The Liberia Peacebuilding Office (PBO) and the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) in collaboration with the UNDP and UNMIL have begun training 36 enumerators ahead of the start of a public perception survey on justice, security and the rule of law in Liberia in early 2018.
PBO program manager Christopher K. Fayia stated recently at the closing session of the justice and security workshop for the 36 participants that the survey is expected to assess the current situation in the country in terms of people’s perception and knowledge of a variety of issues regarding justice and security and the rule of law services in Liberia.
He added that the survey will be conducted in Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, River Gee, Grand Kru and Maryland counties where the government with support from partners has made considerable investments to improve services.
The survey is intended to compare results in counties that have benefited from international support (treatment group) and other counties, referred to as the control group, where there have not been direct justice, security and rule of law interventions said Fayia.
He further explained that the Government of Liberia (GoL) and the UN Peace Building Commission (PBC) in 2010 adopted the ‘Statement of Mutual Commitments (SMC) on peace building in Liberia, and that the SMC had focused on three key priorities: strengthening the rule of law, supporting security sector reform and promoting national reconciliation.
He recalled that in 2011, the Liberia Peace building Program (LPP) was developed jointly by the government, civil society, the UN and several other international development partners to put into operation the SMC through a number of specific projects supported by GoL and the Peace Building Fund (PBF).
“One of the key components of the LPP was to establish 5 regional justice and security hubs across the country, namely in Gbarnga, Harper, Zwedru, Buchanan, and Tubmanburg,” he said.
Fayia also noted that of the five, three regional hubs were established which include, Gbarnga, Harper, and Zwedru, covering eight of the 15 counties which have been functioning since 2014.
The hubs are being coordinated by the Ministry of Justice Program Unit with funding from the UNDP/UNMIL Joint Programs, Fayia disclosed.
He further intimated that the main objective of the regional hubs was to strengthen justice, the rule of law and security through a service center, and establish a decentralized and holistic approach in terms of preparation for the draw down of UNMIL (UN Mission in Liberia).
The hubs bring together the various justice and security institutions, enhancing the capacity of and coordination between the Liberia National Police (LNP)/Police Support Unit (PSU), Liberia Immigration Services (LIS) Border Patrol Unit (BPU), Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR) as well as the Judiciary (prosecutors, public defenders and judges).
The regional hubs are intended to enhance access to justice and security for the citizens in the respective counties.
“In order to measure progress in a systematic manner, comprehensive baseline surveys and subsequent follow-up surveys are critical,” Fayia stressed.
“Through this type of ‘outcome monitoring,’ one can assess certain changes over time in people’s perceptions and knowledge of a range of issues regarding justice and security in the counties,” he stressed.
In April 2013, Fayia said that the PBO, with support from LISGIS, carried out baseline public perception surveys in Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee, Zwedru and Sinoe counties prior to launching hubs 1 and 2. The survey covered 1,200 household respondents in the five southeastern counties and a final report was produced in August 2013.
“Similarly in 2014, a baseline public perception survey was conducted for the Gbarnga Regional Hub Counties: Bong, Lofa, and Nimba, where progress was highlighted and recommendations made to relevant rule of law, justice, and security actors to address gaps identified by the findings,” Fayia added.