Local residents of Bentol, Careysburg District, have begun engaging in self-help initiatives in the absence of budgetary support from government to meet their development needs.
Under the leadership of Bentol City Mayor Christine Tolbert Norman, the local residents are engaged in manpower development that seeks to empower youths and women to produce and provide goods and services.
In addition, the youth who are between 25 and 35 are trained at the William R. Tolbert Empowerment and Enlightenment Center to develop self realization.
According to City Mayor Norman, the young people are taught values, including integrity, honesty, and truth and other social norms that can transform them in society.
The locals are also trained in food processing, computer literacy, agriculture, sewing, amongst others, which she said will enable the local people to have some gainful employment.
Mayor Norman in an interview with the Daily Observer yesterday said that they are engaged in health and sanitation awareness, enlightening locals how to care for their environment by keeping it clean and spreading health messages in schools, churches and in communities.
“When the youths are made to know and trust themselves, they will have that psychosocial enlightenment of what they subscribe to. We are therefore trying to work with them to know and trust themselves and develop some core values,” she said.
According to Mayor Norman market women are also people on her agenda to build them a market structure so they can have a specific place to sell their goods, instead of going to the Red Light market where they sit in the sun all day long.
“We are working to build their market and find customers who will go to Bentol to purchase processed food, including potato greens, grinded cassava leave and other food stuff,” the Bentol Mayor noted.
Mayor Norman, who is a daughter of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr., told this newspaper that the City has planned a festival on February 21 to celebrate partners who have immensely contributed to their self-help initiatives and to recognize efforts of the locals in cleaning up their communities.
At the occasion, she said she would sign and subsequently launch a book titled, “It is Time for Change.” The book according to her highlights the legacy of the late President William R. Tolbert in nation and institution building.
She said it contains speeches of the late President on principles and policies he pursued during his regime.
She said they include the late president’s position on the establishments of the Mano River Union (MRU), West African Rice Development Association (WARDA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and inspirational speeches made at the Baptist Alliance.
Also, the late president’s domestic policy of ‘Total Involvement in Higher Heights’ and the educational policy that allowed many to acquire education are highlighted.
She said proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to support the William R. Tolbert Education Foundation.
According to her, the family is currently constructing the foundation and will contain a museum, library and training areas for young people.