By: Augustine N. Myers – The Lutheran Development Service in Liberia (LDS) and the Lutheran Church Trauma Healing & Reconciliation Program have completed a joint Monitoring visit to Gbelay-Geh and Zoe-Geh Districts in Nimba County.
The 3-day Joint Monitoring visit was intended to assess their activities in the Districts, implemented in partnership with the Action by Churches Together (ACT-Alliance).
The monitoring visit took the Team to Kialay, Larpea One and Two, Bahn City and the Refugee Camp, Gbanwen and Buutuo.
The visit specifically looked at activities of the Lutheran Development Service and that of the Lutheran Church Trauma Healing Program, and later that of the Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP), implemented in the interest of Ivorian refugees and host communities.
LDS activities are carried out in Larpea 1 and 2 with separate agriculture activities by Ivorian refugees and host communities, and in Gbanwea and Buutuo with Human Right Education and Peace Building Program through the Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP) which is conducting Human Right Education for Ivorian refugees and host communities. RHRAP, through LDS has also ensured the establishment of a Peace Mediation Committee to settle internal conflicts and ensure peaceful co-existence among the refugees and host communities.
The Lutheran Church in Liberia Trauma Healing & Reconciliation Program is operated in Kialay, Larpea and Bahn with similar efforts to ensuring conflict resolution and peace building.
During the Joint Monitoring and Assessment visit, the LDS-LCL/THRP Team was warmly received by community residents and Ivorian refugees. They commanded the Lutheran Development Service and Lutheran Church Trauma Healing and reconciliation for support to ensure their empowerment and peaceful co-existence.
LDS was represented by Mr. Vandi V. Kallon, Assistant Program Officer, and that LCL/THRP was represented by its Director, Rev. Korboi Weegie.
Both Rev. Weegie and Mr. Kallon encouraged the refugees and host communities to remain focused aimed at always embracing initiatives designed to empower them and bring about unity and growth.
They specifically welcomed initiative undertaken by Ivorian refugees in the Bahn Refugee Camp for a major agriculture boost on the Bahn Refugee Camp. The huge farm land is said to be the first of its kind by Ivorian refugees.
The Joint Monitoring and Assessment Team was impressed upon a visit to the 120 acres of huge farm land already cleared, burned, and that 55 percent of the land has been planted with beans, pepper, corn and other vegetable crops.
The refugees were encouraged to plant more beans and corn so as to be bought on a large scale by local and international NGOs.
The LDS, through Mr. Kallon thanked the refugees and promised all will be done to seek further assistance aimed at improving their conditions.
The Joint Monitoring visit was part of the LDS component in the Act-Alliance Forum Appeal which was initiated by the distribution of Non Food items to Refugees and Host Communities, provision of livelihood support/food security, the construction of 16 hand pump wells, and the rehabilitation of twenty (20) hand pump wells in 16 targeted communities in Nimba County.
LDS also provided relief assistance to Ivorian refugees and host Communities in 16 targeted communities, including New Loguatuo, Old Loguatuo, Kpanplay, Kissiplay, Kenelay 1, Kenelay 2, Dounplay, Devaplay, Douplay, Larpea 2, Larpea 1, Younlay, Gbanplay, Zeanlay, Yeaplay and Karnplay, all in Gbehlay-Geh District in Nimba County.
presently, LDS activities in Nimba county include: 1. Food security (Agriculture) for 48 groups in 16 communities for 70% refugees and 30% host communities for 1200 direct beneficiaries in
Gbelay-Geh District production and 30 groups of refugees in Bahn Refugees camp for 750 direct beneficiaries mainly in vegetable production;
2. Training in Hygiene Promotion for same 48 groups in Gbelay-Geh District;
3. Training in Food Security (Agriculture) for same groups in Gbelay-Geh District; and
4. Hand pump mechanic training for 24 hand pump mechanics.