USAID-sponsor project, Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative or LAVI, and the Natural Resource Management Coalition have begun a validation meeting on the outcome and usage of the county and social development funds.
The one-day meeting is also on the political economy, analysis, and report with focus on the reform of the CSDF, and how it has been implemented by those who spearheaded these programs.
Addressing participants Wednesday, 25 April a local hotel in Sinkor subburb of Monrovia, the Executive Director for the Platform for Dialogue and Peace or (P4DP) and Chair of the Natural Resource Management Coalition Mr. James Shilue says his organization is a local civil society group that is working on peace and development challenges in Liberia, adding that P4DP is also coordinator of the LAVI NRM Coalition, a network of eight leading civil society organizations that are engaging challenges within the Liberian NRM Sector.
According to him, LAVI is a five-year USAID-funded project being implemented by DAI Global and the LCC, which seeks to strengthen multi-stakeholders partnership in advocating for and monitoring policies and accountability reforms in Liberia.
He Mr. Shilue continues that as the result of meticulous research conducted in Liberia during the formative stages of project interventions, the LAVI NRM Coalition determine that revenue derived from natural resources exploitation was a critical issue for majority of Liberians, so they decided to focus it programmatic activities on the natural resources management sector.
USAID LAVI Chief of Party Milica Panic says, LAVI organized the meeting to help strengthen, and advocate for human rights and policy reforms in Liberia, noting that LAVI is creating the space, and to put mechanism in place where every Liberian coukld raise their concern, including all parties – civil society and government to share their concerns and find solutions to problems.
To achieve this, LAVI has been working in two key thematic areas: national resource assessment, concessional assessment and education, in partnership with various organizations in making sure these are achieved, she says.
Accordngto her, over the last two years interventions made by LAVI NRM Coalition have amplified collective civil society advocacy and actions on NRM issues that facilitated the conduct of additional CSDF focused research and launch of countless community interventions across Liberia.
“These interventions have further confirmed thatNRM Challenges, particularly the administration of county social development funds (CSDF) is still a vexing issue with the propensity to fuel conflict and under-development.”
Meanwhile, Atty. Kanio Bai Gbala,a former representative contestant in a presentation says LAVI NRM intends to achieve three things through the validation session, saying to gather broad-base inputs from diverse CSDF stakeholders and public/ private sector actors on reforms options of the CSDF as identified in the PEA.
“to further catalyzed multi-stakeholders conversation on the importance of reforming CSDF implementation in Liberia as well as promoting the associated benefit of such reforms,
At the same time Mr. Gbala stresses need to create a networking space for inter-sectoral dialogue broadly on the NRM sector and specific ally on CSDF reforms.
The exercise which brought together officials of government, members of the 54th Liberia Legislature, county superintendents, among others, places a strong emphasis on the participation of women in the dialogue on the importance of the county social development funds, and how it had been utilized by past authorities.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne