The keynote speaker at the recent two-day conference on Natural Resources Management (NRM) in Gbarnga, Bong County, has challenged the over 100 participants to use the best practices for advocating change in the sector in their respective communities.
Mrs. Carolyn Myers Zoduah, also admonished the participants to establish partnerships with other organizations whether local or international and share experiences on how they work in their various organizations.
The participants attending the conference were drawn from Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Lofa and Monsterrado counties.
Mrs. Zoduah is the coordinator of the Non State Action (NSA) at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
She said the CSOs and CBOs are responsible to break the cycle of clique and increase the voices of the citizens on the usage of the natural resources that would provide them better education, quality healthcare, clean water and sanitation and roads.
“Come out with concrete documents that your colleagues will share with other groups. We work, but we are not documenting our experiences, and that alone is making our work to have little or no impact. Documentation should be based on empirical data,” Mrs. Zoduah said.
A representative of the participants, praised the United States Government for supporting CODRA to facilitate such an important workshop, but appealed to the U.S. Government through USAID for more of such workshops, adding that “with this knowledge acquired here, we will constructively engage our leaders on the usage of our natural resources.”
The workshop was conducted by the Community Development and Research Agency (CODRA), a local civil society organization based in Gbarnga, Bong County with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI).
The conference was held on the campus of Cuttington University in Suakoko District, under the theme, “Learning in Liberia: Best Practices for Advocating for Change in the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Sector.”
CODRA executive director Lassana Dukuly, said that the knowledge the participants acquired will be published in a booklet to be shared as a working tool for civil society organizations (CSOs), and community based organizations (CBOs) best practices that want to engage in advocacy or natural resource-related management.
He said with the establishment of CSOs and CBOs network, the booklet will serve as rudiment for the members to have a successful advocacy organizations if they want to venture into NRM sector.”
Dukuly said that his organization conducted a study in five counties with the sole objective of understanding how CSOs and CBOs are coordinating regarding the sector, and to draw a baseline in terms of challenges the organizations are faced with as well as how to address and find solutions through idea sharing.