Education and thinking; A gateway to building a stronger nation

francis-portrait

I know someone is out there asking; “what is about education and thinking”?  My friend here I come to you with the answer that might not be the perfect one but it entails some details answers to your question. Education is the practice of sustaining learning, gaining of knowledge, talents, values, principles, and tradition and acquiring it involved different methods which include storytelling, dialogue, coaching, exercise, and fixed investigation. Education often takes place under the management of instructors, however, apprentices may also acquire it by themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any knowledge that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational.

Thinking can be considered as the act of generating thoughts. Proving that thought is an ultimate human activity accustomed to everyone, therefore, there is no commonly known covenant to details as to what thought is or how it can be generated.

The fact is that thought triggers many human activities and collaborations, ranging from its fleshly and abstract heritages, methods, and effects has remained an enduring objective for numerous disciplines.

Thinking provides the humans with the ability to sort logic of, construe, characterize, perfect the ecosphere and make forecasts about what they experience. Hence, it’s indeed helpful to  human as a guiding tool for setting up needs, goals, wishes and as tool for  making the agenda  in the pursue of accomplishing every dreams.

In every region of the world and with every human, development starts with thinking and education. When the citizens of a country become positively thoughtful, they will become patriotic and educated and will be adequately informed about their government. Thus, their ability to monitor, investigate and make the government functions adequately and more pro-actively will become easy and the affairs of the citizenry will be considered as a priority by the government. Adequate information sharing and quality education are very much cardinal to the growth of any country.

However, this need to be put into a context so that its fits into the cultural dimension of a region or country in-order that the people who are perceived to be the ultimate beneficiaries can easily understand the methodological approach. Once you connect a new idea to what someone previously know, learning will become easy.

When a leader of any country provides quality education and build policies that are developmental friendly, transformation and growth will force its way into that country. The way you think influences your behavior and the way you behavior helps to direct your destiny. One of the core reasons for Liberia’ 14 years war was triggered by our thought patterns.

To the citizens in general, self-esteem, integrity and personal accountability should be the core guide in the quest for quality education. Building a social capital is vital in actualizing development. More coordination and networking among different kinds of professionals and sector is the bed rock and the road map through which ideas can easily be cross pollinated and solution can be found to those problems that existed before.

About the Author:

Francis Egu Lansana is a civil society leader in Liberia. He works for Accountability Lab Liberia. His passion for community participation, governance and development is inspired by humanitarian groups and the world leaders who strive for global stability. He studied Sociology and Political Science at the University of Liberia. He has written several articles including his recent article on “Media for Change Makers” published by Peace Journalist Magazine in the USA and other media institutions like the bush chicken and  heritage news paper.

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A Nation in Transition.

Since the start of Liberia civil war in 1989 till now, the security sector of Liberia has been in the hands of foreign nationals thereby leaving the citizens without trust in the national security. Many persons during this time were exposed to active participation into war-fare given them an insight of military and gorilla tactic, increase human right abuse ranging from rape, child right abuse, force labor, gender based violence, murder, drugs abuse, etc.

 Though the United Nation and other internationals bodies contributed to bring the state of Liberia to where it’s today, yet there still remain many challenges. These challenges encompasses, reintegration of ex-combatant, re-orientation of children associated with fighting forces re-building trust between the ordinary citizens of Liberia and the national security sector, etc. Today, there are 1000s of disbanded arm forces of Liberia along with members of warring faction that exited who are unpleased with the current political, socioeconomic and administrative occurrence within the country. Now that UNMIL who has been in control of the security sector mandate is coming to end and there will be a political transition in 2017 if nothing is done  to address these challenges the nation Liberia and its citizens remain in serious threat and the likelihood of the out-break of uncontrollable violence remains eminent.

 

Insecurity is a primary development challenge of our time and a significant barrier to the achievement of the development agenda especially the upholding of democracy.  These challenges are further complicated by the changing nature of conflict that involves multi-level, intra-state conflicts of extended duration and marked by recurring cycles of violent conflict. The fourteen-year civil conflict in Liberia has led to the increase of human rights abuse and introduced many Liberians into deviant behavior. During the war, most of Liberians experienced the worst situation of violence ranging from rape, sexual abuse, economic exploitation, torture, etc.  Women and children rights were abused on a daily basis without concrete actions taken as a deterrent to this inhumane act.

 

Though the Liberian civil conflict is over, yet the use of violence by many citizens of Liberia is still on the increase.  This is because of the weakness of the Liberian laws and the corruption that has engulfed the judicial system thereby leaving the citizens without trust in the government especially the judiciary and the security sector. It also can be attributed to the lack of proper security civic education outreach.

Besides, inadequate financing of long term programs that will address a comprehensive judiciary and security sector and improve judiciary/security citizen’s positive relationship, there has existed   the situation where violation has been considered to be acceptable practice in the minds of the people. Children are being denied their fundamental rights to education, participation in community social issues, healthcare, etc as most parents and community leaders are with the view that children are people without rights. Up to now, children are still been grossly abused most especially girls children who have been frequently rape and killed.

