Liberia: NAYMOTE Liberia Strengthens Civic Engagements in Bong County

Gbarnga — Naymote-Partners for Democratic Development (Naymote-PADD), a pro-democracy organization continues to engage citizens of Bong County and their leaders at different levels, in a bid to strengthen civic engagement, improve the rule of law and access to justice.

The organization through its many different project activities is also increasing citizens' understanding of governance issues, thereby raising the bar for the citizens to hold their leaders accountable in the management of public resources in the county.

Naymote is at the moment running several projects across the county including the 'Promoting Accountability for Better Services Through Open Budget Initiatives project,' 'Liberia -Access to Justice: Community Justice Advisor Project,' and the 'Advancing Civic Engagement on Benefits and Support for LGA 2018 Project.'

The Open Budget Initiative project is a six-month project funded by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, while the Community Justice Advisor project is an eleven-month pilot project sponsored by Carter Center Liberia. The project on the Local Government Act is being supported by the United National Development Program and will be implemented across the country quarterly.

The regional coordinator of Naymote in Bong, Lofa, and Nimba, Prince Cooper, told FrontPageAfrica that Liberia -Access to Justice Project, the organization has deployed five Community Justice Advisors in several communities who are currently mediating outstanding local disputes, advocating for the impartial dispensation of justice, accompaniment of clients at legal institutions, monitoring of prison facilities across its fifty (50) project communities in Bong.

Cooper said the project is also targeting the implementation of effective free legal information and dispute resolution services to citizens in Montserrado and Bong counties, rising awareness about citizen's legal rights, and provide legal assistance through advice, alternative dispute resolution, referral, and/or accompaniment; and improved court and prison monitoring.

"These services are intended to strengthen the rule of law in Liberia by enhancing access to justice for marginalized citizens to create a responsive justice system that honors national laws and meets the needs of local communities," Cooper said.

Over 551 civic education sessions have been conducted across Bong County since the project's inception in the county, according to Cooper.

He said these sessions have benefited over 8, 647 (5,003 females and 4, 644 males) residents including magistrates, town chiefs, zonal heads, women leaders, community dwellers, school administrators, police commanders, and prison superintendents in the 50 project communities.

Most citizens and local leaders who have attended some of these events continue to hail the efforts of Naymote for building their civic competence through the different engagements.

Local Government Act thanked NAY MOTE and Partners for their continuous engagement with citizens and local leaders on the legal framework and promised her office's working relationship with the institution.

"Thank you so much NAYMOTE-Liberia and your implementing partners for such an educative event that has help to increase the understanding of key stakeholders of the county. Be assured that these dialogues will go a long way in the history of national development in Bong County and Liberia by extension."

Journalist Emmanuel Ballah also lavished praises on the pro-democracy organization for her bold step taken through the implementation of several initiatives across the country.

"I am so honored as a journalist to have formed a part of NAYMOTE's programs across Bong County. NAYMOTE has increased my understanding in so many different areas of national concern and I commit to always use my platform for the edification of knowledge acquired at these events."

Naymote is also increasing citizens' understanding of the Local Government Act of 2018 through town hall meetings and coffee shop discussions.

Participants at these dialogues are being encouraged to hold their leaders accountable about promises made to them during electioneering periods and to further push for more responsive and transparent governance in Liberia.

The dialogue also focuses on informing citizens about services that are being rendered at the county service center to boost national government revenue generation.

Over 250 participants directly benefited from the institution's stakeholders meeting and over 60, 000 Liberians through radio engagement.

As for the Open Budget Initiative project, Cooper said it is intended to increase citizen's participation in the budget preparation and implementation, track the quality of public services at the county level, and educate citizens on the budget process using the citizen's guide to the national budget through various mechanisms.

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