Sirleaf Market Fund Transformed To Liberian Organization

Some members of the SMWF, partners along with Minister Cassell in New York

The 501 © 3 tax exempt entity known as the Sirelaf Market Women’s Fund has transitioned into a new Liberian organization thereby being named as the Sustainable Market Women’s Fund (SMWF) with the outgoing president of the Liberia Marketing Association, Lusu Sloan appointed as its Executive Director.

The transformation of the initiative into an organization along with the appointment of Madam Sloan was announced at the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York thereby taking effective action as of April.

Madam Sloan takes over the new Liberian organization with a mission which states, ‘Organization is education, entrepreneurship, health and agriculture’ and its Board of Directors chaired by Olivia Shannon will be reconstituted as the governing body.

The office of the organization in Liberia has also been relocated to the Jorkpen Town Market, one of the markets initially renovated by the program. The SMWF formerly the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund was named in honor of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose grandmother was believed to be a market woman.

Reasons provided for the transformation was not clear but the Board of Directors praised the accomplishments over the last 10 years and announced that the archives of the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund were being transferred to the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, a division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University Archives.

The Board recognized the successes of the organization while named and styled the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund through the Ebola crisis for which the post-Ebola era are now been documented; getting through the crisis into literacy training and engagement of the market women as change agents in their communities towards support from the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality and the African Women’s Development Fund.

The Fund which grew out of the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality Grant, designed an innovative holistic market prototype that has been shared across the continent and adopted as the design base for the Omega Market Complex independently constructed by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. International Chapter in Liberia, Eta Beta Omega Chapter.

To date, the Board based the success stories on how the Fund was able to empower beneficiaries and give them pride in their abilities to better manage and protect their livelihoods through trainings in adult literacy and business development skills programs; establish and strengthen local to global partnerships; increase visibility and provided a variety of platforms for the voices of the market women to be heard through the media as well as being showcased at policy or partnership-making events across the continent, among other things.

Sub-Saharan Africa to benefit US$57 billion

Following a meeting with G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has announced a record $57 billion in financing for Sub-Saharan African countries over the next three fiscal years. Kim then left on a trip to Rwanda and Tanzania to emphasize the Bank Group’s support for the entire region.

According to a press release, bulk of the financing of $45 billion will come from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.

The financing for Sub-Saharan Africa also will include an estimated $8 billion in private sector investments from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a private sector arm of the Bank Group, and $4 billion in financing from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, its non-concessional public sector arm.

The release says in December, development partners agreed to a record $75 billion for IDA, a dramatic increase based on an innovative move to blend donor contributions to IDA with World Bank Group internal resources, and with funds raised through capital markets.

Sixty percent of the IDA financing is expected to go to Sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than half of the countries eligible for IDA financing. This funding is available for the period known as IDA18, which runs from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2020, according to the World Bank Group.

“This represents an unprecedented opportunity to change the development trajectory of the countries in the region,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “With this commitment, we will work with our clients to substantially expand programs in education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate, infrastructure, and institutional reform.”

The IDA financing for operations in Africa will be critical to addressing roadblocks that prevent the region from reaching its potential. To support countries’ development priorities, scaled-up investments will focus on tackling conflict, fragility, and violence; building resilience to crises including forced displacement, climate change, and pandemics; and reducing gender inequality. Efforts will also promote governance and institution building, as well as jobs and economic transformation.

“This financing will help African countries continue to grow, create opportunities for their citizens, and build resilience to shocks and crises,” Kim said. Dispatch

Citizens in southeastern Liberia laud gov’t

Citizens in southeastern of Liberia, including Sinoe, Grand Kru, River Gee, and Maryland Counties, respectively have lauded the Unity Party-led government for its tireless efforts in responding to the plight of the general population.

According to them, government plays a major role in the maintenance of the peace that every Liberian enjoys today, and stressed the need for Liberians to work in one accord to sustain peace and achieve development.

Speaking on Monday, March 20, via mobile on UN MIL Radio from Greenville, Sinoe County, the Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Administration, Varney Sirleaf narrated that citizens in

the southeastern region made the commendation when they welcome President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is currently touring the region.

Minister Sirleaf said the essence of the President’s visit to the southeastern is to express appreciation to the people for their contribution to the sustainability of peace after the violent protest at Golden Veroleum Liberia in Sinoe.

