Liberia: Internal Affairs, Public Works and Partners Intensify Awareness on Road Maintenance 


Gbarnga, Bong County – Several community-based Organizations (CBOS) within Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties   including Chiefs, community and religious leaders, media, traditional women as well as youths    have benefited from intensive capacity building and sensitization workshop on the National Road Fund of Liberia road Maintenance Program.

 The capacity building and awareness workshops   are part of ongoing Community Engagement and Outreach funded by the National Road Fund of Liberia. The activities are meant to popularize the role of the National Road Fund (NRF) among the citizenry at all levels in urban and rural communities.    The Ministry of Internal Affairs is leading the exercise along with the Public Works and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Road Fund Office Mr. Boniface D. Satu. A local firm, Design Tech & Communications in facilitating the exercise.

Speaking at the separate opening of the CBOS capacity building workshop in Gbartala Bong County, on March 19, 2020 and that of Lofa on March 21, 2020 in Gbarnga as well Nimba in Sacleapea on March 22, the Technical Focal Person in the Office of the Minister of Internal   Affairs, D. Emmanuel Wheinyue rallied local government and communities to take ownership of roads and bridges constructed and rehabilitated in their localities.

Mr. Wheinyue said his call comes in the wake of reports that the residents are in constant habit of extracting laterite from secondary or farm-to-market roads and mining sand near bridges and culverts.

“These actions undermine development, no one is allowed to take rock from the road and dig sand near bridges. This causes erosion and leads to spoiling of the road infrastructure”. Mr. Wheinyue told separate gatherings.

He also educated the participants on the importance   of the National Road Fund and its impacts on the country road connectivity.

He said over  the years  the Government of Liberia  and its partners constructed  roads  across  the country,  but due  to  the lack of maintenance plan  those roads got damaged. 

 “ Liberian People cannot  take care of  things  I am talking about maintenance , because we cannot  maintain our roads so as  the result,  some partners came  to Liberia  and say if we build  the road  for you , how will you maintain  the road, because we do not have a maintenance program, so  the Government  in 2016 through  the Legislature passed National Road Fund into Law.

Currently the Government collects fuel levy on every gallon of gas or other petroleum products, Government will take twenty five cents for road maintenance “he told the participants.

  According to Mr. Wheinyue   to maintain roads across the country, the Liberian Government through the Legislature established the National Road Fund of Liberia.

He said the objective of the National Road Fund of Liberia is to   manage the usage of the funding for the maintenance of roads across the country.

He told the gathering that the Government through the Ministry of Public Works uses the funding generated for road maintenance and constructions of new roads including the payment of Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for structures that are demolished during the building of the roads.

Mr. Wheinyue further encouraged the local leaders to work collectively with the Community Based Organizations, to ensure that their respective community’s roads are maintain and protected.

He disclosed that most of the Community roads and that of some major roads are funded by the Liberian Government through the road fund.

The Technical Focal Person in the Office of the Minister of Internal   Affairs further appreciated local leaders including women and youth groups, religious leaders for participating and expressing interest in working with the CBOs in maintaining and keeping their communities clean as well as   the maintenance of their roads.

For his part the Coordinator for Donor Project at the Ministry of Public Works, Mr. Albert Toukolon who facilitated on  the importance and structure of the CBO Program including road maintenance and impact on  the road network , urged  the various community based organizations  that are working  to maintain  the community roads,  to work   with the local leaders especially  the chiefs and  the  commissioners  with in their respective areas.

He also challenged   them, to constantly conduct meetings with their local leaders and that of the community dwellers, regarding their activities.

According to Mr. Toukolon, the involvement of the community inhabitants and  their  leaders  will make  them to take ownership  of the project, something  that will help the CBOS greatly  in maintaining the roads. 

Also speaking was the Director for Community Services at the Ministry of Public Works, Rose Dunah who facilitated on Hygiene Promotion: Community led total sanitation, emphasized the significant of keeping the community and that of the roads clean and free from open defecation.

According to her, most of those communities that were open defecation free are now gone back to open defecation.

She challenged the CBOs Leaders to take the lead in providing education to the community dwellers on the significant of building toilets at their respective homes.   

Speaking early, Yellequelleh Administrative District Commissioner, Annie Reeves expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and that of Public Works   and partners for formulating such an event with the objective to train the community residents concerning   the District road connectivity.

She however highlighted that the community residents are using the roadside for dumpsite with in Gbartala City.

She described the situation as unhealthy for the city and its inhabitants.

Madam Reeves urged the community residents and that of the   local leaders to work collectively in keeping the city clean as well as maintaining the roads.

At the same time the Acting District Education Officer in Sacleapea, Hilton Bleeton vow to take on the awareness in educating the public not to take away the gravels   from the road and that of sand from around the bridges.

He told the assembly that with the level of information they have acquired from both the team from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and that of the Ministry of Public Works on the Road Fund and how they as citizens need to take ownership of their road it was time for them  to take action  in providing such information  to  their community dwellers.

The Acting District Education Officer committed himself to uphold that vital information relating to the protection of the road in line with the law.

“I will use my radio show   to talk about the road fund including the classroom whenever I am teaching “he said.

Also speaking during the workshop, the District Commissioner, Keneih Kuoh Miapuie called on the National Government to empower the local authorities with subsidy.

According to her with such support it will enable them to get their residents to have their towns and communities clean by brushing the side of the roads.

She raise an observation that those of the Community Based Organizations that are supported through the road fund with in her area are not recognizing their authorities.

 The Commissioner further said    regardless   of   the benefit that those of the CBOs   are receiving from the Road Fund it was prudent that they informed her office about their programs as a means of coordination between her office and them.

Commissioner Kuoh Miapuie   used the opportunity to expressed gratitude to the team from both Internal Affairs and Public Works including Design Teah and Communication for the level of work in building their capacity on the road fund.

For his part the District Superintendent Arthur Sahn assured the public that his office will work along with the communities and towns to ensure that their roads are brush at all-times.

 Moreover, Sacleapea City Major Jeremiah Yangean also committed to ensure that the residents do not dump garbage on the streets and remove the gravel.

During the workshop, members of the CBOs that are working with the Ministry of Public Works through the National Road Fund of Liberia some of them told the gathering that they were able to build their homes, and send their children to school from their salaries through the Road fund.

Other indicated that it was through the project that they were able to established businesses    and cater to the medical needs of their families.

Community Based Organizations that participated in the workshop included, Voinjama and Quardu Gboni United for Peace and Development, Voinjama and Quardu Gboni Development Association, Yellequelleh District Association, Yeapukema Development Association, Kukaitonnor Development Association, the Sehdohzean Development Association and Guadoumzua Development Association.    

The engagements in the three counties was in continuation of the awareness and sensitization for the National Road Fund.

Since mid-2021, the NRF, MIA and MPW have been engaged in awareness raising at various levels including jingles, radio talk shows, and town hall meeting styled activities in Nimba, Bong, Lofa, Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa Counties. There was a media forum held in December in Kakata in collaboration with the Press Union Liberia (PUL).

Meanwhile, The CEO of the National Road Fund, Mr. Boniface D. Satu has indicated that through the NRF’s Annual Road Maintenance Expenditure Program, Inter-Ministerial Committee Steering Committee (IMSC) will approve an expansion of the community engagement to the rest of the Country because the projects funded the Road Fund are in all 15 Counties.

The IMSC chaired by the Minister of Public Works, comprises the Ministers of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP, Transport (MOT), Commerce & Industry (MOCI) and Internal Affairs (MIA).