The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), under its Rule of Law project, has turned over 13 motorbikes to civil society organizations (CSOs) working with communities to promote access to justice in Liberia.
With the purchase of the motorbikes reportedly worth over US$22,000 dollars, support to CSOs has been given a priority, particularly for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Community-based Organizations (CBOs), which were considered weak to be able to effectively support UNDP to roll out a legal aid program as well as to monitor the performance of justice and security institutions in Liberia, especially in the remotest places and hard-to-reach areas.
A funding support under the Rule of Law Joint Program was held under the theme, “Strengthening the Rule of Law in Liberia.” The program was organized by development partners Sweden and Ireland in partnership with the Office of High Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR).
At a brief handover facilitated by UNDP, Elizabeth Harleman, Head of Cooperation of the Swedish International Development Agency, and Rachel Fitzpatrick, Charge d’affairs, urged recipients to take responsibility for the full maintenance of the motorcycles, in order to be able to respond to the needs of beneficiaries accessing services through the Rule of Law project.
Harleman and Fitzpatrick underscored the need to use the bikes to regularly monitor integrity institutions under the justice system, thus ensuring that services reach the most vulnerable population.
They underscored the challenges associated with bad roads, noting that the use and maintenance of the motorbikes will boost access to service provided by beneficiaries.
Reiterating comments from his colleagues from Sweden and Ireland, UNDP Resident Representative Pa Lamin Beyai stressed that maintenance of the bikes remains the full responsibility of the CSOs and that they must not be used as personal assets but exclusively for the project.
“These bikes are not to be used to transport goods and people, but for full monitoring of integrity institutions under the justice sector, holding them accountable to the work that they do,” Beyai said.
Dr. Beyai praised development partners Sweden and Ireland for being extremely supportive of UNDP programs, saying: “Sweden and Ireland are two of our best partners in the implementation of various projects across the country.”
Comments also came from the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights through its Country Representative Emelonye Uchenna, who appreciated the partnership with UNDP, Sweden and Ireland.
Mr. Uchenna assured that his Commission will continue to promote the partnership, and he urged CSOs to add value to the work that they do in order to achieve the best result.
Recipients of the assets expressed appreciation to UNDP and its partners for the gesture. Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment (RICCE) Program Manager Renee Gibson assured that they are committed to the work of adding value to the implementation of the justice and security program.
Earlier, interim Chief Technical Advisor under the UNDP Rule of law Project Rowland Cole said that building capacities to monitor justice and security institutions to strengthen a framework that would demand accountability from service providers is pivotal to the implementation of the overarching strategy of the project.
Mr. Cole stressed that the project is committed to achieving outcomes under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of leaving no one behind.
“In addition to Goal 16, the project recognizes that Goal 5, which speaks to Gender Equality, is also a critical component in the implementation of various justice and security programs across all sectors,” Mr. Cole said.