Since the end of the Liberia civil war in 2003, the security sector has been in the hands of foreign security personnel especially United Nation Mission In Liberia (UNMIL). This has created many weaknesses for the national security sectors thereby making the citizens of Liberia to not  have confidence in the national security.

The issue of crime is on the increase and the life of citizens is threatened. When you visit the principal streets of Monrovia today especially around central Monrovia, you will see many young Liberians considered as (car loaders) chasing taxi with the hope of snitching people valuables such as lap-top computer, smart phone, etc. Of recent, there was clash between the Liberia National Police and the commercial motor cyclists which resulted into burning of police station in Redlight community in the city of Paynesville. Many of similar violence has been occurring and it continue to occur in other parts of the country. During the out-break of Ebola in Liberia, when West Point one of the communities considered to be hardly hit by Ebola was quarantined, the residence of this  community has clash with the national security and it resulted into the loose of life and leaving several others injured and also led to damaging of properties.

Considering  UMIL draw down and the 2017 political transition, there is a need to closely work with chiefs, youth and other local authorities to identify those potential threat that are related to this transition and work with them in-order to avoid to re-occurrence of what the country went through during the 14 years civil war. Causes which led to the 14 years’ war such corruption, nepotism, etc are still perceived to be on the increase in the country. During 2005 general and presidential elections second round between Unity Party of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Congress for Democratic Change of Georgw M. Weah, there was an election violence that resulted into damaging of properties and leaving many people injured. In 2011, the same act was repeated between the same parties. Understanding that Liberia is a post war country, many people were exposed to military knowledge and Liberia also lies between two post war countries; Cote D’voire and Sierra Leone which has placed Liberia in a highly risky security zone especially when UNMIL shall have pull out in conjunction with the 2017 political transition.

 

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The Accountability Lab is an incubator for the world’s most creative accountability ideas. In Liberia, the team works with innovative people and organizations to develop tools- and the communities around them- that can make power-holders more responsible.

Justice is a block for building democracy. It’s also  a crucial element for sustainable peace and development.  In an effort to support peace and foster development in Liberia, the Accountability Lab is promoting the use of mediation among dwellers of low-income communities in Monrovia.

The project was first initiated in West Point and implemented by West Point Health & Sanitation Organization (WPHSO) has now been scaled-up to Logan Town on Monrovia’s Bushrod Island.

Logan Town is a community that has a population of over 30,000 inhabitants with only one police depot that doesn’t have the capacity to responding to the legal and security needs of the people. In an effort to support the government of Liberia in building peace and bringing justice to the doorstep of every inhabitant of Liberia, the Accountability lab has trained eight (8) mediators in Logan Town.

 

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Sociology and Anthropology STudenst Association posed for group photo

In a quest to spread the message of change , transformation, transparency and integrity, the Accountability Lab in the 35th anniversary celebration of the Sociology and Anthropology Students Association (SASA) at the University of Liberia. The event was marked by a parade and conference that brought together over 300 hundred participants, including members of the University of Liberia administration, SASA department staff and instructors, students and other invited guests.

Sociology is one of the largest departments at the University of Liberia.  As a nation emerging from 14 years of civil war, the study of human relations can play a critical role in post-conflict reconstruction. The theme of the SASA convocation was “Nonviolence is imperative for a peaceful society”.  The program touched on several themes:

  1. Think Developmentally. The growth of a nation begins with its people. A major way for Liberia to develop is when the students of the University of Liberia start to live by its motto“ Lux En Tenebris” which means “Light in Darkness”. One of the best ways to develop a country is to develop the minds of the citizens so that they can take ownership of their country.

In his remarks Mr. Yealue challenged  SASA members to take the lead in transforming the social patterns of Liberia in a direction that brings about social change, economic transformation, social cohesion, nationalism, and a sense of belonging.  He concluding by noting that the Accountability Lab is always eager to engage potential partners.

  1. Career Contribution: Sociology and Anthropology played a vital role in allowing us to understand our society. The change we want to see doesn’t come from those above, rather it starts from us. The field of study of Sociology must serve as a true light of change in our various communities.
  2. Reason leads to Action: When the leadership of SASA was asked about their contributions to the theme of the event, several key points were observed:
  • SASA serves a peer advisory role, helping students understand course offerings and make the most of their formal education opportunities.
  • Students at the University of Liberia frequently resort to violent actions to obtain results that they desire.  This forum will provide a key first step in promoting a culture of accountability that reduces violent extremism on campus.
  • The consequences of Liberia’s civil war are acutely felt by today’s students.  SASA does not wish to follow in the steps of our predecessors by ignoring societal problems, rather SASA wishes to take the lead in setting a non-violent agenda for Liberia. an
  1. Collective effort: For a nation to be develop, citizens must have a sense of nationalism, patriotism and belonging. All of these qualities are developed by a strong education and understanding of human society.  The change we need requires contributions from all.
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