—EU Ambassadors Express Joy
A local non-governmental organization, the Serving Humanity for Empowerment and Development (SHED) was commended by European Union Ambassadors visiting several European Union and European Union countries funded projects in Liberia during a daylong tour held on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
The high power EU Ambassadors delegation including the European Union Ambassador to Liberia Laurent Delahousse, German Ambassador Hubert J. Jager, Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Wetterqvist, Ireland Charge d’Affaires, Kate O’Donnell, and other high ranking European Union officials visited several projects being funded by the EU and EU Countries in Montserrado, Margibi and Bong Counties.
During the daylong tour, two SHED projects were visited with the EU ambassadors’ delegation expressing high commendation over the impactful nature of the projects being implemented by SHED and partners.
The tour first commenced with an early morning visit at the Kakata Central prison where SHED intervention has now turned the prison facility into a very conducive environment for inmates by carrying out major renovation work, painting, repair of damaged roof, casting of the floor at the main entrance of prison the compound to avoid erosion which has been preventing the free entry of vehicles into the prison compound.
SHED has also made living in the prison comfortable for inmates by distributing plastic-coated mattresses to each inmate and other major interventions at the prison.
SHED is also providing drugs and other medical supplies and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has an assigned nurse at the prison to treat inmates suffering from common illnesses.
The national NGO is also carrying out skills development for inmates with several benefiting from tailoring training program and one of the beneficiaries from the program, John Fayiah who attended the ceremony along with his wife expressed that while in prison for five years and six months, he thought all hopes were lost until the SHED/RHRAP skills training program made him become a professional tailor.
Fayiah said since he graduated from the tailoring training program, upon his release from prison, he now owns a tailor shop as he was given a sewing machine by the project funded by the EU and being implemented by SHED/RHRAP and through his tailoring, he is gainfully employed and has been able to get legally wedded.
Like Fayiah another beneficiary of the skill training program, Nathaniel Manneh also expressed that since he left the prison he is not viewed as someone who has been in prison because he is capable of generating income from tailoring as compared to others living within his community.
Manneh said due to his knowledge in tailoring, he is not suffering from the stigma that normally follows those released from jail because his skills are making a difference in his community.
The Director of the Bureau of Corrections at the Ministry of Justice Samuel Sainleseh Kwaidah spoke highly about SHED interventions at four major prison facilities in Liberia including Kakata, Bondiway, Gbarnga, and Sanniquellie where he said these four prisons are very different from all other prisons around the country because of the support from the SHED implemented project.
“We want you to please extend to the other counties, we have sixteen counties and these three counties prison facilities are very different from the others”, he said.
Also speaking, the Prison Health Director at the Ministry of Health, Ernest Davies said the drugs supplied by SHED at the three prison facilities –Kakata, Gbarnga, and Sanniquellie are sufficient to the extent that they can last for the next six months or more.
“If it is possible for us to transfer some of these drugs to other prison facilities we could be really happy because we have enough at these three facilities when other prisons do not have drugs”, Davies said.
At the Kakata Central Prison EU Ambassador Delahousse speaking on behalf of the delegation said he was impressed with what was visibly seen at the Kakata Central Prison.
“This is really impactful and it is good to make meaningful impacts in the lives of people in a difficult situation in prison-like what we are witnessing here today”, Ambassador Delahousse expressed.
Mrs. Joyce Q. Pajibo, Executive Director of SHED said the EU-funded projects are impact driven and over the years of implementation the impacts are very glaring.
“We just want to continue to say thank you to the EU for entrusting us to implement these projects and also to the Government of Liberia for the level of collaboration”, she said.
Madam Pajibo added, “the impact of these projects are something tangible that we all can see and we are happy to be able to make such impact”.
Following a long day tour, the visiting delegation still ended the tour with a visit at SHED Demonstration Farm in Dennis Town, Rural Montserrado County during the late evening hours.
The Demonstration Farm is a project funded by the German Government through Welthungerhilfe (WHH) where SHED is producing fresh eggs and also training rural women in Poultry production.
The women are trained and given 75 chickens each to manage their own poultry coop and sell the eggs to generate income.
During the tour, the rural women chanting “winner oh, we are the winner, winner oh, we are the winner”, expressed joy that SHED has been able to empower them and make them begin generating their own incomes.
Madam Yatta Respect Kiawu said the project has brought relief to rural women in that part of Montserrado County as they are now engaged in a venture that will generate income for them.
She is calling on donors to extend the support given them to other rural communities.
German Ambassador Jager speaking said the rural women are the real winners and he was happy to see the level of confidence expressed by the women in becoming self-sustainable in poultry production.
At the end of the tour, several members of the visiting delegation were expressing that the two projects being implemented by SHED that were visited are really making impact with the results very visible.
It is laudable to see a Liberian local NGO implementing donors sponsored projects to such a scale and in an organized manner.