Democracy is not a system that can be transferred  or imported. It can manifest only if it germinates and takes root. In order to have a thorough democratic function, each country needs to absorb democracy into its traditions, politics and its socio-economic situation. Democracy cannot be reduced only to a legal framework measuring only civil and political rights. The purpose of democracy is to empower every citizen to have a better living through the full improvement of economic, social and cultural rights.

Therefore for democracy to take effect, the citizens of the country must be knowledgeable of the laws governing them and they must have access to it and there must be an independent and mature judiciary system. There must also be freedom of expression through a mature and responsible press. The citizens must have the right to cautiously express themselves if they feel ambiguous of a situation; this means you have the right to say what you want to say but you will be responsible for any outcome of your action. Democracy is a system of government in which decision making is reached with the consent of the majority of the citizens but respecting the views of the minorities.

Elections are not the start nor the end to a democratic system of governance. Elections are just one of the systems through which citizens decide to change the leadership of a state.  And in order to reach to the peak of a democratic state, citizens need to build up the sense of nationalism, sense of belonging, social cohesion, and strong and independent political party system. Political parties need to be institutionalized, managed and controlled by people with vision.

Though election is very cardinal to building democratic institution but the outcome of an election does not guaranteed democracy instead legitimacy after election is one of the core pillar to measuring democracy. Legitimacy is the medium through which elected officials make sure that citizens are harness and willing to drive their leadership project.

A successful government is responsive and accessible to its citizens. Democracy is a very big  tree that provides a huge protection which encompasses; regular elections, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, access to quality education, access to quality and affordable health care system, equal security for all, equal justice for all, etc. And in-order for this tree to continue flourishing, the following chemical must be mixed and put into use simultaneously.

The chemicals include but not limited to:

  • Responsibility-people must always take charge of what they do under the practice and principles of democracy and good governance. Democracy doesn’t feed on speculation; if you have no proof, don’t make it public as the principles of democracy will force you to provide convincing evidence.
  • Transparency-the doctrine of democracy says “for the people and by the people” hence the people must be aware of what you do for them.
  • Accountability-give to the people what is for the people
  • Respecting the rule of laws-this served as light to guide our path in the exercise of democratic doctrine and as such should be observed
  • Answerability-you must be ready to answer for what you do. Telling the people the reasons for doing what you do is one of the major pillars that helps to do away with doubt.
Link

Where bad governance exist, citizens are denied certain basic social eminities such as transportation. Inhabitans of Monrovia srcambling over commecial vehicle in Monrovia.In the absent of priority in setting up developmental agenda, achieving the goal of this agenda is far from reach. Since Madam Sirleaf was elected into power in Liberia as the first female democratically elected president of Africa oldest republic, there has been conferences putting together a road map for better Liberia ranging from Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), Vision 2030, etc, yet nothing much is done. Every system in Liberia is getting worse. Common example is, commuters from sub-urban settlement around Monrovia are finding it very difficult to get to central Monrovia for business transaction, a place where 90% of the government ministries and agencies are located.

If you live or visit around  Monrovia city sub-burb specifically Duala on the Bushrod Island, Gardnerville, Paynesville and Old Road you will realized that bad governance in Liberia has denied the citizens of Liberia the right from some basic social services such as transportation. Life is getting difficult day-by-day. Liberians are tired of empty promises said some college graduates whose spent their days to coffee shops in Monrovia not because they are without skill but because there is or are no space  for them to practice what they know.

Education in Liberia is like a waste because there is no system set for placing people on job based on what he/she knows. In fact getting job in Liberia doesn’t depend on what you know but “who know you”. The youth stressed. If you look around the streets of Monrovia today, you will realize that many young people in the streets are either selling or riding motor cycle. This is because they are not seeing actual transformation in the lives of their peers who have gone through the walls of academic institutions. As such the value or enthusiasm for quality education is dropping in Liberia.

University of Liberia, the oldest institution of higher learning in West Africa and the state only own institution of higher learning in Liberia is not among the first 100 ranked Universities in West Africa.  Yet, Madam Sirleaf whom majorities of Liberians voted because of her academic profile, instead of building the medium to give quality to the nation educational system, she condemned it by saying “the educational system of Liberia is a mess”.  We accept your condemnation Madam president. Yet we want to know your role as a head of the state in cleaning the “mess” you mentioned. A leader most condemn and recommend way forward.

Majorities of Liberians in Liberia today are like refugees in their own country. To afford daily meals is imaginable as the streets of Monrovia is getting flooded with petty traders whose income can feed them for only a day. Food prices are sky rocketing day-by-day, rise in school feels are not to be over emphasis and access to quality medical care for 98% of Liberians in Liberia is out of reach.

Judicial is a central pillar for building democratic state, yet this institution is no more trusted proven by many  inhabitants of Monrovia/Liberia always using violence to attain justice for themselves, read here .  Also it is noticed that  a good number of the state security personnel are in the service just for mere job seek but not for the protection of the state as their code of conduct says through the oath of allegiance.  This is evidence by  police corruption according to Transparency International Index report2014.

