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GeneralLiberia news

USAID Liberia provides US$1.5m to 18 CSOs

By Lewis S. Teh

The United States Government through USAID Liberia’s civil society activity (CSA) has provided a grant totaling US$1.5 million to 18 Civil Society Organizations here, with each of them expected to receive US$75,000 to advocate for policy reforms in health, education, and governance sectors.

Making remarks at the official launch of the program on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, in Congo Town, outside Monrovia, the deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy Monrovia, Joel Maybury, said he was honored to have joined prominent individuals to celebrate the robust partnerships that USAID’s Civil Society Activity has developed with 18 local organizations working to improve the lives of Liberians.

“President Biden has called civil society the lifeblood of democracy because it comprises the collective action of ordinary people to meet citizens’ needs”, Ambassador Maybury said.

He notes that civil society keeps citizens informed, while holding government accountable, defending rights, and delivering essential services, adding that all of these contributions create more resilient, equitable, and prosperous societies. 

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

Over the years, Liberia’s diverse array of civil society organizations has been instrumental in helping Liberia survive many crises.  Local organizations – some famously led by women – succeeded in pressuring warlords and warring factions to end Liberia’s brutal civil war, he adds.

Mr. Maybury also narrates that those organizations benefiting from the grant played pivotal roles in shaping and leading the outreach and awareness campaigns that were so essential in helping Liberia survive and overcome the worst of Ebola and COVID-19.

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He further reveals that Liberian civil society organizations have also made incredible contributions to society when crises were not looming, citing examples, where they played a key role in the passage of the Local Government Act of 2018 and Revenue Sharing Law, two landmark pieces of legislation that decentralize governance powers.

He says every day, civil society advances citizen priorities, addresses unmet needs, and engages constructively with leaders to bring about needed reforms. 

The U.S. deputy chief of mission, says the United States Government is proud to contribute to this impressive record of achievement through USAID’s Civil Society Activity and highlights work of two partners – FIND and DELTA, noting that with USAID funding, they played an important role in the establishment of the Bong County Council, the very first elected County Council in Liberia.

The chief of party for the USAID Liberia CSA, Stephen Terravecchia expresses gratitude for those benefiting from the grant and congratulates them for their resilience.

“I understand the process was long and often arduous but we do believe the process resulted in grants whose theories of change are honed and whose expected results are practical and realistic. As CSA’s Chief of Party, I look forward to working with each of the grantees and continued collaboration and coordination with the Government of Liberia, our funder USAID, other USAID implementing partners and donors and our subcontractor partners.”

Mr. Terravecchia says USAID anticipates a final draft to be shared with the Ministry within a week, and that besides, CSA, through Bong County based grantees FIND and DELTA, have contributed to the establishment of County Councils in Bong County, looks forward to sharing their learned lessons with civil society organizations in other counties.

He says CSA anticipates that effective County Councils will be one of the key entry points for grantees and civil society in general to engage government in effectuating intent and spirit of the Local Government Act by ensuring that community stakeholders engage to solve tractable priority development issues.  

The CSA is in the second year of a five-year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by DAI Global, LLC (DAI).  

According to officials, the goal is to advocate for policy reforms, policy implementation, and service delivery improvements through multi-stakeholder coalitions that build feedback loops among the Government of Liberia, CSOs, and citizens.

CSA says the grants provide opportunities for CSOs to build linkages with their peers and constituencies at national and subnational levels. Through these linkages, CSOs can communicate reform achievements back to their constituencies and engage them in policy dialogue. 

In addition, the grants will promote greater collaboration with Liberian traditional leaders and media outlets to communicate reform priorities to citizens across the country. 

Meanwhile, the executive director of Integrity Watch Liberia, one of the grant beneficiaries, Herold Adoo, extols USAID Liberia CSA for their continuous support towards the advancement of civil society organizations across the country.

The 18 grantees include Public Health Initiative (PHIL), Youth Network for Positive Change (YOUNETPRO), Efficient Research and Development Institute (ERDI), Community Health Education and Social Services (CHESS-Liberia) Humanity Above One-Self Foundation (HAOSF), Volunteers United for Development (VUD) Institute for Policy Evaluation and Research (IPER) Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), Rural Human Rights Activists Program (RHRAP).

Others include Development Education Leadership Training in Action-Human Rights Foundation (DELTA-HRF) Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) Integrity Watch Liberia (IWL) Youth Movement for Collective Action (U-Movement) Institute for Democratic Action & Development (IDAD) Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia (YOCEL) Survivors Aid International Liberia Inc. (SAILDevelopment Education Network (DEN-L) Consortium of Business Development Service Providers of Liberia (CBDSPL). Editing by Jonathan Browne

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