He said the people of Sinoe County gathered in a jubilant mood to receive President Sirleaf as she began her tour with a stop in the county to commend the citizens.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister pointed out that citizens have also commended President Sirleaf for taking government directly to the people, noting that they were excited about services being directly giving to the people in various counties across the country.

“When we got here, what they told us was they now feel the impact of the government by the establishment of the county service centers, and against this the Office of the President has provided two hundred thousand Liberian dollars (LRD200,000) to bring rest of the counties on board with service centers”, Deputy Minister Sirleaf added.

According to him, the only major challenge that needs to be addressed for the people of the southeastern region is poor road condition.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Liberty Party’s 2017 ticket

Presidential hopeful Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the opposition Liberty Party has chosen his running mate for the 10 October elections from votes-rich Nimba County. Brumskine over the weekend picked ex-managing director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA)and native of Nimba, Harrison Kanwea, as his vice standard running mate, ending anxiety and speculations here, who the twice defeated presidential candidate would choose as running mate.

All eyes had been on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s campaign manager for Montserrado County during the 2011 elections, Musa Hassan Bility, who resigned from the governing Unity Party late last year and joined the Liberty Party.

Both Bility and Kanwea hail from Nimba, the second largest populated county after Montserrado. At a colorful ceremony characterized by singing and dancing, performance of mask dancers and strong battle cries from LP youth wing in the historic city of Sanniqullie, Nimba County, Cllr. Brumskine eventually announced Kanwea as his running mate.

He had constituted a special committee to search for the politician who should become vice standard bearer of the LP, and after two months of search, the committee arrived at Kanwea, a man considered a strong challenger to Senator Prince Yormie Johnson of the newly organized Movement for Reconstruction and Democracy or MDR.

According to Brunskine, the decision of the special committee to have recommended Mr. Kanwea is in the best interest of the party and the country at large. “Two months ago, we appointed a special committee to recommend a vice running mate and I think that Mr. Kanwea is the best person that can fill the gap with honesty, dedication and commitment to the process. I think with the coming on board of Mr. Kanwea, Liberty Party can rest assure that we can move the party and win this elections,” the rather optimistic LP leader said.

He noted that there were other names that have similar characters like Mr. Kanwea, but the deal is one at a time and for now,Kanwea is adequately suited to serve the Liberty Party in the capacity as vice running mate.

Mr. Kanwea is believed to have a strong political base in Nimba County, particularly amongst the Gioethnic tribe, where Senator Prince Johnson, also a presidential hoprful in this year's election is regarded as a political 'godfather'.

Kanwea’s selection by Brumskine could dilute the political dominance of Senator PYJ, who has won two senatorial elections in Nimba besides becoming kingmaker for the presidency during the 2011 runoff presidential elections.

Many are predicting a 'dogfight' between the Liberty Party and Johnson's Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction over the Nimba votes. Meanwhile, Mr. Kanwea has expressed appreciation for the preferment and promised to work tirelessly in ensuring that the Liberty Party becomes victorious at the polls in October and subsequently an LP-led government is inaugurated in January 2018 with him as Vice President of the Republic of Liberia.

With the pick of a running mate, the Liberty Party now joins the Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC as the two parties that have name standard bearers and vice standard bearers, respectively.

All eyes seem set on the governing Unity Party standard bearer, Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai, who amid mounting speculations, is yet to pick a running mate, preferring to play the card close to his chest.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Upper Bong registers 112,558 citizens

The National Elections Commission’s office in upper Bong County has released preliminary result for the just-ended Voter Registration exercise. Upper Bong NEC Magistrate Daniel Newland in a press conference over the weekend said, total registrants during the VR process were (112,558) one hundred twelve thousand five hundred fifty eight.

Magistrate Newland said, though there were challenges at the beginning, the process was successful. He praised partners, who contributed to the success of the VR exercise.

However, he reminded the public that the figure is subject to change, adding that it will be sorted out. The upper Bong Magistrate said there are some people who might have registered twice or some mistakes might have been made by NEC workers.

Upper Bong under the National Elections Commission contains four electoral districts, including district one and district four. The NEC extended the VR process by a week after the February 1 to March 7, 2017 period ended, to enable more citizens to register in order to obtain valid voting cards ahead of October 10th elections.

