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Editorial: The USAID’s US$1.5m grant is a significant effort

The launch of a grant totaling US$1.5 million by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Liberia under its civil society activity for 18 Liberian Civil Society Organizations to advocate for policy reforms in health, education, and governance is both laudable and a significant intervention in the key sectors named.

The grant also demonstrates the Government of the United States’ commitment thru her taxpayers, to, despite public sector mismanagement of several U.S. government-funded projects, continue helping the Government and people of Liberia to mitigate challenges faced in these sectors that have negatively impacted growth and development in the country.

The partnership with Liberian CSOs further strengthens already existing historic ties between the governments and peoples of both countries that dates as far back as the 18th century.     

The deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy Monrovia, Joel Maybury, who launched the program here on Tuesday, June 27, quotes President Biden as describing civil society as the lifeblood of democracy because it comprises the collective action of ordinary people to meet citizens’ needs.

The grant, according to USAID Liberia Civil Society Activity, will enable civil society organizations to advocate for improvement in education and health in six counties namely; Montserrado, Nimba, Lofa, Margibi, Bong and Grand Bassa.

This is clearly a strategy by the American government to directly partner with ordinary Liberians to improve their own wellbeing rather than going thru bureaucratic and sometimes conflicting or selfish priorities that don’t achieve the desired results, as was reported in Kakata, Margibi county recently when U.S. government’s funds earmarked for health program was allegedly misappropriated.

We urge Civil Society Organizations selected for the advocacy to execute their respective duties with utmost dedication and transparency to continuously maintain the trust of the American people, as historic partners in Liberia’s forward march.

Liberia is faced with serious health and education challenges that are squarely governance issues. Well-defined strategies and programs implemented by transparent and accountable institutions could address these hindrances.      

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As Mr. Maybury noted during the launch, Civil Society Organizations benefiting from the grant played pivotal roles in shaping and leading outreach and awareness campaigns that were so essential in helping Liberia survive and overcome the worst of Ebola and COVID-19.

We encourage them to remain on this path so that expected outcomes from these sectors will be achieved with tangible impacts on the lives of ordinary people they are intended for. Doing so could attract funding for other equally challenged sectors of our public structure.

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