On August 5, IDA-Liberia Country Team dispatched a delegation to organize and facilitate a meeting between local leaders, women and youth groups, CSOs and CBOs representatives in Grand Bassa County. The delegation included Program Associate, Daniel D. Boakai and National Volunteer Coordinator Musa Kamara. IDA-Liberia is currently implementing a national wide self sponsored project called Community TALK., which is a convening of citizens, policymakers, service providers, and other development stakeholders to play an influencing role in policy development, adoption and implementation. This falls under our Citizen Engagement and Policy Reform program, of critical importance to this nationwide dialogue is the issue of the 2017 general and presidential elections. Citizens are much more concerned about the pre and post elections issues and are cautious that the elections should be issues based rather than focused around personalities and selfish interests. Young people are more concerned about critical issues on national development, reconciliation, peace and security, employment, as expressed by the participants at the meeting.
The August 5 meeting was in preparation for the next Community Talk program, which is slated to be held in Buchanan City late August as agreed by all stakeholders. IDA-Liberia, view this national conversation as critical to ensuring that all Liberians participate in the 2017 general and presidential elections. Few weeks ago IDA-Liberia Executive Director, K-Raymond Da-boi launched a campaign on PREPARING FOR 2017 ELECTIONS IN LIBERIA: THE SOCIAL RESPOSNSIBILITY QUESTION – PROMOTING YOUTH PARTICIPATORY GOVERNANCE. We think it is expedient that all citizens be fully aware, and participate in such forum that creates a platform for keeping a development conversation with all parties.
Participants at the meeting came from across nine (9) different CSOs, CBOs and other institutions in Buchanan and its surrounding areas, who had been identified by IDA-LIBERIA focal person, Michael D. Kpoghomou to participate based on their level of engagement in their respective communities and thematic areas in which they are currently implementing programs and projects.
Organizations included Grand Bassa Community College (GBCC), CRL, MEAL, Grand Bassa Student Union (GBABU), Harlandsville Forum, Youth against Tribalism in Africa (YATIA), Grass Root Advocacy for Social Justice (GRASJ), Women in Development, and Grand Bass Youth Caucus (GBYC) amongst others. The meeting brought together a total of twenty (20) participants who had expressed keen interest in working with IDA-Liberia and specifically the Community Talk, which they view as a platform for positive engagement between leaders and citizens.
Making a brief remark on behalf of the organizations attending the meeting; IDA-Liberia focal person Michael D. Kpoghomou in Bassa expressed willingness on the part of CSOs and CBOs in Buchannan to closely work with IDA-Liberia and believe that such community conversation can serve as a means of informing, and educating citizens on issues affecting them and can amicability resolve or address their problems through such and other frameworks that allow youth, local leaders women and other stakeholders to peacefully engage.
He further stressed the urgent need to engage citizens and residence of Grand Bassa, policy makers, state actors, etc., on their roles and responsibility about pre and post election violence for the upcoming general and presidential elections in 2017.
On behalf of IDA –Liberia, Daniel Boakai, Program Associate reiterated the critical need for such a gathering of stakeholders, and expressed thanks and appreciation to the participants. He called on them to close ranks, rally around one another in the quest to promote citizens’ engagement, education and active participation in the electioneering processes. Daniel concluded his remarks by adding that “democracy thrives when informed, active, citizens coexist with institutions that uphold democratic tendencies and shared values”. He assured participants of IDA-Liberia’s commitment in finding alternative solutions to improving Liberia’s emerging democracy and governance system.