Liberia: YMCA Successfully Completes USAID Sponsored Conflict Mitigation, Reconciliation Project
Monrovia – The United States Government has formally closed out its Community Dialogue for Conflict Mitigation and Reconciliation Project (CDRP), which was successfully implemented by YMCA- Liberia.
Since 2018, the CDRP has helped communities in the six counties that were mostly affected by the Liberian civil war to resolve conflicts and their underlying causes without resulting to violence.
According the YMCA, CDRP helped 11,643 Liberians in Bomi, Bong, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Montserrado and Nimba Counties to participate in community based social therapy sessions that trained participants on how to spot and avoid or mitigate conflict triggers.
CDRP also actively involved 4,800 students in school-based peace clubs that worked in their community to spread message against violence and trafficking in person.
Additionally, CDRP worked with traditional leaders to peacefully resolve land disputes and long standing boundary conflicts between neighboring communities.
Speaking during the close-out event at the YMCA headquarters in Monrovia recently, USAID-Liberia Mission Director, Jim Wright congratulated the CDRP on working to ensure that gains are sustained over the long term.
Director Wright said that people in various communities are now using the skills they acquired from working with CDRP to establish their own peace clubs and are engaging youth in wholesome activities like debate competitions and spreading anti-violence messages.
Wright noted that the successful implementation of CDRP by YMCA makes the case for USAID to expand its works with local partners to implement programs and activities in Liberia.
He thanked the Ministry of Internal Affairs for being a strong partner in the implementation of the CDRP and urged the people of Liberia to work even harder to find peaceful ways to resolving conflicts as they prepare for legislative and presidential elections next year.
“Ensuring peaceful, stable and democratic governance will also create the space for the country to pursue a development agenda that improves the lives of all Liberians,” the USAID Mission Director said.
The YMCA Secretary General Timotheus Kamboakai, also speaking at the event, said the YMCA gained tremendous experience from implementing CDRP and looks forward to partnering With USAID again to serve the people of Liberia.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries of the project have expressed thanks and appreciation to USAID and the YMCA for the interventions in their various communities.
Christopher S. Borbor, a school teacher and peace club coordinator in Todee District, Montserrado County said, through the project, the students are now engaging in peace initiatives in their schools and the communities.
Yehnpue Mahn, a resident of the Japan Freeway, formerly Somalia Drive said, because of this program, the residents in Somalia Drive are now living in harmony. “I want to say thank you to USAID, YMCA and ZOA for the project. Where there used to be confusion and violence, there is now peace. We are living in peace and harmony now,” she said.
The Mayor of Totota Bong County, Clinton Brown noted that the project has made significant impact in his city; noting that it has contributed to the reduction of conflict. He said prior to the launch of the project, his office used to be flooded with cases brought by residents. However, the number of cases have reduced and people have been enlightened to settle dispute amicably.
The CDRP, according to the YMCA was aimed at renewing social fabric within targeted communities to enhance peace building, trust and social cohesion. Its strategic objective was to “Build Capacity of communities to create an enabling environment that enhances community engagement where people are able to reconnect with one another to build trust and safety strengthened.”
In Bomi, the CDRP was implemented in Tubmanburg; for Bong, Totota and Gbarnga were covered and in Montserrado, Somalia Drive & Todee benefited. In Lofa, Foya was targeted; and for Nimba, it was carried out in Sanniquellie; while Zwedru was the targeted area for Grand Gedeh County.