UN Volunteers Undergo Orientation for Montserrado CBI Project on Ebola

first_imgAt least fifteen (15) National United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) have concluded a one-day refresher orientation for the Montserrado Community Based Initiative on Ebola.The project takes cognizance of the need for community involvement in the national Ebola response, to stop the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and the eventual elimination of the disease from Liberia.Taking account of the comparative advantage of the UNV programme in dealing with community and youth groups, the project has mobilized over 1,200 national community volunteers, and about 15 National UNVs to help with monitoring and coordination of (MCBI) field activities.The National Volunteers will be tasked with carrying out community sensitization on the prevention of Ebola infection.  Identification of the sick and dead; Active Case Findings; IT and data analysis, and Communication are among some of the assignments being carried out under the direct supervision of the UN Volunteers Program and UNDP Ebola Response Program.The project will promote immediate actions being taken by UNDP to respond to the crisis, and show how Ebola is affecting the development agenda in Liberia.Addressing the National UNVs Wednesday at the UNDP head offices in Monrovia, UNDP Deputy Country Director for Programme Cleophas Torori said the  work of UNVs will help boast ongoing efforts aimed at preventing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease in Liberia.Mr. Torori said the fight against the EVD has reached a critical stage where the efforts of everyone will be robustly required to ensure that the virus is totally eradicated from the country.“If the war against the virus most be won, Montserrado County, mainly Monrovia should be heavily concentrated because it hosts over sixty-five percent (65%) of the country’s population” said Mr. Torori.He pointed out that the people of Liberia have suffered too long at the hands of the deadly Ebola virus disease and it was now time for the people to ‘get their lives back.Mr. Torori indicated that with the consolidated efforts of the volunteers and other partners involved in the national EVD response, the President and Government’s goal of ‘no new case by December 25’ will be achieved.He told the volunteers to be cognizant of the challenges of denial, stigmatization, hiding of sick and other practices that still persist in various communities across the country.UNVs contribute to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers. The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide.Presenting the overview of the project, UNDP Partnership & Compliance Advisor and Ebola Focal Point, Fredrick Ampiah said the MCBI project was close to heart of UNDP especially in winning the battle against EVD in the country.Mr. Ampiah told the volunteers to see themselves as a team, working toward a goal of getting to ‘zero new Ebola case’ by December 25 this year. He added: “You are one team with different responsibilities and working to achieve one goal…”Mr. Eric Opoku, UNV Programme Officer urged UNVs to be motivated by their work which is aimed at providing services to their communities.Mr. Opoku said volunteers should not be considered as less important people, but rather a group of professional people rendering valuable services in various capacities.He said UNV is a programme of the UN that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide and administered by UNDP as the mother organization.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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GoL’s Passive, Indifferent Attitude Toward Liberian-owned Businesses

first_imgAs mentioned in last Friday’s Editorial, the government of Liberia’s passivity and indifference toward Liberian-owned businesses started not with this administration but long before.This is, unfortunately, one of the legacies of President William V. S. Tubman’s Open Door Policy. It was a policy that gave great encouragement to foreign businesses and business people, including very generous investment incentives such as duty free privileges and extensive tax holidays.Take for example the rubber industry; several of the foreign rubber companies still enjoy some of these privileges but not a single Liberian rubber company. This includes the biggest of them all, Morris American Rubber Company, commonly known as “Morris Farm”. Started in the 1930s by Harry Morris, it is the biggest employer among all the Liberian rubber farms. And, currently run by his son Bill Morris, it is the only Liberian rubber planter that is processing its own product for export. Morris American does not have to sell to Firestone. Yet it enjoys none of the privileges extended to some of the foreign companies.In her meeting with Liberian entrepreneurs last week, President Sirleaf heard some constructive criticisms. Madam Isatu Gbegbe Noubibous told the President that all too frequently Liberian businesses are “sidelined” in the GoL bidding process, in favor of foreign businesses. Even if Liberian businesses win GoL bids of any scale, there is yet another hurdle. The Government of Liberia has been notorious for its history of bad debt, especially in the current administration. It has become so bad that some business people have disclosed to the Daily Observer that they no longer do business with the Liberian government. Even a local bank a couple of years ago issued an unofficial in-house policy that there were to be no loans given to government officials. This is bad news and suggests two things. First, if the people running the Liberian government have such bad credit as individuals, what is there to convince anyone else that the government as a whole is credible for business? Second, it is not as though the President doesn’t know what is happening. Remember Liberia’s debt-waiver program with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund? President Sirleaf knew exactly what needed to be done to win back Liberia’s credibility with those international partners. Is it that much more difficult for the Liberian government to win back its credibility with its own people? Is President Sirleaf simply going to treat the plight of Liberian business people with lip service? Whole day, “We hear you; we will take your concerns into consideration,” she says. But then the breakfast club jumps in the way and sways all the opportunities in favor of their foreign friends. It is not really about the money, Madam President. It is about Respect. Many of your lieutenants do not respect themselves enough to even respect the offices entrusted to their care. They insult the integrity of their positions and therefore insult the Liberian People. It is about Justice. How many corrupt officials has this government successfully prosecuted? They either abscond, are let off on judicial technicalities or are asked to resign. It is about Patriotism, for goodness sake! We know of NO other nationality that prefers foreigners before their own nationals. Sanitation entrepreneur George Howe told the President that the banks are reluctant to lend Liberians the sufficient amounts these entrepreneurs need to move their businesses forward. In Liberia, patriotism seems to be losing considerably to envy. “Why should he or she get this break and not I”, is the common mindset in Liberia. This Newspaper has always asked, how can we develop Liberia on envy? It cannot and will never happen. But we cannot, must not remain crabs in the bucket.And toiletries business man Fomba Trawally urged the President to see to it that GoL give some preference to Liberian Manufacturers. The President listened intently to the Liberian business people and pledged to actively heed to their pleadings. We count it most unfortunate that the President finds herself making this pledge in the 11th year of her administration, with scarcely two years to go. But as one of the entrepreneurs she met indicated, it is better late than never.In order to fulfill that pledge the President has a lot of convincing to do among her lieutenants. She has to convince them that it is Liberians, not foreigners, who must build Liberia. The sooner they are empowered to do so, the better. Time is running out! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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