The executive director of the Foundation for International Dignity, (FIND), Mr. Roosevelt Woods, has said that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s recent statement, that before any non-governmental organizations (NGOs) get access to donor funding that NGO should have an office space, be well established and must have a current bank account, is “unjustifiable and unrealistic.”
According to Woods, no NGO would receive funding from the international community without it being nationally recognized, including have all of the above.
He said the Liberian Government usually asks all of the above questions to an NGO, which is wanting to be registered and operate within the territorial confine of Liberia. So for the President to mention that in her Annual Message to the Legislature on January 27, was an “attack” against NGOs.
Addressing a press conference recently in Monrovia, FIND’s executive director noted that it was preferable for President Sirleaf to talk about developmental issues than attack NGOs, who, according to him, are playing important role in the rebuilding process of the country.
Mr. Woods said the Liberian leader’s comments, has the propensity to strain relations with the humanitarian community. He maintained that NGOs were operating in the confines of the Liberian laws.
The human right advocates explain that NGOs are struggling for survival as they and the governments were competing for resources from partners.
“NGOs are sleeping dogs in this country. We are starving and want to complement the works done by government, and they are not supporting our work, but rather undermining our efforts.”
Woods stated that President Sirleaf ignored cardinal national topics\issues that are supposed to improve the living conditions of the Liberians when she last addressed the nation.
Meanwhile, in her Annual Message to the 53rd National Legislature, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that to ensure this partnership, the government will require national and international NGOs to submit a report of their annual activities, and registered with the relevant government agency every year; that NGOs disclose to the Government details of the funds pledged by donors for project implementation in the country.
The Liberian leader added that every NGO should have an office space, audited bank account as well as current account.