By Papa Morris from Bong-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Gbarnga Mayor brushes predecessor

Gbarnga City Mayor Viola Cooper has brushed aside comments made against her by her predecessor Marvin Cole, saying she is not worried by Cole’s criticism. Recently former Mayor Marvin Cole said it was an absolute disgrace to education for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to replace him by Madam Cooper, who is not educated.

But Madam Cooper told reporters that her attention will not be drawn to such comment, adding that she is focused on putting system in place at the Gbarnga City Corporation to improve the condition of the city.

Mayor Cooper said though Marvin Cole has also insulted marketers in the county, he must remember his background as a person who came from an impoverished home. She said people should be proud of her in the county, maintaining that she is not uneducated as claimed by Mr. Cole.

Madam Cooper has promised not to follow the same direction of her predecessor by ranting insulting, and called on Mr. Cole to be respectful to others. Meanwhile, Mayor Cooper has admonished those having lease agreement with the Gbarnga City Corporation to report and make their agreements official. According to the City Mayor, lots of people,who do not have any lease agreement with the institution, are occupying GCC’s properties.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Julie Endee commands Liberians

The executive director for the Liberia Crusader for Peace, Ambassador Julie Endee has thanked Liberians for participating in a peaceful and successful voter registration process.

The Culture Ambassador toured various communities over the weekend in Monrovia and its environs, thanking residents and providing them gifts. She also visited the Christian Association for the Blind along the Roberts field highway in Margibi County and commended visually impaired people there for exercising patriotism during the exercise.

She said Liberians have enjoyed peace for over ten years and they should appreciate it by remaining peaceful as the nation goes to elections this year.  Amb. Endee explained that the Liberia Crusaders for Peace prioritized the Voter Registration process by touring all 15 counties to encourage Liberians to register.

She thanked Mr. Beyan Korta and his family for making a significant impact in the lives of the fellow compatriots, especially those under his direct care, noting that though they are visually impaired, God gives them a special gift to inspire others.
She then presented some food items, toys for the children and cash to the association.
Receiving the items, Mr. Korta expressed appreciation to the Ambassador for taking up time to thank them for being a part of the voter registration process.
He appealed to the Culture Ambassador to include children of the Christian Association of the Blind in her programs.

Ambassador Endee also visited residents West Point Township along UN Drive and appreciated them by distributing food, toys and cash among the residents. She also gave out prizes, including phone, flat screen high definition television, and generator, among others to children, who participated in a spelling contest.

The Crusaders executive also visited Doe Community in Clara Town and the Liberia International Islamic School System along Somalia Drive where she was greeted by members of the Muslim Community.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Don’t vote on party line

An aspirant for Montserrado County Electoral District #17 Seat is calling on residents of the district to desist from electing people based on party lines, noting many districts in Montserrado suffered bad leadership as a result of voting on party lines.

“We must remember and bear in minds that voting on party lines put our district to where it is today, and if we want development, and change to come then we shouldn’t make the same mistake that was made in 2005, and 2011 by voting on party lines”, said Madam McLeod Eleanor TurkettDarpoh.

The aspirant told residents on Friday, March 17, during a petitioning program that the outcome of the October polls will mark a new direction for development in the district.

A group of residents petitioned Madam Darpoh to contest the upcoming legislative and presidential elections.
Reading the petition, a resident of Virginia community, Alfred Doe said, “We the residents of this district which include Royesville, Cheesemanburg, Millsburg, Clay-Ashland, Arthington, Virginia, and Brewerville Communities hereby petition you to contest for the post of representative in this district”.

Mr. Doe said the residents met, examined and accepted the aspirant to contest for the district’s seat because she possesses qualities, attributes, passion and ability to transform their lives.

He said their decision was based on current inadequate representation of district 17th and lack of interest in the district by the incumbent lawmaker.

“we believe that the 2017 election is dawn of a new day for leading a new way, and therefore district 17 must lead this new era for a new kind of leadership in Liberia, it is against this backdrop that this huge crowd has thought it wise to petition this unique daughter of this district.”

