Transforming Rural Settlements into Engines of Socio-economic Growth

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A German humanitarian has urged Liberians and their support partners to join in the transformation of rural communities/settlements into vibrant socio-economic belts for development, growth and progress.

Mr. Rudolf Janke made the statement recently in the transformed village of Konjorloe/Konjorlahun while discussing with women, chiefs and elders on the importance of micro-credit for their socio-economic improvement in Foya Statutory District, Lofa County.

For the past four years, Mr. Janke and his support partners in Germany and Liberians in the United States of America have assisted the citizens and residents of Konjorloe and other villages in the areas of sanitation and infrastructure development.

As a result of such accomplishments, other sustained plans are now being worked out to include other villages that have demonstrated some initiative in maintaining the critically needed sanitation facilities.

Mr. Janke and partners through the Village People’s Empowerment (VIPE) has rendered assistance to rural dwellers through the reconstruction of Konjorloe, a village that was completely destroyed during the 15 years civil conflict in Liberia.

Mr. Janke, women, men and a team of professional Liberians of VIPE have worked hard and restored critical sanitation facilities such as modern bathrooms and latrines.

The German national reminded the interest free soft loans beneficiaries that paying the loans on time were critical to the extension of similar assistance to other needy communities in the Foya Statutory District.

According to him, livelihood components in the form of goats, sheep and others could not be sustained due to the destructive nature of the domestic animals to crops such as rice, cassava and variety of foodstuffs.

He said that VIPE is also providing some assistance to the school feeding program and some of the teachers are being paid by local non-governmental organizations.

The VIPE team and Mr. Janke also developed strategies that have enabled the citizens and residents of Konjorloe to build better houses through soft loans under a revolving scheme for the past four years of operations.

Other critical projects undertaken and completed include rehabilitation of the school, a new mid-wives’ residence and recruiting business instructor Florence Korsor to train the rural women in better business practices.

Despite the multiple challenges in working with the rural dwellers so they can understand the repayment of the interest of the free soft loans, significant progress has been made in the lives of the citizens and residents of Konjorloe.

In separate interviews the residents of Konjorloe village expressed gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Janke and the team from the VIPE for the assistance over the years.

Beneficiary Tawah Kumba Borwah, 45, told the Daily Observer that the interest free soft loan initiative has transformed her life and her family of five children.

“I really want the soft loan initiative to be extended to other villages in the area,” Madam Borwah stressed.

Madam Lusu Momo, 48, said that the soft loans have given their house hold splendid socio-economic benefits such as the paying of school fees and other social benefits.

“Me and my family of six children have greatly benefited as we now live in a better house and have good sanitation facilities,” explained Madam Momo.

In related developments, plans are being developed to educate more trainers of the micro-credit component of the VIPE’s socio-economic empowerment of rural Liberians in that part of the country.

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