A two-day legislative advocacy and political engagement workshop for Civil Society actors intended to equip citizens on legislative matters that include the structure and function of the legislature has ended in Monrovia.
The 2-day event, which took place on January 22 thru 23, 2020 was organized by NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development in partnership with OXFAM-Liberia with specific emphasis on the conduct and procedures during legislative sessions, community working together and using dialogue to solve problems.
The occasion was held under the theme: ‘Strengthening a Network of Change Makers and Emerging Leaders for Better Liberia’ and it brought together civil society actors, international partners, legislators as well as government agencies to further discuss issues that include the courage to lead and create the change in Liberia’s political system and gender dynamics, as well as sharing experiences on NAYMOTE’s grassroots democratic and civic engagements.
Naymote’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo during the opening section told the gathering that the workshop was aimed at working along with the members of the legislative committee office to help understand how the legislature works.
During the training, Mr Jarwolo, in a PowerPoint presentation, discussed the various legislative committees as listed in the legislative advocacy handbook. He told participants the various roles of the legislative committees.
“We have started to engage citizens at the district and national level to help bring some of the bread and butter issues on the table and among the various actors who are in civil society and are very passionate about what they do,” he noted.
As a prominent civil society organization, NAYMOTE has done a lot of work with lawmakers and thought that it was good to work with civil society leaders who he said will get involved with advocacy on how the legislature works, how to get involved with the legislature.
He said until citizens can have a clear understanding of the kind of work done within the legislature, there will always be challenges in the governing system of the Country. “I mean direct representation of the people, but instead some of our legislators are dishonest,” he said. He further acknowledged that there is a lot of work that his organization do and a lot of people in the diaspora and other parts of the world commend.
“We are in the communities working, people feel that we are doing nothing, but I know we are doing a lot of wors more than the government,” he said.
Mr Jarwolo indicated that one of the best ways to know how the legislature works is to consistently engage them, adding that there are 73 lawmakers in the House of Representatives and if we engage them, then we will understand how they work.
“It’s difficult to advocate in Liberia, in fact, the biggest advocacy in the country nowadays is to carry placards around or demonstrate. These things are good but the best way is to always dialogue” he noted.
In remarks, Aruna Agustine Kamara, Influencing Coordinator, Oxfam-Liberia said the organization believe in working with civil society organizations and that is the reason why NAYMOTE with support from Oxfam gather civil society organization members to learn one of the key issues which fall on Oxfam’s mandate. “As civil society actors do we really stimulate on our mandate?” he asked.
He said CSOs must see themselves playing an active part in the government, which he said is crucial to Liberia’s emerging democracy. “Oxfam believes that until we are able to engage our Lawmakers, until we can vividly engage policymakers and those policies that affect our society, there will always be challenges.
He thanked participants for their attentive role and involvement in the training because these are initiatives that will help to buttress the working of government and the democratic process of Liberia.
“As a people, we must take charge of the governing process. Gone are the days that we will sit and say it is the people’s thing, or the legislature thing. Let’s watch and change them, keep changing people until you change the right person,” he stated.