Accepting the petition, Madam Darpoh promised to work in the interest of the district and its people saying, “We will follow the development aspiration of each communities and will by no means be an absentee leader, but we will work as a team because the definition we attach to the world today is T-Together, E-Everyone, A-Achieves, M-More, working together to ensure you have the opportunity to hold me accountable as your leader”.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Liberia to Seek Election to International Maritime Council

Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization, Ambassador Isaac W. Jackson Jr. has announced the country’s intention of seeking re-election as a Category C Member of the International Maritime Council.

Ambassador Jackson made the declaration at a Friday meeting with the Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim in London.  Amb. Jackson said this ambition is a further expression of Liberia’s commitment to the global partnership that works towards a safe and collaborative environment for the development of the Maritime industry.

Ambassador Jackson recalled Liberia’s active role from the formation of the IMO back in 1959, noting that as a traditional leader in the global maritime infrastructure, Liberia will remain steadfast in contributing in whatever way to strengthen the sector and increase its value in the world.

Jackson appreciated the significant benefits that the maritime sector brings to Liberia, especially through trading vessels that call daily at Liberia’s ports, as well as training opportunities through the Integrated Technical Co-operation Program (ITCP) towards attaining uniform global technical standards.

Jackson expressed hope that working together in pursuance of IMO’s mandate, they will succeed in making the maritime industry more sustainable, safer and more responsive to changing security, technological and environmental approaches.

Ambassador Jackson also conveyed the kindest regards of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the people of Liberia, and added that his appointment has a global outreach, and a further indication of the Government’s continued determination to collaborate with other Member States and the Secretariat.

For his part, the Secretary-General of the IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, expressed satisfaction for the high quality standards being used in the management of the Liberian maritime program, stating that said standard was contributing to maritime safety in the world. He then praised Liberia’s representation at the IMO, describing it as outstanding.
He concluded by saying that Liberia has a rich maritime history and as such, he was looking forward to working with its new Permanent Representative.

Ambassador Jackson was accompanied to the meeting by the Alternate Permanent Representative Mr. Harry T. Conway; Senior Advisor, Dr Gustav Barnard and Minister Counselor for Press & Public Affairs, Mr. Albert Jaja.

Brumskine fights back

The political leader of opposition Liberty Party or LP, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine has launched an attack against ruling Unity Party or UP standard bearer Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and those he considers as surrogates.

Reading an 11 page document on Thursday, 16 March in Monrovia, Cllr. Brumskine claimed that while he was in the United States, he heard from surrogates of other presidential aspirants, including surrogates of Vice President Boakai alleging that the LP was being supported by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Cllr. Brumskine says the LP has decided not to respond to such claims, knowing that it was designed to distract from the important issue of who is most prepared to lead Liberia.

But Cllr. Brumskine says he is constrained to respond to the accusation against his party on grounds that it has been reiterated by Vice President Boakai. He said in his statement that for the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the government has proposed to give the office of VP Boakai US$2,394,287; while for the current fiscal year 2016-2017, the government gave VP Boakai office US$2, 193759, and fiscal year 2015-2016, the government gave the VP office US$2,313,094.

He claims that VP Boakai allegedly received US$1,828,091 in 2014-2015, while Ebola was raging and killing people in Lofa; and that the VP has over the last three years received US$8,729,231.

Cllr. Brumskine further alleges that VP Boakai received nearly US$9 million from the 2014 fiscal budget, while the total spending on health institutions in Lofa for the same three year period was only US$3,406,881.

Cllr. Brumskine says claims that the LP was supported by President Sirleaf was totally false, adding that there was no iota of truth to the insinuation of the Vice President. The LP political leader has argued that President Sirleaf has not given his party any support in cash or kind, though he says it appears that the LP is better financed now than it was in 2011.

Cllr. Brumskine says the party’s support base has been broadened, making it to have a great leadership and a clear vision of how it intends to develop Liberia. LP has demanded Vice President Boakai to come out and tell Liberians where President Sirleaf is supposed to get the money from to finance his (Boakai’s).

The LP says it is watching to see whether the Government of Liberia will finance the UP’s presidential campaign. “We hope that is not your intention. This is a different election Mr. Vice President, this election is about the heart and soul of our country”, Cllr. Brumskine warned. He further warned those seeking political offices to stop trying to bring division to the country again, suggesting that the peace that the country enjoys today was kept by Liberians since 2003.
E.J. Nathaniel Daybor--Editing by Winston W. Parley

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