UNHCR Deploys Community Empowerment Workers


Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

September 15, 2004

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has deployed 35 Community Empowerment Project (CEP) workers in four district in Lofa County namely: Voinjama, Zorzor, Salayea and Kolahun. The CEP workers are expected to guide residents to identify needs and facilitate in developing proposals that address community needs, in particular targeting women, youth and disabled.

Their deployment, according to UNHCR Briefing Notes, followed an intensive training workshops organized by UNHCR in collaboration with Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC). The workshop held recently in Voinjama, Lofa County is part of efforts of UNHCR in building the capacity of LRRRC to strengthen its presence and facilitate easy access to the right information.

CEP involves in small-scale interventions managed by communities themselves. These will include programmes to combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and SGBV, skills development, rice drying/milling, seed banks, vegetable gardening, rehabilitation of community schools, strengthening women groups, women literacy programmes, youth development programmes, carpentry/masonry workshops, community bakery, support to community services, peace building programmes, environmental protection programmes, and capacity building to the communities.

UNHCR will provide funds for the implementation of the CEP through its implementing partner. Meanwhile proposal are being received from various communities in areas of return.

In a related development, the LRRRC/UNHCR training for Camp Watch Teams in the six IDP camps of Bong County began on 2 September. 63 team members were trained during the first phase of the programme, which lasted for two days. The programme covered Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, CWT guidelines, participation by women, working with the police and other authorities, SGBV, and child protection. Colleagues from LRRC, UNHCR Protection and Field Safety, IRC, CIVPOL and SCF UK facilitated the sessions.

Meanwhile, efforts are being pursued to encourage the participation of women at the training workshop. Raingear, flashlights and whistle were distributed at the end of the training to all participants.

At the same time, a one-day training organized for Supervisors identified by NRC for returnee, profiling and community assessment exercise, was conducted in Bomi County, according to a release. The supervisors will be deployed in each of the seven regional offices in the country to oversee the work of the monitors. The NRC staff and UNHCR Protection facilitated the training. Also, discussions on issues of registration and border monitoring activities as well as the identification of crossing points and CEP projects are being held with local authorities in Maryland County. A tentative plan for monitoring activities outside of Maryland County has been drawn up.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.