Carter Center Empowers Liberia Institute for Public Administration

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MONROVIA – The Carter Center with support from the European Union on Monday, April 8, 2019 signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Liberia Institute for Public Administration (LIPA) to increase transparency in the public domain through the adoption and application of freedom of information (FOI) curricula. 

In the last 15 years following the end of its civil war and the instituting of democracy in 2006, Liberians have craved for information on their government and officials to enable both understanding of the workings of government and decisions by government that impact their lives.

However, there remains a huge imbalance in the flow and access to information. It is predicated upon this, the Carter Center is arming LIPA. As part of the project, the Carter Center will develop freedom-of-information training materials and curricula in leading public-sector training institutes, such as the Liberia Institute of Public Administration, the National Police Training Academy, and the James A. A. Pierre Judicial Institute. The Center also will engage academic institutions, including the University of Liberia’s Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, in the creation and adoption of the new freedom-of-information curricula and training courses and in serving as instructors.

LIPA is considered the first in terms of training public administrators in Liberia. LIPA expects that government entities will send their top and middle civil level civil servants for in-service FOI training. 

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Director General of LIPA, Hon. Prof. Alexander N. Yonly noted that the day was wonderful because development was on the scene. He said LIPA current management is taking capacity building to steep level, and that the management finds it remarkable to have the European Union(EU) coming in to support  The Carter Center with where both institutions can work collaboratively to have the FOI project at LIPA.

He intoned that such initiative gives us ken on how we can strength our democracy – where transparency, accountability and the rule of law and things that keep any institution or society vibrant. “Access to information is paramount to strengthening democracy” Mr. Yonly noted.

Mr. Yonly appreciated The Carter Center’s representatives and assured them that LIPA will earnestly work to the terms stipulated in the MoU signed and the ones to come.

Representing the Carter Center, Mr. Dorbor Jallah extends gratitude to the management team of LIPA for working assiduously with them to develop the FOI training curriculum.  He said the FOI act guarantees citizens access to information. The Carter Center and the EU have been closely working to ensure that we be able to develop sustainable capacity within Liberia to build people’s skills and create awareness. 

“ Those institutions that are responsible for capacity development will be capacitated to carry out the mantle of training people- government officials and others in keys roles so that they understand and fulfill the requirement of the FOI Act”Mr. Jallah noted.

Further speaking, Mr. Jallah revealed that The Carter Center has conducted series of workshops in information dissemination and has worked with communication officers since the enactment of the Freedom of Information Law. 

“ The Carter Center’s new goal is to ensure that sustainably that capacity development mechanism remains and is owned by Liberia so that it can continue to thrive” Mr. Jallah asserted. “That is why we have worked with LIPA and other training institutions to develop a full curriculum on freedom of information” he posited. 

He further noted that the FOI training project has three components. The first part of it is to indentify institutions and ensure that they have the appropriate resources to implement the curriculum.

The second is to make sure that instructors in the indentified institutions demonstrate the agility to implement the curriculum.

Third is to create awareness within the public of the new FOI curriculum opportunities amongst stakeholders so that people develop interest in them.

He further noted that in working with LIPA, there are three courses models- a diploma course which will be a ten week long and will include one hundred and twenty hours of intensive course work. And upon completion, LIPA will be able to award diplomas to those participants. 

The certificate level course is a three week course long and comes around thirty hours in total and upon completion, participants will be awarded certificates.

The last being a two hour  level course which is an information dissemination that have been developed as a way to create awareness amongst appropriate stakeholders who do not have the ample time to attend the long training levels.

Delivering his closing statement, he appreciates LIPA for its collaboration and further his gratitude to the EU that has made the project a reality. He said the carter center will also work with the Judicial Institute and the Louise Arthur Grimes School of Law. 

The Carter Center believes that access to quality balance, independent information will empower Liberians participation in the democratic process and, enable the people to hold officials, local and national, accountable and be aware of the how and why decisions national government takes and how these would impact the lives of the people. 

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