Critically Monitoring NGO Activities Nationwide for Impact-making Results, Not Mere Reports
The Executive Pavilion in Monrovia recently hosted the First Annual Non-Governmental Organization Fair. The center of attraction of the NGO Fair, which brought together about nine hundred local and international organizations to showcase their activities, Was the Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai. In his keynote address last Wednesday, December 4, 2013
At the Executive Pavilion downtown Monrovia, Vice President Boakai admonished NGOs to promote patriotism and the rule of law among Liberians, apart from being staunch critics of Government’s inadequacies, warning Liberians to wean themselves of any vestiges of dependency and find themselves challenged to rise to the occasion of taking full charge of their destiny, and in the words of President Sirlef “must not become overly aid- dependent and become perpetual wards of the donor community.”
While admonishing them, he also praised the NGOs for being indispensable partners of the reconstruction agenda and economic development of the Liberian Government, acknowledging that non-governmental organizations have been major players in promoting human-oriented development strategies, even though they needed to do more in rural Liberia by going beyond existing only on sign boards. His keynote address also reminded NGOs that the Government was firmly focused on its duty of creating and sustaining the requisite enabling atmosphere for the productive interactions between the people and the NGO community.
No matter where an individual or institution finds itself-private or public sector, local or international NGOs, the issue of patriotism cannot be compromised. It is no secret that the foundation of the growth and development of any nation is patriotism- and imbedded in such concept are love and unity in which the strength of the people lies. Perhaps, it may have been from the foregoing perspective that the Liberian Vice President cautioned the NGO community when he delivered the keynote address to them recently.
While it may not be too fair to fully take NGOs, especially Liberian NGOs to task for the way they work/operate( mainly in Rural Liberia), it is also important and in their own interest, to remind them about their responsibilities in buttressing government’s development drive, especially psycho-social development. Even though Liberian and international NGOs have tried their best, especially at the time our country was emerging out of the ashes of wanton destruction and deaths, the need to re-emphasize to Liberians who find themselves at the top of control in these organizations that patriotism is the key to unity and development must be stressed so as to have them get away from their selfishness. If one did an investigation-something a few people may have already done, the outcome may only be “sign boards and inflated reports” to donors without any practical impact.
In as much we do agree with Vice President Boakai that BGOs must team up with the Government to provide social support in critical areas and move beyond being mere voice of the so-called down-trodden and teach the voiceless to speak again and fish for themselves, the Liberian Government must also critically monitor the activities of local and international NGOs as a way of ensuring that their operations are practically result-oriented to the well-being of those targeted, and not rely on mere and inflated reports.
However, the Vice President must be commended for ‘raising the red flag’ on these NGOs; at least such a high profile public official has raised the alarm- that shows that he, too, has been closely following the activities of NGOs, but not too satisfied. The Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs can only be urged now to redouble its efforts to ensure that these local and international NGOs conform to good humanitarian principles, other than falling prey to complacency by relying on their reports.