The Center for Justice and Peace Studies (CJPS), with support from FORUM-SYD Liberia has successfully ended a six – month project titled “Promoting Civil Engagement and Democratic Governance for Sustainable Development.”
Speaking to NewDawn –Liberia over the weekend in Zeansue at the end of the project, an official of CJPS Mr. Victor S.B. Gbelee noted that the process was meant to improve civil engagement among citizens of the county.Mr. Gbelee recounts that the project affected three thematic areas, including gender – based violence, land rights and the Local Governance Act, respectively.
According to Mr. Gbelee, CJPS’ just – ended project focused on nine communities in three of Bong County’s 13 administrative districts, which are Jorquelleh, Yellequelleh and Zota.
“For Zota District, the project targeted Belefanai, Gbalatuah, and Kollie-Ta. In Jorquelleh District, Brooklyn, LMPC, Beletanla and Foloblai [were targeted] and for Yellequelleh District, we had Zeansue, Vicnetolee and Taylor-Ta”, Gbelee adds.
He explains that local leaders were also trained on how to engage duty bearers and conflict mitigation among them without court intervention.Mr. Gbelee further narrates that the program educated females about decision – making processes and violence against women.
For their part, citizens and members of the dialogue committees in the nine communities thanked CJPS for fruitfully concluding the program in Bong County.
The inhabitants told journalists that since the arrival of CJPS in their communities, land conflicts, gender – based violence and other related conflicts have drastically reduced.
They however appeal to FORUM-SYD Liberia and other well-meaning international donors to provide additional support to CJPS for the overall improvement of Liberia.
‘Since this great institution came in our towns, we are not taking the laws in our own hands anymore. We settle local cases on our own without court involvement because the dialogue committees set up by CJPS really [helping] us to resolve our differences among ourselves,” a spokesperson says on behalf of the citizens.
Our reporter who covered the closing exercise of the six months project says the participating neighborhoods were seen celebrating at the end of the transformational initiative.
The program which was launched in October – 2019 successfully came to an end on March 28, 2020 in Zeansue, Yellequelleh District, Bong County.CJPS was founded in Gbarnga, Bong County in 1998 as a peacebuilding, conflict transformation and development entity.
In 2002, the Liberian civil society institution later moved to Monrovia where security was relatively better.By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong—Edited by Winston W. Parley