia who have, over the years, worked hard and done business with success stories in both small and large business undertakings in the country.

As banks and other financial institutions are now extending their services to the rural parts of the nation, Liberian and foreign organizations with the requisite instruments, that facilitate the socio-economic empowerment of rural Liberians, should begin to see reason to extend all of their professional services to war-affected communities in the country.

In Zorzor and Voinjama cities in Lofa County, JET Trading Corporation, specialists in building materials, has taken the bull by the horn, establishing two stores in order to reduce and ease the major transportation problem affecting rural Liberians, who continue to yearn for the reconstruction of their broken homes.

Commenting on the risk factors in rural Liberia, the Lofa business community argued that many places in Liberia have hostile and crime-prone environments that discourage potential investors and successful Liberian business people from venturing into rural Liberia.

Taking into consideration the strategic location of Lofa County, which borders Sierra Leone and Guinea-Conakry, the Lofa business community asserted the fact that prospects for fantastic and profitable trade and commerce could not be over-emphasized.

Local business women are also making a significant impact and contribution to the business climate in Voinjama City and other administrative districts in Lofa County.

“Upgrade our roads,” the business women challenged the Liberian Government and the nation’s road network stakeholders. “We will reach the deprived and market-oriented communities in Lofa County.

“Access to rural and urban markets,” the business women added, “is critical to the growth, development and progress of the Liberian economy and a sustainable livelihood for rural Liberians.”

In their closing comments, the Lofa business community noted that the rapidly expanding establishment of large and small foreign businesses was a genuine manifestation of the great prospects of doing business in north-western Liberia.
0Copyright Liberian Observer – All Rights Reserved. This article cannot be re-published without the expressed, written consent of the Liberian Observer. Please contact us for more information or to request publishing permission.

Government/community radios sign agreement

STAR RADIO

Written by Robert J. Clarke, Jr.

Thursday, 03 September 2009

Government and community radio stations across the country have signed a ten thousand five hundred US Dollars agreement. The money according to government is for the community radio stations to help with the awareness of the poverty reduction strategy.

Information Minister Dr. Lawrence Bropleh who signed on behalf of government recounted the importance of the community radio stations in the absence of a rural communications network. Dr. Bropleh described the community radios as conduits through which government can get to the people across the country.

The community radio stations under the umbrella, the Association of Community Radios, were represented by their President William Quire. Mr. Quire thanked government for the initiative and promised the money would be used for its intended purpose.

Mr. Quire recommended that a slot be allotted to community radio stations whenever the President is making a trip in or out of the country.

The ALICO President said such arrangement would enable the community radios feel a part of the mainstream of the Liberian media.

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Hayes-Mission-SirleafLiberian president dedicates rural elementary school

Posted August 9, 2009 (MONROVIA, August 09, 2009):

A newly renovated elementary school building owned and operated by Hayes Mission in Gbavon Clan, in Bomi County, has been dedicated. Performing the dedicator ceremony Saturday, August 8, in Dewoin District, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf lauded Mr. Paul Sethi, proprietor of Sethi Brothers Construction Company, for offering to help reconstruct the school. The gesture, the President noted, is one of a “good corporate citizen worthy of emulation.” A fully renovated Hayes Mission, the Liberian leader said represents the future.

During the occasion, also attended by House Speaker Alex Tyler and officials of the Ministry of Education, the President challenged the residents to make the institution self-sustainable.

The co-founder of Hayes Mission, Rev. Lois Hayes, commended the Liberian leader for her efforts to refurbish the school. He recounted the efforts of the school’s founder, the late Rev. McCarthy Hayes along with the late Mrs. Martha Johnson, mother of the Liberian leader, for their visionary roles leading to the establishment of the school.

The Hayes Mission Elementary School, established prior to Liberia’s civil conflict, was severely affected during the crisis. With oversight responsibility from its County and District Education Officers, the Ministry of Education is also providing support to the institution through the provision of school materials.

In another development, the Liberian President has been gowned as ‘Mother of the Nation’ by the Governors Council of Liberia.

Speaking at the an elaborate ceremony held in Po River, Montserrado County, the Council’s Chairman Chief Blama Gaye, cited good governance, security sector reform, rehabilitation of national infrastructure and respect for human rights, as several areas in which the Liberian leader has performed with credit since her ascendancy to the Presidency in January 2006.

The Council also cited the President’s regular interaction with ordinary Liberians, making specific reference to her regular radio program, ‘Talk with the President,’ as a concrete demonstration of her openness with the ordinary citizen.

In response, the Liberian thanked the residents for the honor. An Executive Mansion release says the President welcomed the construction of a bridge in the area by the Ministry of Public Works. She noted that with the construction of the bridge residents of Bomi County have for the first time been given an alternative route as they travel on the Clay to Suehn Mecca road. The President lauded the citizens for engaging in farming activities. She assured the Council of her continued efforts at nation-building, promising quarterly meetings with them to discuss Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy as well as other national issues facing the country.

SOURCE: Executive mansion – Monrovia

Greetings,

We are looking for an editor for this category.  If you are interested, please contact J. C. Dealy at earlybirdventures@gmail.com  Please include [UpCountry] in the subject line.  And thank you in advance for the interest.

EarlyBird.

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