USAID Promise to Strengthen Local Businesses in Liberia
Monrovia – A day long USAID Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI) service Provider Grand Fair was during the week held at the Monrovia City Hall.
Report by Henry Karmo – [email protected]
The intent of the group is to strengthen multi- stakeholder partnerships to advocate for and monitor accountability and policy reforms in Liberia.
Among many things LAVI vision is to create a space, mechanisms and opportunities with which all citizens of Liberia are able to voice their concerns to their government and that all relevant parties—private sector companies, civil society and community-based organizations, faith groups— are working together to come up with collective solutions to address these shared concerns.
According to Milica Panic, USAID Chief of Party, to achieve this LAVI has been working to facilitate and strengthen linkages between key actors in its first issue area: the natural resource management and concessions sector.
She said LAVI is supporting the Coalition of eight CSOs to increase citizens’ participation and accountability around management and monitoring County Social Development Funds.
“While the coalition is building horizontal linkages in the civil society sector, LAVI is also supporting government agencies with oversight over natural resource management and concessions to increase their vertical linkages with communities.”
She believes that success of the natural resource management coalition is contingent upon the sustainability and capacity of each individual organization.
Therefore, LAVI facilitated an organizational capacity assessment with each civil society partner to help them identify their own strengths and areas for improvement in advocacy and operations.
Using this assessment and lessons learned from LAVI training in advanced organizational development, LAVI partners crafted capacity development plans that they will work on with LAVI over the next year.
“The goal is for each partner to learn from reflecting on its own operations and programming and identify ways to enhance its performance to improve the results for its beneficiaries.
To support each partner in addressing its self-identified needs, LAVI is promoting the development of on-going capacity development services on the local market,” she added.
LAVI launched the Service Provider Pool, a hub of thirteen Liberian small businesses and organizations available to provide organizational development services to civil society organizations, government and private sector.
LAVI provides the entities in the pool with organizational development support, such as training and mentorship in financial sustainability and marketing, and communication to enhance their existing capacity development services and grow their businesses.
By supporting this local market for capacity development, LAVI hopes the service providers will offer a sustainable approach for Liberian CSOs to strengthen their organizations and enable them to have maximum impact on behalf of their beneficiaries.
This fair provided the opportunity for LAVI SP pool to showcase the work they have been doing and how LAVI trainings and support has further enhanced their capacity.
There were individual booths for each service provider to have information including flyers, brochures, business cards that contain information about their business.
This activity was to demonstrating to the government, International Organizations, Donors, other CSOs and Corporate entities the importance of developing local expertise to respond to the needs of CSOs in the country.
“We hope this event to foster stronger linkages with the civil society and donor markets in Liberia as well as generate additional business opportunities and income for the Service Providers.
“Additionally, we hope with this effort to reduce out of country outsourcing of technicians and make use of the local expertise.
Supporting Liberian businesses strengthens decision-making and an opportunity to ensure Liberians have a greater voice in how decision will impact them which is one of main goals of LAVI,” she said.