Grand Bassa County Service Center (CSC) has shown great potential for fulfilling its mandate by bringing service delivery closer to residents of the county. The center is part of government’s decentralization plan.
Since the dedication of the service center in June by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in Buchanan, the center has improved on its operations by providing the necessary services, including line ministries, agencies and commissions (MACS), through the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This is vital as the Ministry oversees the processing and issuance of marriage certificates, drivers’ licenses, permits and other important documents used by various sectors – documents that were not available to citizens of this great county.
With funding from the European Union and managed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the CSC is a one-stop shop set up under the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) to ensure that major documentation services are accessible to rural residents.
Operating the center in the county has reduced the struggle by many rural residents to access work permits, marriage and birth certificates, land deeds, business permits and registration as well as license plates, among others.
According to CSC coordinator, Sargacious Gardoe, over 900 people accessed the facility between July and September.
He said that a revenue intake of over US$10,000 was realized during the three-month period from fees collected from the services provided at the center.
A breakdown of the services accessed at the center showed that they are high for birth registrations for children between the ages of 0-12 years, which tops the list with 392; followed by psycho-social interventions at 265; business registrations 106; and traditional marriage certificates, about 100.
Mr. Gardoe said they are also engaged in routine community outreach and sensitization to attract more customers to the facility.
He expressed the hope that over a period of five years, the CSC will become a “household name” in the area of decentralization with the availability of needed logistics and expertise to sustain the initiative.
The government of Liberia through a European Union Grant contribution is facilitating the actualization of service centers in eight of the 15 counties under the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) managed by the UNDP in Liberia. Other partners are the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UMMIL) and the government of Sweden.
The Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, Lena Nordstron, applauded progress made thus far over the first 3-month period, with UNDP Country Director Kamaluddeen expressing appreciation for the good work being done, mentioning that the first three months have shown reduction of transportation costs for over 900 people who would have visited Monrovia to access important services.
Meanwhile, renovation works on the telecommunications building in Buchanan has been completed and is now ready to be used as a Country Service Center.