Twenty farmers and community residents recently received training to develop the country’s Agriculture sector by improving food production.
The farmers ended a four-day United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO) workshop in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County that integrated productivity in agriculture with peace-building in Nimba, River Gee and Maryland Counties.
The training of trainers’ seminar built the capacity of the participants through knowledge sharing and skills development for improving production in agriculture, livelihood diversification, peace building and unity fostering.
Speaking at the end of the training, the UN Human Security Trust Fund Project Coordinator, Albert Kpassawah, said the project recognized the efforts of past interventions by extending its scope in a developmental context to ensure sustainability.
The project also addressed the multi-sector causes of human insecurity in vulnerable populations of southeastern Liberia.
He said when the Ivorian crisis broke out in 2010 – 2011, refugees came to Liberia and settled along the border.
“Those people received some humanitarian assistance while communities far away from the border didn’t get as much help. It is these areas that are the focus of this project intervention,” added Kpassawah.
The project, titled “Human Security Initiative in the Most Neglected Communities with the Integration of Efforts by the UN Country Team in Liberia”, catered to needy beneficiaries in the four counties.
The project was a joint effort, comprising FAO, UNICEF, UNFPA, ILO, WFP and UN Women, with support from UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)) as well as the government of Liberia.
Grand Gedeh County Assistant Superintendent for Development, Abraham T. Gbeway, challenged the participants to be up to the task. “It is not just providing food but to also unite the communities. Know that you are in competition not to fail but to become an ambassador for all,” he said.
The head of UNMIL Field Office (HOFO), Napoleon Viban, said “it is obvious that food security is vital to national security because a hungry man is an angry man.”
He described the workshop was necessary to exert energy and ensure there is peace and security for farmers. He then pledged UNMIL’s total support for the project.
The peace-building component of the workshop was conducted by Liberian conflict resolution specialist James C. Ballah who stressed the relevance of peace-building to development. “Peace begins in the family and flows out into the community and society, which is essential for development,” he said.
Ballah emphasized that in peace-building people go to great lengths to consolidate peace, and must not stop at what satisfies them. He urged participants to be messengers of peace and avoid acts that serve as ingredients for chaos.
He pointed out that of the two main aspects of peace – active peace and passive peace – active peace should be utilized and prioritized much more because “it is positive and constructive based on values and understanding as it flows from within the individual person.”
Passive peace, he said, is the opposite and should be avoided when and wherever possible.
At the end of the workshop recently, participants pledged their commitment to work with local leaders and farmers. Lydia Y. Dahn from Nimba County said: “I learned new things, especially how to bring peace in communities and how to mediate between conflicting people. I am going home to work with my people on the importance of agriculture and peacebuidling.”
Isaac Kyne of Zleh Town, Grand Gedeh County, was clear about his role in his community: “I want to be a role model in building peace in a positive, active manner for farmers and families.”
Another participant, Abraham T. Chorbuo of Gbarzon District in Grand Gedeh County, said he will apply his skills on himself, adding, “If I don’t even go into the communities, I will now be able to control my emotions and then be in the position to help other people in my district.”