Liberia: ProForest Concludes Training for Agro-Community Representatives to Improve Land Rights Advocacy
Buchanan – Proforest in collaboration with the National Bureau for Concessions (NBC) over the weekend trained over 20 stakeholders who are members of Multi Stakeholders Platform (MSP) from across the countries.
The two-day event was organized with funding from the British Government through DFID (Department for International Development) under the FGMC (Forest Governance Markets and Climate) Programme.
Like most tropical countries, deforestation, land tenure/right, smallholder inclusion, child labour and gender inequality are the key issues associated with agro-commodity production in Liberia, according to Proforest, the organizer of the training.
And Proforest said that the purpose of the training was to build the capacity and skills of facilitators of these platforms to effectively facilitate the national and sub-national MSPs to address issues particularly those around land rights/tenue associated with agro-commodity production.
Amongst several other things, the training focused on the enhancing the knowledge of facilitators on new Land Reform Act and issues arising, build capacity and skills in setting up and facilitating MSPs and Enhance the knowledge of facilitators on conflicts associated with MSPs and build capacity on conflict management approaches.
James Parker, a representative of Proforest, told FrontPageAfrica that the training was aimed at building the capacity and skills of facilitators of the various MSPs to effectively facilitate the national and sub-national platforms in order to address issues about land rights and tenure associated with agro-commodity production.
“The objective of MSP training was to enhance the knowledge of facilitators on new Land Reform Act and to build their capacities in conflicts associated with MSP,” said Parker.
“Agro-commodity and timber production are important components in the socio-economic development of many tropical countries; however, the potential for benefits is undermined by risk of deforestation and related negative social and environmental impacts including child and forced labor, land right issues and gender inequality.
“We’ve trained our brothers and sisters because they are the ones going back to the communities to help others. I’m sure that they will do their best to spread the knowledge gained.”
Manu Kamara, Assistant Director General of the National Bureau Concession, said the target participants were facilitators of the commission’s multi stakeholders’ platform set-up in various concession areas across the country.
Civil society organizations, non-governmental organization, staffs of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Forestry Development Authorities were involved in facilitating agricultural and forestry platforms, Kamara said.
The NBC set up 15 sub-national MSPs to discuss and address land tenure/right issues association with concessions allocations to agro-commodity companies.
Heltor Wragbo, a participant who represented Ablojay – an MSG based in District #3, Grand Bassa County, said he “really enjoyed the training most especially those topics that had to do with conflict resolution and the land Rights Act”.
Wragbo continued: “Distinguishing and coping with different perspective, understanding conflicts, conflict analysis and management, and managing conflicts mediation and skills required were all very important topics that I am going to make use of. I am going to use the knowledge gained from the training to enlighten others.”
At the same time, Rose Somah, who represented an MSP based in Bong County, asserted that the training served as a motivation for her.
“I want to say thank you to Proforest and NBC for organizing training for us,” Somah said. “I am going to use the training to help others in my communities.”
GalahToto, who represented the National Oil Palm Platform of Liberia (NOPPOL), described the move to organize the training as a “very good” decision.
“I really captured many good things during the training most especially the issue of conflict resolutions and the land right act of Liberia meant well for me,” he said, while calling on the NBC and Proforest to conduct the training bi-annually.