Liberia: Naymote, LIS Enhance Legislative Staff Capacity

Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, in partnership with the Legislative Information Service (LIS), held a one-day seminar on legislative strengthening and effectiveness for staffers at the National Legislature.

The seminar, held at a resort in Sinkor took place under the theme: “Advancing the Culture of Legislative Openness and Ensuring Citizens’ Interests are Represented,” and aimed to develop the capacity of legislative personnel and enhance their professional skills.

The event also brought together Central Legislative Staffers, the Swedish Ambassador, and House Chair on Judiciary, Rep. Michael Thomas, Senate Pro-Tempore Madam Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, among other partners.

Mr. Eddie D. Jarwolo, Executive Director of Naymote, who spoke during the opening of the seminar, stated that the program is a beginning of a long term engagement with non-elected members of the Legislature, intended to brighten their knowledge in making public information transparent.

He underscored the need for collective effort between Staffers of the House of Representatives and Senate in providing adequate data collection for the public. 

Jarwolo also outlined a couple of planned engagements that are to be implemented by his institution including Legislative Engagement Guide, Legislative Internship Program, all intended to promote the image of the national legislature.

“[As] Civil Society, we are not enemy to the government; instead we want to work with the government to succeed,” he said.

Also speaking, Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, Urban Sjöström lauded Naymote and Liberians as a whole for their role during the Transition Period. 

He cautioned Civil servants of Liberia to remain focused in reminding the government of its commitments made to their citizens. According to him, despite their critical role as civil servants, there's a need to respect the various roles of government in order to have a vibrant democracy.

For his part, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee at the House of Representatives, Michael Thomas, embraced the initiative from NAYMOTE and LIS, terming the capacity-building exercise as the bedrock for excellent legislative performance. Mr. Thomas disclosed the prospect of LIS being transformed into the “Liberia Institute of Legislative Studies.”