President Sirleaf on the Promotion of Self-Reliance and Partnership

Tuesday, 21st August 2007
Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has participated in a program marking the completion of the USAID sponsored Community Peace Building and Development Program in Kakata, Margibi County. The Program, the President said, has provided participants the opportunity to develop skills which are essential to governmentís Poverty Reduction Program. The Promotion of self reliance, partnership, peace building and other basic skills, the President noted, provide the basis for the enhancement of growth and development.

An Executive Mansion release quotes the Liberian leader as saying, communities must take responsibility and ownership of their own development while reaching out to individuals and institutions with the knowledge to accelerate progress.

The President welcomed the involvement of communities to acquire skills in management, farming and conflict resolution, a basic principle being promoted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  President Johnson Sirleaf said government would encourage community participation because without the involvement of the people, the governmentís Poverty Reduction strategy will not succeed.

The President thanked USAID for providing the funding to enable Mercy Corps, the Academy for Educational Development and other collaborating partners embark on the Community Peace Building and Development program.  The Liberian President also lauded local NGOs, tribal leaders and communities for their involvement in the 5-year program, which brought together more than two hundred communities in Margibi, Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Bong Counties.

United States Ambassador, Donald Booth, for his part, said his government will continue to assist in the rebuilding of Liberia in line with the development priorities earmarked by the Liberian government. Ambassador Booth said the completion of the program was not an end in itself, but the beginning of a shifting focus by USAID from emergency to Community development.

During the program, participants were taught skills in various fields including farming, health, sanitation, business management, conflict resolution, among others. Among other benefits, more than six thousand participants received farming tools while 3-thousand were trained in peace building and mediation, and another 280 participants received training in starting a new business. As part of the program, 23-community radio stations were also built in five counties.