GBARNGA, Bong County – Sundayboy Kolorwhen, 52, described himself as an agent of peace following his 15-week training in Community Based Sociotherapy (CBS) sponsored by ZOA and the Angie Brooks International Centre.
As a former fighter of the civil war in Liberia and someone regarded as a violent person by locals in Forquelleh, the father of four children told FrontPageAfrica he’s been resolving disputes in his community since completing the training.
By Selma Lomax, [email protected]
“I was very bad in my community and everyone had problem with me. But the CBS has helped to change me. Today, I am helping to solve disputes in my community. I have become one of the community leaders,” he said.
Also, S. Aloycious Kollie, a facilitator of the program, said the program has given them the proper understanding of violence and that it is only in a peaceful atmosphere that development can come.
He said the CBS has helped youths to de-emphasize all acts that are capable of causing hatred and dissaffection amongst the people. “We want to say a big thank you to ZOA and Angie Brooks International Centre for providing the opportunity to us (youths, residents of Bong County) to denounce violence. What we learned over the period will leave a lasting legacy not only for us but our children,” he said.
The CBS program is a researched and accepted methodology that helps citizens to develop skills to deal with traumatic stress, to foster forgiveness and empathy, to resolve conflict and to build consecutive relationships within families.
ZOA’s ‘Contributing to Reconciliation through Enhanced Co-existence, Resilience and Civic Engagement and Responsibility project carried out in Bong, Grand Kru and Sinoe Counties has made significant impacts during the three-year period, maintaining peaceful co-existence among residents as part of government’s national development agenda, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Co-financed by the European Union, the project began in 2020 and ended in December of 2022, the outcomes of the project focused on “improved mental health, psychological well-being and social relations” between Liberians in the three affected counties.
The official closing program of the project, held at the Gbarnga Administration building on December 14 brought together 53 participants, including project beneficiaries, county leaders and local leaders from the project communities in the three counties.
Remarking during the program, ZOA Liberia Country Director, Jaap van Kranenburg appreciated the European Union for making the funds available for the project.
Mr. van Kranenburg also thanked the Angie Brooks International Centre and all 21 participating partner civil society organizations, including support staff and community members for accepting the project in their various communities.
The ZOA Liberia Country Director at the same time lauded the Liberian government and local officials in the project affected counties for their warm support to ZOA and the Angie Brooks International Centre, which he said led to the successful implementation of the project.
For his part, the chairperson of ZOA Bong County CSO network, Prince Cooper, highlighted the impact of the project on their various institutions through capacity building.
Mr. Cooper said the project greatly helped different CSOs in Bong County to improve on their proposal writing and organizational management skills.
He thanked ZOA, the Angie Brooks International Centre and the European Union for the project.
Also speaking, Grand Kru County Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Teddy Gbowoe, thanked the donor (EU) and the implementing partners (ZOA & the Angie Brooks International Centre) for taking such a worthy project to his County.
He said the impact of the project is visible in Grand Kru County, particularly in the area of land conflict resolution.
“Grand Kru is one of the counties with a very high number of land conflicts in Liberia, but with the help of this project, we can clearly see a huge reduction in those cases,” he said.
“We look forward to seeing more of such initiative in Grand Kru and possibly across the entire country particularly rural communities in order to sensitize our people,” he concluded.