A member of the house of legislature will prefer to ride a car value at US$40000 while his or her constituency is without a clinic or a high school yet they claimed of been working in the interest of the masses.  Police are without proper uniform yet the directors of police are riding US$ 40000 worth of vehicle. Boarders are without proper security, even though polices are find in every street corners of Monrovia, immigration cars with the inscription “Boarder Patrol” can been seeing plying the streets of Monrovia there by leaving boarder entries without security.

Link

Prior to the outbreak of Ebola, Liberia has experienced a very poor health and hygienic system especially within the city of Monrovia the capital of Liberia. There are garbage pile found in every part of the city with a poor drainage system and access to save drinking and bath water is not to be over emphasis.

Access to proper medical care is like a grace of God evidence by all government officials including prominent business persons and other renounce residents of Liberia always seeking medication attention outside of the country leaving all medical personnel and facilities within the country poorly care for. Monrovia has an approximated population of 1 million persons and has a very poor sewage facilities. There are no public latrine in central Monrovia and therefore people urinate or toilet in tite corners whenever they are pressed by nature thereby leaving that neighborhood vulnerable with bad odor and sickness.

According to health experts, Ebola virus can be contracted through coming into contact with the infected person’s urine, toilet, saliva, sweet, blood, etc. Based on such poor conditions, Liberia has received approximately 60 % of the total death of Ebola related cases since the outbreak of virus in the Western African sub-region. More death and suspected cases are expected as government and other international partners are seeking means of building additional facilities for hosting of persons infected of Ebola virus and those suspected of contracting the virus.

Liberia still remain at the disadvantageous side as there are no plans to improve the system.

 

Link

Francis Lansana, Accountability Resident, Liberia

 

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties, in the Northwest of Liberia.  Quarantines were imposed on these counties for much of August in an attempt to combat the spread of Ebola.  The quarantine imposed in the densely populated township of West Point, in the capital, drew considerable media attention, however similar measures have inflicted strain over other parts of the country as well.

In the counties of Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, and Gbarpolu, severe travel restrictions remain in place, despite the widespread condemnations that the quarantine measures received.  Klay, a strategically located town in Bomi County that serves as an access point for much of Liberia’s Northwest is flooded with armed personnel.  Nominally, the security forces are manning checkpoints and monitoring travelers to ensure that individuals effected with the Ebola virus are not mobile and avoiding designated facilities.

However, my experience was that these roadblocks play no substantive role in halting the spread of the virus.  Unlike the detailed measures taken for air travelers out of Liberia, there were no steps in place at the roadblocks in Klay to assess if a traveler suffered from Ebola.  Security forces merely asked travelers to present their id cards, a step universal at the ubiquitous roadblocks in Liberia.

In my discussions with residents of the region, it quickly became clear that Ebola response teams and Ebola sensitization messages were making minimal impact.  While the government often notes that Liberians should stop denying the existence of Ebola and transparently report any suspected cases, citizens in these counties countered by noting that Ebola response teams are not addressing their concerns in a timely manner or providing useful or comprehensible public health education messages.

I also observed the strain that the situation is placing on food security in the region.  The government is stressing that citizens should avoid the consumption of bush meat.  As a result, diets are lacking a significant amount of protein.  In much of rural Liberia, bush meat constitutes a significant amount of protein consumed.  Fish are another important source of protein, but the rainy season (now coming to an end) makes it difficult to harvest them from creeks and rivers.

While the rapid spread of Ebola in Liberia’s capital is gaining international attention, there is also a crisis in Liberia’s more rural areas.  Greater efforts centering around awareness and resource distribution are needed to ensure that Ebola is effectively tackled in all corners of Liberia and that the crisis does not have disastrous consequences for long-term community relations.

To help support the Lab’s efforts to alleviate Ebola fall out, please vote for us at the Innovating Justice Awards here.

 

 

Link

 

The first Ebola patient in Liberia was discovered in March 2014 in Foya District, Lofa County located in the North-western region of Liberia (MoHSW). Foya is sharing a common border with the Republic of Guinea the first country in West Africa to have an alarming Ebola case. According to reports, the first person to be diagnosed of Ebola in Liberia came from Guinea. When this disease was first pronounced in Liberia, the citizens including the government did not understand the gravity of it and therefore less attention was pay to it.

But the epidemic of Ebola has created not only  health hazard ,economic hardship rather it has caused physical insecurity leading to president of Liberia declaring state of emergency thereby causing closure  of jobs, business and tighten the free movement of people in the country (declaring curfew). Educational system and investment activities are all at stand still. The spread of the EVD is getting intensify day-by-day.

The fight against this disease is becoming the concern of every Liberian. Having recognized the importance of music in transforming society, Accountability lab in partnership with the Business Start-Up Center  have united all musical artists  to form one common front in this fight against EVD. It is often said “in union strong success is sure”, this has manifested itself in Liberia in the fight against Ebola as all musical artists in Liberia have come together to speak with one voice.

According to the artists, their work has the potential to easily and widely spread educative message to every corner and to everyone. Therefore coming together is one of the best thing to do as a musicians in helping to educate all inhabitants of Liberia about the dangers of Ebola, how to prevent it and to re-brand Liberia.

