The chairperson of the Liberia International NGO Forum (LINGO) coordinating committee, Mr. Chuchu K. Selma has called on the government to include women, children and the disabled in its development programs.
Mr. Selma spoke over the weekend at the 3rd annual NGO Fair held at the Paynesville City Hall. He said while LINGO embraces the government’s “Pro-poor Agenda,” there is a need to work together to ensure that Liberians and Liberia are transformed.
This year’s program brought together heads of NGOs both national and international, including Plan Liberia, Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP), Concern Worldwide, ActionAid Liberia, Destined Kids Assistance Program (DEKAP), SOS Children’s Village, Save the Children, among others.
“Today’s program is meant to enhance partnership and help support development across Liberia, especially with the ongoing development of the government. We think it’s important for the government to seek partnership in achieving its objectives. We have to be inclusive in this partnership to help the government to realize its goals,” Mr. Selma, who also represented WaterAid, said.
The NGO Fair marked a display of various products and programs currently being executed across the country. Over 50 NGOs participated in this year’s program, which was held under the theme: “Strengthening Collaboration to Leave No One Behind.”
According to him, inclusion and partnership remain cardinal in supporting the government’s development programs, indicating that the private sector also remains key to Liberia’s development and must not be overlooked.
“We are NGOs and think the partnership with the private sector and the government is fundamental. We need to have everyone included in our national development. The people need to be at the center of development, including health, education, sanitation, justice, and the environment. We need to ensure that participation of the people and benefits are reaching to the necessary targeted audience or beneficiaries,” Mr. Selma recommended.
He called on the government, local and international organizations to target children, women and the disabled community as well as those usually excluded from development activities and programs.
Mr. Selma said he believes that the government will champion and lead the development of Liberia, while NGOs remain supportive of the country’s total development.
“There has been a gap in the inclusion of women, disabled and children in Liberia’s development programs. We have poor people usually from the slum communities that are excluded in Liberia and some parts of the world, because of social status and economic background, among others. We want to ensure that no one is left behind in Liberia’s development,” Mr. Selma said.
Helena Wenneh, the executive director of Destined Kids Assistance Program, (DEKAP) one of the participating organizations, said she was impressed with the NGO 3rd Annual Fair program, which has helped in connecting her with new people.
Destined Kids Assistance Program caters to disabled children, to ensure that they are in school while seeking assistance from local and international partners.
“We have 100 kids currently out of school because their parents do not have the resources to put them in school. We help to close the gap of children whose parents have the support and to those who do not have, especially disabled people,” Madam Wenneh said.
According to Madam Wenneh, the impact of the organization’s initiative will show in the future. “Some of the kids would be doctors, lawyers, and other officials that would help Liberia,” she said.
She added that she continues to get a good reception from the kids and their parents since the initiative began in 2009.
Korpo V. Solbor, who also serves as one of the panelists, said she was delighted to participate in this year’s NGO Fair, indicating that, “This is the best way of moving Liberia and development forward.”
“This is my first time and I’m honored with the level of interaction. This forum will also help international NGOs to have some national NGOs to work within the implementation of its programs,” Madam Solbor, executive director of Women Protecting Female and Welfare, said.