With support from Mercy Corps and Kvinna till Kvinna, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has launched a joint covid-19 advocacy initiative to work with the Supporting Effective Advocacy in Liberia (SEAL) partners.
SEAL is funded by the European Union under its 11th European Development Fund and is being implemented by Mercy Corps in partnership with Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation (KtK), aiming to directly involve and benefit 11 CSOs, 15 Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and the NCSCL.
It targets 7 counties of Liberia: Montserrado, Rivercess, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, River Gee, Sinoe and Maryland.
The joint advocacy initiative, which was launched in Monrovia was attended by representatives from the NCSCL, CBOs, National Public Health Institute of Liberia, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Embassy of Ireland, EU as well as the Swedish Embassy.
The aim of the initiative is to enhance citizens’ awareness of their rights to basic services, covid-19 vaccination, mechanisms to access them, and document the evidence of access to services across seven of Liberia’s 15 counties where SEAL is operating.
Providing an overview of the program, NCSCL Chairperson, Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai stated that the council will work with the SEAL project team including, 10 civil society organizations and 15 community-based organizations to engage with its members’ based institutions to provide information necessary for the protection and promotion of rights including the rights to health and other basic services.
“Today, we are here to launch our joint advocacy campaign around covid-19 to work with the Supporting Effective Advocacy in Liberia (SEAL) partners and Mercy Corps will work with ten civil society organizations and community based organizations with one in Montserrado and seven in the southeast,” Madam Pope-Kai said.
She said the council will use the medium to distribute basic hygiene materials and demonstrate COVID-19 safety practices to community members; conduct public awareness with women, girls, men and boys and community stakeholders on prevention and eradication of domestic violence and SGBV amidCOVID-19 through mass communication (posters and radio programs).
Madam Pope-Kai also named Montserrado, Rivercess, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, River Gee, Sinoe and Maryland as targeted SEAL counties where the joint advocacy initiative will be carried on.
She said, “We will provide education and access to information concerning citizens’ rights-respecting to COVID-19 needs to ensure that accurate information is provided promptly.”
Madam Pope-Kai said the information gathered will be used to develop open position papers or call to action for the government to respond to citizens’ rights to basic services.
Furthermore, the Council chairperson revealed that the CSOs will develop messages to be aired on radio programs to talk about citizens’ rights to basic services, how to access these services and messages of COVID-19.
In remarks, Mercy Corps acting programs director, Mwesigwa Bikie Isharaza lauded the NCSCL and others partners for embracing the opportunity to launch such a milestone initiative in the country.
Isharaza charged the SEAL partners (CSOs and CBOs) to execute their respective work plans with confidence for the benefit of the people of Liberia.
He emphasized the importance of the initiative under the SEAL project because it will enable CSOs to contribute to inclusive wealth, job creation for a more equal and transparent society in support of the Liberia 2020 agenda that talks about transformation.
Isharaza further pledged Mercy Corps commitment to work with CSOs to ensure that the initiative becomes successful and as well as contribute towards strengthening not only the CSOs in making them credible actors but also the citizens of Liberia.
For her part, the head of KtK, Aisha Lai, expressed delight over the launch of the joint covid-19 initiative in the country.
“My only message to you today is to be an example in your communities, organizations on how to prevent Covid-19,” she said.
Godo Kolubah, Program Advisor for Governance at the Embassy of Ireland to Liberia, sees the launch of the joint covid-19 initiative as an opportunity to reach many people, especially those who could not get the information about the vaccines and preventions mechanism.
Meanwhile, Chester A. Smith, Director of National Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health, and Joseph Weah, Communication and Advocacy Lead of NPHIL, who officially launched the advocacy initiative further commended Mercy Corps, NCSCL and highlighted the urgent need for an all-hands-on-deck approach to end the covid-19 pandemic in Liberia.