A pro-democracy and human Rights organization, the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND), has released its 2017 annual report, highlighting the success and challenges faced during the year under review.
Roosevelt A.K. Woods, executive director of FIND, who spoke to journalists at his Randall Street office in Monrovia, said the organization performed remarkably well in terms of outreach, consolidation of partnership and reaching out to new partners in accordance with the organization’s mission and vision for Liberia.
“We did not have to ‘survive’ as an institution in 2016, but for 2017 that was not actually the case primarily, because I think the government was winding down and have a lot of things in mind to deal with so they were not spending time on petty organizations like FIND… they strangulate you and go to your donor and say ‘Hi! Don’t give this guy money, because you give them a lot and they misused it’… we never had that kind of situation last year.
“So they opened up a little bit in 2017 and the international community started coming to give us support. That was not really a challenge as compared to 2016… last year was very successful,” Woods stated.
He said during the year under review, FIND was able to collaborate with the European Union (EU) through the office of the Special Representative of the President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to implement the “Emergency Support to Preventive Diplomacy and Related to Ensure a Free, Fair and Peaceful Elections Project in Liberia.”
Woods recalled that the meeting with the international partners was intended to provide emergency assistance aimed at creating conditions for working collaboratively with citizens in ensuring a peaceful environment for the 2017 Elections as well as to prevent elections-related violent conflicts and support for a smooth transition through a well-targeted set of preventive diplomatic and related actions.
“This initiative was very instrumental in ensuring a successful violence-free representative and presidential elections in 2017,” he said.
More precisely, the FIND executive director said the organization was also able to build synergies with national human rights institutions through the establishment of the civil society human rights advocacy platform with the sole objective of strengthening human rights advocacy through partnership, coordination and solidarity among human rights actors throughout the country.
This platform, according to him, was successful in mobilizing 22 core human rights organizations that are now active in dealing with ongoing human rights challenges in Liberia.
With the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), he said FIND also implemented a number of projects, including supporting and strengthening the Post-Ebola Surveillance and Social-Economic Recovery Initiative in Liberia project, the strengthening of the Transparency, Accountability Oversight and Participation (STAOP) project and the Integrated Advocacy and Awareness Campaign to promote Government’s De-Concentration Program in three strategic districts of Bong County.
These initiatives, he said, were very significant in raising the institution’s profile and accelerating community engagement, particularly in counties the organization had not been able to reach in years due to financial limitations.
“Lastly, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) through its Quick Impact Projects was also able to support a lot of the organization’s programs, including the revision of the Strategic Roadmap for National Peace building, Healing and Reconciliation,” he concluded.