News from The Informer:

 LDS Builds U.S$35,000,00 Modern School in Bong
The Informer (Monrovia)
20 April 2010
The Lutheran Development Service (LDS) in Liberia has constructed a modern school building in the Togbata Community, Zota District, Bong County to provide quality education to hundreds of students, especially the less-fortunate.

The modern elementary school was constructed at an estimated value of thirty five thousand United States dollars, inclusive of contributions from local dwellers through man power and the provision of local materials.

The School which was constructed as the result of an appeal made to the LDS by the local community, was officially dedicated on Friday, April 16, 2010 and turned over to the government of Liberia for the education of school going children in the area.

Presenting the keys to the building, the Executive Director of the Lutheran development Service (LDS) in Liberia, Mr. Joseph S. Binda said the Lutheran Church in Liberia through the LDS remains committed to working with partners aimed at buttressing efforts of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) of the Liberian government.

Mr. Binda said the LDS is a semi-autonomous Lutheran Church-related NGO that carries out highly quality holistic development programs with emphasis on grass root level development, meanly designed to help the needy and actively work to fulfill basic human needs irrespective of religion, tribe, race, origin, beliefs or political affiliation.

The LDS executive called for unity among the local dwellers, and cooperation between the locals and other organizations to foster development. According to him, development is easily achieved when the people unite their efforts with development partners.

Mr. Binda challenged the citizens and residents of Togbata to take advantage of the modern school building by prioritizing the education of their children.

Receiving the keys to the building on behalf government, the Commissioner of Zota District in Bong County, Mr. Joseph Urey described the construction of the school as timely and important to the education and empowerment of children in the area.

Com. Urey urged the parents to utilize the building by sending their children to school, if they are to remain his friends. According to him, penalty awaits parents who fail to send their children to school.

He also challenged the locals to join efforts with the school authority in maintaining the newly constructed modern school building.

Com. Urey appealed to the Lutheran Development Service to continue to assist them with the construction of additional schools to secure a brighter future for the children.

For his part, the principal of the James Togbata Public Elementary School, William T. M Togba commended LDS for the construction of the building, saying it will go a long way in addressing the educational needs of the students.

Mr. Togba assured that the building will be fully maintained, and called on the parents to champion the education of their children.

Also Speaking, a member of the LDS Board, Rev. Peter D. Kpakela praised Old man Togbata for donating the land to be used for the construction of the school, and also urged parents to prioritize the education of their children.

Rev. Kpakela who is also the Special Assistant to the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, said education remains a true transformer in preparing students for nation building.

He pledged the commitment of the Lutheran Church in Liberia to join government and other development partners to improve the welfare of the people.

Meanwhile, the dedication of the James Togbata Public Elementary School was marked by jubilation, with the citizens and residents of the District commending the LDS for the many development programs.

The Lutheran Development Service (LDS) in Liberia is a Lutheran Church-related semi autonomous non-governmental Organization established in January of 2002.

LDS has four thematic areas of operations to include; Agriculture and Food Security, Infrastructure Construction and Rehabilitation, Micro-Finance for Empowerment, and Capacity Building/Skill Training.

Copyright © 2010 The Informer. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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News from The Informer (Monrovia)

Liberia: 10,000 to Benefit From New Clinic in Kokoya District
D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh
7 April 2010

The Kokoya Administrative District, Bong County, is poised to host a modern clinic that will serve at least 10,000 people for the first time in the district’s history.

Thousands of Liberians living in the district do not have any health facilities to run to during emergencies or when they get sick.

Scores of them die from common curable diseases, not to mention women who die from labor.

The district has never have a health facility and people in need of medication have to hike for at least 25 to 30 kilometer to see a nurse, physician assistant or a medical doctor.

Those who are too old or have no relative to cater to them are left to die in their homes, when they get sick or when traditional herbs fail to heal them, an elderly residents claim.

However, the malady will soon be over, bringing smiles on the faces of the people, when the Rock Crusher Clinic is built and open for service few months hence.

Being constructed at the cost of a little over US$71,000, the Clinic will contain eight rooms for screening, consulting, testing and lab, among others.

It is being built with the County Development Fund as injected in the Bong’s County Development Agenda, the County’s health program and as part of the Millennium Development Village project, officials say.

Touring the recently on a two-day visit to the county, the Deputy Coordinator of the Liberia Reconstruction Development Committee (LRDC), James Kollie, expressed delight.

Mr. Kollie described the project as a “positive step” towards meeting the health needs of the people and realizing the goals of the CDA.

As part of decentralizing development, each county, under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government has its listed development priories – the CDA, as desired by the people themselves.

Mr. Kollie and officials of the LRDC – a bureau seated in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs responsible to monitor implementation of the PRS – initiated the tour and meetings to evaluate the impacts of the CDF on the people of Bong.

Besides, the visit which took the team to Rock Crusher was also intended to identify challenges in implementing projects under the CDF, and to get feedback from the people on what should be done in the next planning stage that will ward off most of the challenges currently being experienced.

“The construction of this clinic and the idea behind the construction of this clinic came from the County Development Fund of the Kokoya District development action plan,” Mr. Francis Kempeh, a UNDP county development consultant assigned at the Liberia’s Millennium Village project in Kokoya District, said.

“It is indeed a priority by the community…they have been cooperating with the workers and we hope that they can take ownership of it,” Kempeh, who lead the LRDC delegation to the site, disclosed.

Construction started last October and will be completed in the next couple of months.

“There is no clinic or health facility around here. People get health services about 25 to 30 kilometer away, and the construction of this clinic here will bring great relief to thousands of people,” the UNDP consultant said.

There are three administrative districts (Boinsen, Tukpahblee and Kokoya) in Kokoya Statutory District, with a population of 22, 826, according to the 2008 National Housing and Population Census.

Both Boinsen and Tukpahblee have health facilities. With the completion of the one under construction in Rock Crusher, the statutory district will have been at least served with some level of health care delivery.

The development would be registered as a score under the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) – the Government’s overall vision and major strategies for moving toward rapid, inclusive and sustainable growth and development during the period 2008-2011.

The PRS is being implemented between April 1, 2008 and June 30, 2011 at the cost of $1.61bn with four major pillars including enhancing Peace and National Security, Governance and the Rule of Law, Economic Revitalization and Rehabilitation of Infrastructures and Delivery of Basic Social Services.

Health care and delivery is under the fourth pillar: Rehabilitation of Infrastructures and Delivery of Basic Social Services. Contact: 231 6 586 531; dakasen1978@yahoo.com.

Copyright © 2010 The Informer. All rights reserved.

Sorry… I’m a day late with this:

Surce: STAR Radio Date: 01 Mar 2010

 Written by Clarence Jackson

The Acting Medical Director of Phebe Hospital in Bong County Dr. Sampson Azu-Akoi has declared a medical emergency in the County. Dr. Azu- Akoi said the medical emergency is a result of the outbreak of measles, laser fever and whooping cough in the central regional County. He said several districts including Jorquelleh, Suakoko, Kokoyah and Zota have been affected. Dr. Azu-Akoi attributed the outbreak to the failure of parents in the area to carry their children for vaccination. The Health Ministry last week confirmed an increase in measles cases in several parts of Liberia and said a vaccination campaign was ongoing. Dr. Azu -Akoi called for more resources to increase the coverage of the vaccination campaign to avoid the spread of the disease to other districts.

With the exception of public UN sources, reproduction or redistribution of the above text, in whole, part or in any form, requires the prior consent of the original source.

The opinions expressed in the documents carried by this site are those of the authors and are not necessarily shared by UN OCHA or ReliefWeb.

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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From Star Radio, today…..

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Six counties to benefit from USAID-funded skills training Print E-mail
Written by Matthias Daffah   
Friday, 30 October 2009
A global non-profit organization, Education Development Center has commenced operation in the country.The group is charged with the implementation of USAID-funded Core Education Skills for Liberian Youth Project.

A release issued said the program will help young people develop skills and attitudes necessary for the attainment of formal academic learning.

The release said the project will also seek to build the capacity of individuals in the informal sector.

According to the release, the two-year program will increase access to education and enhance the quality of teacher among Liberian educators.

The program will target children and young adults between the ages of ten and thirty-five.

Beneficiary counties of the CESLY’s Core Education Project include Montserrado, Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Maryland and Grand Gedeh.

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Story from the Liberian Observer Online:

Rural Women Farmers Trained in Mechanized Production
Updated: September 10, 2009 – 8:36pm

Cross-section of participants at CARI workshop for rural women
US$777,000 Earmarked for Training, Others

By: Edwin M. Fayia from Bong County
MONROVIA — The Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with several major donors as well as support partners, have begun the training for more than 74 women farmer groups in three of Liberia’s leading agriculture-oriented counties.

