About 25 newly-appointed local officials of Nimba County were over the weekend trained in conflict management in Ganta, the commercial hub of the County.
The training, under the Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) “Connect for Peace,” was designed to strengthen social cohesion between and among citizens, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and public officials.
It brought together administrative district commissioners, township commissioners, statutory superintendents, city mayors and the County’s inspector, to strengthen the traditional means of settling disputes in the County and also with the broader aim of contributing to the country’s peace.
The Connect for Peace project or “C4Ps” is a 36-month initiative exercise, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Conflict Mitigation and Management Program (CMMP). It will cover about 36 towns or communities.
Nimba County Inspector Reginald Mehn highlighted the importance of the project, which he said could ease political tensions that developed during the 2017 elections.
“During the elections, there were lots said on the radio against the contests, a situation which brought conflict and division among us,” Mehn said.
He said most of the past local officials have some knowledge of settling disputes within their districts, and therefore for the CRS to train the newly-appointed leaders was welcoming.
According to the program CRS manager, Breznev Paasewe, activities have been designed to build individual and institutional capacity, and offer disparate adversarial groups the opportunity to reconcile.
“Additionally, the project will support the establishment of trust between citizens and state to reinforce Indigenous Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (I-ADRMs) so that all members of civil society, including women and youth, public sector institutions and traditional authorities embrace diversity, resolve differences constructively and establish conditions for positive peace,” Paasewe said.
The project will align with key government policies, such as “Liberia Agenda for Transformation; Steps to Liberia Rising 2030,” and the “Strategic Road-map for National Healing, Peace-building and Reconciliation in Liberia (2013–2030).
CRS is working with the Justice and Peace Commission of Liberia (JPC) and the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET) to support the implementation of the C4Ps. It is anticipated that C4Ps will reach over 230,000 citizens.