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Poverty in Liberia
As peace returned to Liberia, the focus has shifted to improve living conditions for 80 percent of the population who live below the poverty line. Already, progress can be seen in terms of primary school completion rates which increased from 21 percent in 2002 to 62 percent in 2008. But, there is much more work to be done. Here are just some of the organizations working to reduce poverty in Liberia

5 Organizations Working to Reduce Poverty in Liberia

  1. Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE)
    To increase educational resources, CODE has partnered with the WE-CARE Foundation (WCF) to provide professional training as well as support to local teachers. These mentorships are crafted with the help of publishers,  academics, teachers and authors. In addition, the two organizations are one of the only sources of locally-written literature for children.
  2. ActionAid Liberia
    ActionAid believes that empowering women and girls is critical to addressing poverty in Liberia. In efforts to achieve their goals, the organization implemented the Safe Cities Program in Gbarnga, Monrovia, Zwedru and Buchanan. This program is designed to address violence against women in public spaces such as universities and city streets. Safe Cities also supports advocacy meetings with governing bodies, executes local and national awareness campaigns about the program and works to improve the national taskforce against sexual and gender-based violence.
  3. Save the Children
    Save the Children began supporting Liberian children in 1991 to address the immediate needs of children impacted by the war. Since then, the organization has shifted focused on providing health care, protection and education to reduce poverty in Liberia. The organization’s health program is focused on training health workers, providing essential medication and reconstructing health care facilities. On the educational front, Save the Children’s Liberia Education Program is focused on strengthening the Ministry of Education and communities, thus providing kids an education in a safe and protective environment. Finally, to ensure the protection of the rights of children, Save the Children has also been advocating for the improvement of policy regarding alternative care and reuniting separated children.
  4. Friends of Liberia
    Friends of Liberia is working to reduce poverty in Liberia by expanding U.S.-led teacher training opportunities to K-3 rural teachers, as well as principals on how to best teach the nation’s curriculum while also improving principal to faculty collaboration. The organization is also involved in strengthening the country’s economic sector. Friends of Liberia aim to help the nation develop a middle class through training, modest funding and business development. The organization is also working to provide training opportunities to nurses and midwives in health care centers.
  5. Liberian Assistance Program (LAP)
    To increase educational opportunities for Liberian children, LAP established the Obama School to provide 300 children from kindergarten through ninth grade with an education. The school has 20 staff members, furnished classrooms with tables, bookshelves and textbooks, a cafeteria, electricity and bathrooms with a septic system installed. Although the school was forced to shut down due to the Ebola Crisis in 2014 and 2015, LAP continued to provide 16 staff members of the school a salary for six months. Funds were also provided for rice for the students and rice and soap for the village of Gbonkonimah.

Post-war Liberia is focused on economic growth, gender equality, education and health care.With the efforts of these nonprofit organizations, the government and local communities, Liberia will likely continue to make positive reforms for its people.

– Iris Goa
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Liberia
Located on the western coast of Africa, Liberia is a country rich with beauty and natural resources. The lush green landscape is home to many precious gems and metals. Despite this, poverty in Liberia is a large problem. It ranks 174 out of 187 on the United Nations Development Index. Infectious disease runs rampant in the country and the majority of Liberians have little to no education. Two civil wars in the last 30 years have decimated the country’s infrastructure and led to widespread poverty.

Liberia’s population consists mainly of smallholder farmers that struggle to produce enough to feed their families. This has led to poverty in Liberia reaching 68 percent and 35 percent of the population being malnourished. The civil wars have left the country with inadequate roads, water and other basic infrastructure, which has proving a significant barrier for economic growth.

The country’s civil wars also contributed to the over 250,000 Liberian orphans who frequently suffer from malnutrition and are sometimes completely abandoned. Liberia’s education and health systems are both in need of great improvement. The lack of health care access often leads to high fatality rates among those with treatable or preventable diseases. As far as education goes, only half of Liberians are literate, and many Liberian children are kept out of school in order to help on their families’ farms.

The focus of USAID in combating poverty in Liberia is collaborating with the Liberian government to help rebuild the infrastructure and revitalize mining and other utilization of natural resources in the country. Government strategies focus on stimulating the private sector by providing access to credit and infrastructure to Liberians.

The good thing about Liberia is that it has the landscape and resources available to make it a prosperous country.  Now that a stable government is in place, infrastructure can be rebuilt and resources can be utilized to their full potential. For this reason, one of the pillars of USAID’s action in Liberia is strengthening Democracy and Governance.  Once infrastructure is rebuilt, and this can happen rapidly with the help of USAID, the resources flowing out of Liberia will benefit the global economy and western investment will be paid back in spades.

– Martin Drake

Sources: Children of the Nations, USAID
Photo: UNICEF