Search For Common Ground Relaunches Project on SSR and Governance


Monrovia – Search for Common Ground (SFCG)-Liberia has re-launched its capacity building program for civil society organizations (CSOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) nationwide.

Report by Danesius Marteh, [email protected]

The project, which was interrupted by the Ebola pandemic in 2014, will focus on programmatic, financial and institutional capacities and networking and information sharing.

SFCG Liberia country director Aaron Weah told a gathering of beneficiaries in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County that their interest grew after an assessment showed that the organizations were facing challenges in those areas.

Weah said they have succeeded in having national and county-based partners working together for the first time in the civil society sector with a focus on security sector reform (SSR) and decentralization.

“We are very pleased that we are back in this room and that the project is well on course and we are about to rollout this project for the next one year.

The focus for this project for this term is going to primarily be on the security sector reform and decentralization.

“You are aware that the first major part of UNMIL’s drawdown is now complete. They have now transferred security responsibility to the government.

And on the governance side, the government has kicked-off the decentralization with the first major phase of de-concentration.   

“The two major centers will be Grand Bassa and Bong Counties. So the project is aligned with these prevailing developments.

So we’ll spend the next two days, after this formal part of the program, talking about that,” said Weah on August 10. 

According to Weah, a gathering took place in January to review the challenges, hurdles, changes, impacts, successes and gaps after two years of the project.

“We went around the room reflecting on what has been achieved. And it was revealing even though we did an M&E [monitoring and evaluation] exercise to see what the results were. We supported reports to Sida [Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency]. But sometimes it is good to step back and have a conversation.

“It was reassuring and uplifting to know that this is not another capacity building or capacity strengthening exercise but this was a three-year program that has had some substantial results,” added Weah. 

Grand Bassa County Superintendent Levi Demmah, who formally launched the project, called on Liberians to maintain and sustain the peace.

Demmah said Liberia and its partners must strengthen capacity, dialogue and governance at the local level and praised SFCG and Sida for taking the bold step.

“In that way, we understand our dos and don’ts. In my mind, civil society actors are critical partners to government’s programs.

They are there to help us, in some instances, to checkmate on some of the things we do in a more constructive way. 

“Every time you criticize or provide some information without providing solutions, it means you are engaging in mere politics. So sometimes we say leave the politics with us and engage in your technical work to help us to find solutions to the problems.

And so it is critical that we strengthen our capacity and dialogue mechanism for us to move forward,” Demmah stressed.

He lauded SFCG and partners for doing a critical review of the project and its relaunch in the wake of UNMIL drawdown and handing over of the residual security responsibility to government.

Some of the organizations present were Security Sector Reform Working Group (SSRWG), Bassa Youth Caucus and Grand Bassa County Women Development Association (Bawoda).

SFCG worked with various communities to commemorate people who died in Liberia from Ebola either with a religious ceremony or memorial in Grand Cape Mount and Bong Counties.