Affected Communities in concession areas have resolved to maintain a peaceful and harmonious relationship with concession companies operating within their Counties.
Representatives from project affected areas in Sinoe and Maryland made the resolution recently during two separate training workshops organized in their respective counties under the Accessed Funding Project.
The Project is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in Liberia in partnership with the National Bureau of Concession (NBC) and the Peace building Office (PBO). It is a peace building and community cohesion project in four land conflict-prone concession sites around Liberia to include Sinoe, Maryland, Grand Cape Mount and Nimba Counties.
The workshops are part of Strengthening National Reconciliation through Improved Understanding of Conflict Drivers in Concession Areas and the Establishment of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms. The project builds upon the work undertaken by Sime Darby’s Sustainable Partnership Initiative (SPI), which brings project-affected communities (PACs), relevant government entities, civil society, development partners and concessionaires to a common platform to work through specific concerns arising from concession operations as well as framing collective agendas.
Over 60 beneficiaries drawn from 15 affected communities, the Elder and traditional Councils, Civil Society, Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET)and other local peace structures in the two counties, formed part of the training. Similar trainings are also taking place in Grand Cape Mount and Nimba Counties.
“Carrying out violence and talking behind one another will not solve the problem” says Celeste Toby of Butaw Sinoe County. Madame Toby noted that the training will help them serve as Peace Ambassadors, in restoring calm among their people. “The workshop has broadened my knowledge on peace building and conflict resolution and has helped me understand the issues between the various project- affected communities and concession companies” intimates Matthew Benson also from Butaw.
Participants also lauded the Government of Liberia, UNDP and UNMIL for the initiative and vowed to use dialogue to resolve conflict emanating from project affected communities. During the trainings, participants elected their leaderships which would be responsible to further engage Senior Management of concession companies on issues of major concern in order to avoid violent conflicts in concession areas.
The workshops are covering topics under peace-building, conflict resolution and management, land and concession, leadership, as well as gender roles and responsibilities among others.