As a result of a negotiated grant of more than US$777,000 from the Government of Demark, the FAO and CARI have selected Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties for the training of the rural women farmers in the use of power tiller machines in order to maximize the production of the nation’s staple food, rice.

Speaking at the formal launch of the 17-day training at CARI in Suakoko, Bong County, last week, Liberia’s Acting Agriculture Minister, James Logan, urged the rural women to remain grateful to Liberian leader, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for empowering women in the country.

Logan added that as a result of the nationwide County Development Agenda, the critical issue of women in the farming sector has become a key factor. Now women are on the verge of being trained in the use of mechanized farming for the production of more food, they should indeed take center stage in that regard.

He then appealed to the participants to consider the 17-day training as crucial and take the instruction seriously in order to make the message of improved food security across the nation meaningful.

Logan also challenged the women to use the power tillers to cultivate more acres of land in their operational areas in order to ensure that more food is produced for the growth and development of the Liberian economy in the years ahead.

The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) official also reminded the gathering and the women in particular that the Liberian leader spends sleepless nights thinking about possible alternatives for the overall empowerment and support to all Liberian women across the country.

In his overview presentation, Emmanuel G. Vah, National Consultant for the FAO Liberia, intimated that the training workshop was meant to train farmers in the operation, management and maintenance of power tillers.

The agriculture project, titled “Improved Food Security and Nutrition through Economic Empowerment of Women,” was also geared towards reducing the pressure on women in rural Liberia.

“Within the framework of agriculture,” Vah disclosed, “FAO has received funding from the Danish Government and charged us with the responsibility of providing support to farm mechanization, agro-processing and farm level storage.”

The DANIDA agriculture, he explained, has a case load of 7,961 beneficiaries comprising 43 women groups in the rural women structure of Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties.

FAO Assistant Representative for Program in Liberia, Joseph K. Boiwu, pointed out that everywhere the Liberian Government and partners interacted with farmers in the country, the issue of farmers graduating from the use of cutlasses and hoes topped the list of issues for consideration.

“This is to show you that the idea to introduce power tillers in the agriculture sector at this time came from you the farmers,” he told the women.

“It is therefore our hope that you will appreciate the introduction and use of these machines to ensure food production in the country.

“Our agency being a true partner and not a donor took bold steps on behalf of the farmers regarding their interest in mechanization and agro-processing in the country,” Boiwu emphasized.

“Today, we want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Denmark for the grant that will in turn empower rural women farmers across the nation,” he said.

He added that in their initial interaction, the Danish International Development Aid (DANIDA), representatives of the donor country, expressed high interest in supporting those activities that are women-related.

“In Liberia,” he explained, “when it comes to farming, the issues of scratching farms and planting of crops as well as food processing are the responsibility of rural women in the country.

Mr. Boiwu further intimated that the FAO is indeed grateful to the major partners such as the United Nations Development Program, Ministry of Gender and Development, World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Agency for Women (UNIFEM).

He also reminded the women the ‘butter rice’ and ‘pussava’ being imported into the country come from farmers that are using the same modern machines in the cultivation and agro-processing initiatives.

“We want to urge you to please attach seriousness to this genuine agriculture initiative in Liberia,” the FAO official further admonished the rural women farmers.

In closing, Boiwu said that the FAO had been and would always be a partner of the Government and people of Liberia in food, agriculture, forestry and rural development matters.

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.
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—In-the-News—

50-million dollar contract signed in Health sector     
Written by Robert J. Clarke, Jr.    
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 
STAR RADIO

USAID and government through the Health Ministry have signed over 50 million US Dollars contracts to cater to the country’s healthcare delivery system.

USAID is the United States Agency for International Development.

The contracts are under USAID’s Rebuilding   Basic Health Services program.

USAID Mission Director Pamela White who signed for her agency said the contract would initially cover a five-year period.

Madam White told Star Radio the five year program would seek to improve operations and ensure delivery of the ministry’s basic package for health.

It would be implemented in some one hundred fourteen clinics in seven counties.

The counties include Bomi, Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, Nimba, and River Gee.

The USAID Boss said the initiative represents a critical new step in the reconstruction of the health system of Liberia that would benefit over one million people.

Deputy Health Minister Bernice Dahn who signed for government thanked USAID for the initiative.