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Japan, UNDP to strengthen Poor, weak Governance deficits in Cape Mount County

Jos Garneo Cephas-Development Journalist
A general pose of the participants during the Grand Cape Mount County
A general pose of the participants during the Grand Cape Mount County

MONROVIA-LIBERIA-The Platform for Dialogue and Peace in Liberia (P4DP) recently launched a project aims at examining the underlying causee for the weak and poor governance strucyure in  Grand Cape Mount County.

The project with theme; “Supporting and Strengthening Sub-regional post-Ebola Medical Surveillance and Socio-Economic Recovery Initiatives in West Africa project”,especially considered border communities with the goal of designing measures to tackle structural deficits and manifestations.

Funded by the People of Japan through UNDP, the project started implementing the Liberian version of its program few months ago with a mapping exercise in three districts in Grand Cape Mount County, namely (Tewor, Commonwealth and Garwula).

The fuding is also to identify existing local structures and develop appropriate framework to assess capacity of governance systems and the status of local traditional governance systems.

The exercise which took place from 24th-27th May, 2017, was followed by a participatory study that brought together diverse stakeholders including security personnel, traditional authorities, local government representatives, women groups, youth, business people and people with disabilities.

Stakeholders acknowledged that there are governing structures in place but they have serious deficits and lack financial, institutional and technical support. As such, border communities are prone to slippages and vulnerable to internal and external penetrations.

This assertion resonates with some of P4DP’s study that disclose the lack of information sharing poses challenge to peace and good governance in the border region.

The study also noted that the porosity of borders and lack of effective regulations continue to facilitate cross-border activities and criminals exploit common ethnic and social ties shared by border residents thus needing better collaboration between security guards and local community people to mitigate conflict and violence.

The Executive Director of P4DP, James Shilue, earlier in an interview with said: “For Liberia, it seems challenging for security apparatus to identify who is from which frontier of either country because of seminar tribes, dialects and cultural similarities”.

Mr. Shilue said research also identifies porosity along the borders and the lack of coordination between the local leaders and the security actors was causing insecurity and slowing socio-economic dynamism in local governance. 

Another aspect he noted is that traditional, religious and political interferences in the workings of the security by community dwellers are impeding security functions.

Some participants in an exclusive program after the training sections

Based on findings from the study and in an effort to enhance Public Civic Education and Engagement, P4DP in collaboration with UNDP organized four day Multi stake-Holders training workshops entitled “Conflict Prevention & Mitigation and Local Stake Holders and Citizens responsibilities in the maintenance of peace”.

Welcoming participants at the opening training in Bo Water Side, District Commissioner Hon. Magdaline H. Fahnbullah encouraged residents to be open minded and admonished women to follow the training with seriousness by sharing things that concern them and their communities.

“If pace is in the homes of women, the communities will be peaceful and by extension the society gets peaceful”, Commissioner Fahnbullah asserted.

The well attended trainings brought together more than 80 community leaders, including chiefs, elders, women and youth leaders, physically challenged, local government personnel, security personnel, and local business leaders in Vonzua and Bo Water Side, respectively.

At the various trainings, participants discussed and validated findings from the study but also gained knowledge on Leadership, Conflict prevention and Mediation strategies.

The workshop made participants to realize that there is a need for collaborative action. According to one participant “there is a need to work together with our security people to make our community safe”.  

Participants then agreed overwhelmingly to establish fora for dialogue on contentious issues and engage P4DP to help set up and provide direct link to Early Warning as well undertake measures to reconcile their people locally than looking outside for help.

The Manager of the project, Mr. Woloplee Marwolo, assured participants that the project has the responsibility to train and strength the already shortfall identified in the local governance structure.

Findings from the study and deliberations from the workshops are now being translated to drama and will shortly be aired by both Radio Cape Mount and MANWOPNET as part of the outreach and conflict mediation strategy.


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