The Executive Director of a local Liberian Civil Society Organization (CSO) known as Forest Cry Liberia (FCL) Inc., Mr. Dickson J. Chowolo has challenged Liberian journalists to monitor and robustly report on the activities of CSOs here.
The FCL boss made the suggestion in Paynesville on 5 March at the end of a two-day CSO-Government Policy and Planning Dialogue Platform intended to strengthen the advocacy and build strong partnerships of communities and civil society to establish “CSO-Government Policy and Planning Dialogue Platform.
He disclosed that in order for local CSO groups to perform in administering financial grants provided by international partners for specific advocacy work in the country, the media must double up by policing the work of CSOs to enable them to perform properly.
He also expressed the hope that the government and logging companies that are indebted to the locals in terms of forest benefits would pay money owed the locals to enable them to undertake development programs in their areas.
Mr. Chowolo observed that the failure of logging companies, some of which have seized to operate and those presently operating in the country to pay the communities its share of the forest benefit has caused a serious setback to the development of several local communities.
According to Mr. Chowolo, he wants the management of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) to re-introduce tree planting which was done in the past to ensure that essential trees are processed for future planting purposes across the country.
The FCL executive director then wonders why the people of the country are suffering in the face of sufficient resources that God has blessed the country with, stressing that Liberians should start to venture in other areas of business to improve their lives then to continue to depend on handouts.
He notes the FCL has a plan to travel to other parts of the country to undertake meaningful development programs that would reduce the suffering of the rural dwellers, most of whom do not have the opportunity to develop their lives because of lack of support.
The two-day dialogue platform brought together several speakers who presented lectures on several topics such as Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and Responsible Institutions and Their Impacts and Achievements to Liberia by Prof. Ben Karmorh from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Other presentations included CSOs Accessing Fund from the Green Climate Fund and other Funds from Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), Government Policy as it relates to service provision to communities and citizenry by Atty. Patrice Weah; and Government relationship with CSOs in Advocacy as it relates to service provision, among others.The dialogue platform was sponsored by Global Environmental Facility or GEF with financial source provided through the GEF Small Grants Programs.
In remarks, a female representative from the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) assured Mr. Chowolo of the FDA’s preparedness to strengthen and cooperatively work along with the FCL in ensuring that the local people receive whatsoever financial entitlement due their communities by the government and logging companies.
Meanwhile, the participants were admonished to venture in swamp cultivation, snail, fish farming, Guinea fowl, and duck projects, among others.By Emmanuel Mondaye—Edited by Winston W. Parley