President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Welcomes Catholic Relief Services' Partnership

Friday, 10th August 2007
President Sirleaf greets visiting CRS official.
President Sirleaf greets visiting CRS official.
Photo Credit: James M. Garresen, II/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - The Catholic Relief Services says it is willing to form partnership with the government of Liberia as the country evolves from Humanitarian to the Development stage. A visiting Board member of the Services described as very impressive government’s development pillars, and said the CRS was willing to step up its already existing programs in the areas of agriculture, health, and education.

Bishop Curtis Guillory said his organization has provided Humanitarian Support to Liberia during the past 16 years, and was now assessing other areas of immediate needs for the country.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Catholic Relief Services official was speaking on Friday at a meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Monrovia. A member of the delegation, Anthony Difilippo, informed the President that CRS was focusing mainly on six counties in the South-east of the country under a USAID Grant valued at more than 25 million dollars. The country Representative of CRS-Liberia said the 3-year program, which began in October last year, now reaches nearly 134-thousand families. The programs, he said, provides mainly for Recovery to Development activities in Agriculture, Health and Community Infrastructure, such as farm to market roads.

The President, in response, spoke highly of the strong partnership that continues to exist between government and the Catholic Church. The Liberian leader lauded the Church’s role in the areas of education and health, particularly in the rural parts of the country, where government programs have been limited due to the lack of adequate resources. President Johnson Sirleaf said the partnership of the Catholic Relief Services would be needed in bridging the gap created with the pull out of non-governmental health organizations which have shifted their priorities, now that Liberia has evolved the humanitarian to development stage.

The President also welcomed the Catholic Relief Services’ involvement in Agriculture, noting that government is keen on investing considerably in the sector because agriculture is the key to national development. The President said government would welcome any partnership with the CRS in expanding its agricultural sector, adding “you have served our people in the most difficult times; you will be a welcomed partner.”

The CRS delegation has been assessing its programs in Liberia to get a clearer picture of the country’s most pressing needs. The Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Arch Diocese of Monrovia, the Right Reverend Father Andrew Karnley, accompanied the delegation to the meeting with the President.