The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Cuttington, NAYMOTE Partnership for Local Governance

The National Youth Movement for Transparency Election, NAYMOTE, has committed itself to continuously working with the Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County, to train traditional chiefs and other local government officials across Liberia in "Understanding Local Governance in Liberia".

The Executive Director of NAYMOTE, Eddie D. Jarwolo told a one-day capacity-building workshop that "Knowledge of local governance was vital to the strengthening of democracy and fostering national decentralization and local governance policy".

The training workshop, held in the Theatre of Cuttington University on February 11, 2013, brought together over 45 local leaders from across Bong County to understand their roles and duties as authorities in the County.

Mr. Jarwolo said since the launched of the Teaching Guide: Understanding Local Governance in Liberia by Vice President Joesph N. Boakai in Kakata a few months ago, the organization has distributed over 1500 copies across the country and held series of trainings for local leaders in Margibi and Bong Counties, intimating that copies of the teaching guide have been submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the quest to establish partnership to equip local government officials in Liberia.

Committing the Cuttington University to the achievement of the sustained democracy venture, its President, Dr. Henrique F. Tokpa, pledged to work with NAYMOTE to train local government officials in Liberia.

"Mr. Jarwolo and team; you are highly welcome at Cuttington and we are prepared to collaborate with you and promised to commit other resources into the effort so as to make the dream a reality".

Dr. Tokpa narrated how Cuttington and the local people have had something in common, referencing the period when the Government of Liberia asked the Episcopal Church to relocate Cuttington from Cape Palmas to Suakoko, Gbarnga in Bong County. Dr. Tokpa told participants that the Government of Liberia has, over the years, given subsidy to support Cuttington University, and that the local people of Bong County were represented on the Board of Trustee through their Superintendent.

"I am glad that NAYMOTE is taking the initiative to educate our chiefs and traditional leaders on their roles and responsibilities in the governance and decentralization processes," Dr. Tokpa told participants, also noting the lack of opportunity for local people to travel to other parts of the country and learn about the culture and traditional practices of other rural communities as a serious challenge.

He expressed the belief that NAYMOTE could also create an opportunity to teach the local people about other technologies to plant and harvest rice. The Cuttington University President made the assertion when he delivered his personal experience of travelling to other parts of Liberia to see rural farmers use snail shells to plant rice during farming.

NAYMOTE has, meanwhile, disclosed plans to work with Cuttington to integrate conflict management, strategic leadership and problem-solving courses as part of the training for local leaders. The Cuttington University-NAYMOTE partnership is a local-driven initiative to drive the ongoing national decentralization process.

The participants and speakers at the workshop also recounted their own experiences and knowledge about key leaders, including Madam Suakoko, Paramount Chief Kpangbai, Chief Gbalawoe, among, expresseing their gratitude to NAYMOTE and Cuttington University for initiating the milestone opportunity for advancing local government officials capacity.

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