U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, has told Liberian small businesses and farmers receiving grants from the embassy to demonstrate sincerity and make impact in their respective communities as she will be following them to assess their productivity. She made the statement on October 26, in the multipurpose room of the embassy, where 16 different groups received a total of US$105,000 in grant money to help enhance various projects they are undertaking in their communities.
In a prelude to signing the grant, Ambassador Elder said, “Each of you here today represents the commitment to use your hands to make this country stronger. The U.S. Embassy is proud to support the work each of you is doing for the betterment of your communities and for Liberia. I look forward to visiting some of you in the field to see the impact we will make together through the self-help grants and the projects you implement across the country.”
There were two categories of disbursements; those receiving support from the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund and others benefiting from the United States African Development Foundation (ADF).
The Special Self-Help Project was allotted US$80,000. The recipients include the following groups from 10 counties: Apoliabo Women Development Initiative of Gbason, Sinoe County US$4,600; Belle Yellah Youth for Development, Gbarpolu County; Community Volunteers Network in Kpain, Nimba County, US$6,500; and Forkpoh Youth Development Association, Grand Kru County, US$5,390.
Others are Grassroots Agency for Social Services in Jueh, Rivercess County, US$5275; Hands of Faith Health Center in Voinjama, Lofa County, US$9,760; Lawalazu Youth Action, Lofa County, US$6,240; Prison Fellowship Liberia, Montserrado County, US$9,200; and Rural Development Initiative Facilitator in Kakata, Margibi County, US$7,058.
Additionally, the Sheriken Women Empowerment Association in Woloken, River Gee County received US$5,229; Swakamore Development Association in Montserrado got US$4,625; while the Thinkers Village Community Clinic in Montserrado County received US$9,623.
For the African Development Foundation Fund, recipients included Bakuma Self Help Farmers in Lofa County received US$5,890; Grassroots Agency for Social Services in Gaynamah, Gbarpolu County received US$6,550; Ganedu Vulnerable Women Organization in Lofa County got US$5,800; and Youth At Heart in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County got US$6,760.
The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund was established in Togo in 1964 as an experimental and modest self-help program for Africa.
It is a grassroots assistance program that allows Ambassadors to respond to small community-based development projects that promise to have immediate and positive impacts on the communities where they are implemented.
Since it began in Liberia in 2004, the Special Self-Help program has funded 173 projects in 15 counties, disbursing over US$800,000 and impacting more than 264,000 Liberians.
The U.S. African Development Foundation program has been here since 2009, and has contributed between US$25,000 and US$50,000 to fund similar small-scale projects in Liberia to promote food security.
A U.S. Embassy release noted that over 100 proposals were received for small grants and 16 projects were selected. Twelve of the projects were funded through the U.S. Department of State’s Economic Support Fund and the four through the ADF grants.
Recipients’ proposals show that the grants will be used to facilitate projects including agriculture, skills training in soap making, tailoring, carpentry, tie-dyeing, animal husbandry, improve access to water and healthcare, and provision of cassava grinders.
A beneficiary, Jerry S. Peters, expressed gratitude on behalf of the recipients and urged his compatriots to live up to their respective commitments.
The Development Superintendent of Rivercess, Ruth Sawmadal, also commended the US government for the grants and told recipients to meaningfully use them to impact their respective communities.
Like Ambassador Elder, Superintendent Sawmadal said as local authorities they will follow up with recipients to ensure that the grants meet the intended purposes.