This is a national call and every citizens of Liberia contribution in either way is very much useful in this fight. The situation is getting worse as West Point, a slum in Monrovia which host a population of over 50000 people.

Psycho-social contribution is greatly needed in this fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link
It is the right of everyone to know.

Education to the people through mural.

In an effort to live up-to its objective, Accountabilitylab along with Liberia VisuaArts Academy (LiveArts) have embarked on a mural project in Monrovia. The project which is aim at putting everyday common social, political and economic happenings into a visual object to help persons who have not pass through formal western education to be knowledgeable of how to contribute to change in their society is ongoing on 15th street in Sinkor Monrovia Liberia. Accountability Lab team works with innovative people and organizations in Liberia to develop tools- and the communities around them- that can empower people to create positive social change.

Topics addressed in this project range from domestic waste management, health, road safety and personal character building. The lab has observed over the past years that majority of Liberian can’t read and comprehend and globally, visual object that depicts human everyday behavior provides a wider scope of education. And as the Lab aim is to keep people informed no matter your age, education, socio-economic status has taken onto this project in educating every inhabitants of Liberia about how each person’s positive contribution can lead us into having a better community.

As I stood and carefully listen to passes-by, these were some of their saying;

  • This is really what we called clear message to the people. Even babies on their mother’s back can easily understand this.
  • This is more effective in spread the news about the change we want.
  • This is more than having radio talk show and or writing about how you want the people to change.
  • With this, Liberia will now change.

The change you need for the people must start with the people. The lab has understood that the message for change has previously been focused on those who can read and write leaving out majority who have not acquired the potential to read and write. What is created by the people can be best manage by them and as such using their own everyday common behavior to preach the message of change can easily shape their focus to the change you wish to see. Change doesn’t start from up but rather it start from down.

Link

 

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.

In paving the way to preach accountability messages, the Accountability Lab has trained a group of Young Religious Leaders in Liberia to help spread the message of “Religious contributions in the fight against corruption”.   This group is composed of Islamic youth, Christian youth, and other religious youth leading the way in spreading the message about religious tolerance and its impact on the growth of the country.

 

Liberia is a highly religious country, yet corruption is found in all sectors of the country. The Young Religious Leaders noted that all of the major religions in Liberia teach about tolerance and acceptance, yet this is far from the reality in Liberia. If Liberians actually lived by the word of God that they embrace so deeply on the outside, the economic condition of the country would be much improved.  The Young Religious Leaders understand that if they do not take the lead on preaching the gospel of accountability to their congregation, our suffering tomorrow will be more than what it is today.  Making Liberia better doesn’t have to depend on those in political power; rather it must start from us.  If we start to live the creed of our religions, we will have a better Liberia and everybody will change.

 

The Young Religious Leaders are based in Logan Town, a community in Monrovia with a population of about 20,000 inhabitants. 70-80% of this population are Christians or Muslims. Out of the total population of Logan Town, 60-75 % of the total youth population comes from low-income families.

 

Our Religious Tolerance Accountability Project does not aim to convert anyone to a specific religion. Rather, the goal is to make sure that all religious leaders understand the message of accountability and have the tools to effectively incorporate a religious code of accountability into their sermons.

 

 

 

Link

 

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

The project, which was first initiated in West Point and implemented by the 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 and only one police station which, it is widely agreed, does not have the capacity to respond to the legal and security needs of citizens. In an effort to support the Liberian government in building peace and bringing justice to all, the Accountability Lab is training eight mediators in Logan Town. The mediators will work with the local court and police department to refer cases back down to locally trained Community Justice Teams, who will work to resolve disputes sustainably.

The Accountability Lab believes that building the capacity of community members to solve disputes in their communities is one of the best ways to promote peace and democracy, which in turn leads to development. The Lab has observed that aggrieved parties are more responsive to non-binding mediation and often engage in more constructive dialogue without the threat of formal legal sanction that inherently arises in governmental courts.  In our work in West Point, there has not been a single instance of recidivism in the cases that have been dealt with by our trained mediators.

In the eyes of many Liberians, the use of conventional legal systems such as the police and courts are expensive, time-consuming and not the best way to solve civil disputes. As a result, many people resolve their grievances through violent means. As an institution that works from the bottom-up with a real focus on citizens, the Accountability Lab is working to ensure that disputes are resolved in more constructive ways.

The Logan town Alternative Dispute Resolution Center will be managed and run by the Citizens Bureau for Development and Productivity, a local NGO led by John Kamma. In our training for the mediators, Mr. Kamma opened the session with some words of caution. “Access to justice through the formal justice system is an accountability issue. The loss of public trust and confidence in the justice sector is a direct result of the police and courts being unresponsive to citizens’ needs.”

“When an aggrieved party is unable to meet the financial costs associated with the court system, justice is repeatedly delayed or denied. This is shameful for a formal justice system that should serve everyone equitably and adequately, regardless of money, age, or status- and it is a recipe for potential conflict. Something must be done to restore the functioning of justice in Liberia.” Through this project, we are doing it- and we look forward to keeping you updated from on-the-ground here in Monrovia.CJT

Link

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.

 

Link

 

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.
Link