It is in consideration of the above that the Initiative for Democratic Alternative (IDA) – Liberia recently launched its nationwide community discussion forum, tagged “Community Talk.” The first edition of the forum was held on Saturday, June 4, 2016 in Suakoko, Bong County. The event was organized in collaboration and partnership with the Cuttington University Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution and other local and international civil society actors (organizations) including the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) – Liberia, The Carter Center (through the auspices of the Bong County Office), and the Community Development and Research Agency (CODRA), Bong County. The event was held at the Cuttington University Main Campus, Suakoko. The one day public dialogue, which brought together fifty (50) participants including students from Cuttington University, the Bong County Technical College (BCTC), and secondary schools in and around Suakoko was themed “Youth, Political Participation and Decision Making” and sub-themed: “Preparing for 2017 Elections in Liberia: the Social Responsibility Question – Promoting Youth Participatory Governance.” Essentially, the Suakoko Community Dialogue was geared toward strengthening the participation of young women and young men, mostly student leaders, in political decision making and governance processes in their schools and at the communities, to enhance their skills to prepare them for creating massive civic awareness on the electioneering processes, and most specifically equip them with the knowledge they need to serve as peer educators in educating and helping other young people to make informed political choices.
In his concluding statement, Mr. Da-boi asserted that “by and through Community Talk,” IDA-Liberia envisions a process of creating and facilitating a platform for active citizens’ involvement in the creation of new context specific knowledge that highlight local content and realisms, and formulation and implementation of policies at various levels. He cautioned that “civil society actors who are facilitating these processes should be knowledgeable of the issues and dynamics involved in these processes,” so they would be more apt to offer cutting-edge solutions in addressing the gaps through effective advocacy and to be able to learn and integrate new ideas and methods so as to improve on their services.