Forpoh District, Grand Kru County- Construction of a12.5 kilometer road connecting Dwerken to Gbaken in Grand Kru County has begun which is expected to ease problems faced by farmers and medical practitioners in Forpoh District.
Martin Emabola, project manager for the German aid organization Deutsche Welt Hunger Hilfe, said his organization's assessment showed lack of road access was responsible for the low agriculture and health deliveries in that part of the county.
Local engineer Chebo Collins says the road construction which began in Dwerken will connect locals as far as Paloken, the district capital.
"This road is to promote the agriculture, school and health activities for a population of more than 12,000 people," Collins said.
Collins said his company - subcontracted by Deutsche Welt Hunger Hilfe, formerly known as German Agro - has constructed 18 bridges along the road. Many local people have been employed to cut trees, construct drainage systems and do other labor on the projects, he said.
Area residents are given US$3 per day for jobs, Collins said. "From 2012 up to now we have given out 10,000 jobs for various aspect of the road," Collins said. "It gives them employment but the jobs are on short-term basis."
Locals are taught to take ownership of the road after its completion in preparation for when Deutsche Welt Hunger Hilfe pulls out.
Forpoh district superintendent Francis Jlateh said since 15 years car have not plied the road.
"I feel very fine about this road German Agro is doing because we used to suffer," Jlateh said. "Today I'm happy that car is going to travel to Gbaken."
Teachers and medical practitioners had been walking great distances just to collect their paychecks in Barclayville, Jlateh said.
When the road is complete, cars will be able to come for people who are seriously sick instead of having them carried with a hammock, Jlateh said.
Local support criticized
Collins complained of low community support for the road project but Jlateh blamed the increase in mining activities for low support from locals, with many men and boys who could otherwise help tied up working in the mines.
Jlateh said his district will manage the road because it is a "great" help for them.
"We will manage this road in the absence of GA [German Agro] because what the people are doing is for our own help so we cannot let this road spoil," Jlateh said.
Emabola said the road construction is a relief for the people in Forpoh District and its surroundings.
On the 12.5-kilometer Dwerken-Gbaken road they have started the construction of 18 wooden bridges and two concrete bridges, Emabola said.
Because of the existing bad road, bringing material to the site is very costly and challenging, but the road will help improve commerce, and education and medical material will be supplied to facilities along the road, Emabola said.
Already, the partially completed road is providing significant benefits to residents, Emabola said.
"This road has saved a lot of pregnant women that have emergency cases that will have to come to Grand Cess for delivery and even for commercial purpose for women that are selling their fish," Emabola said.
Emabola said that since 2006 his organization has made road improvements in several parts of Grand Kru County.
His organization has been able to rehabilitate the 81-kilometer Kawaken-Barclayville road, the 26-kilometer Dwerken-Nokai road plus the 12 kilometer road from Barclayville to Pinocess.
Because of bad road conditions people used to spend longer to get to Barclayville or Grand Cess to sell their products and do other interactions.
"There were no bridges on these roads since 1972. We opened the road here to improve commerce," Emabola said.
Between Sasstown and Batue, the bush had taken over the road and closed it off, but roadwork by Deutsche Welt Hunger Hilfe connected the people of Dorboh District to other districts.
"What we did was try to connect them to the rest of the county," Emabola said.
"This road even helps [NGO] Merlin to take their drugs to health facilities they are running in the Dorboh District."