‘Waterways Project Improves Lives in Slum Communities’

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Contract workers of the Beaches & Waterways Project in New Kru Town have said that they are able to care for their families with the meager salaries they earn from the project.

Interviews conducted at the conclusion of the disbursement of four months of arrears at the First International Bank branch on Bushrod Island in Monrovia last week revealed that through the project they are able to provide life’s basic necessities for their families.

The contractors said despite the tension in the wake of the Christmas season, the FiBank on Bushrod Island understood their anxieties and worked with them to get their arrears, even after the festive season.

“I have been with the project for the last three years,” said an older woman, who identified herself as Anita Doe, “I am able to find food and do a little selling for myself.”

Another female worker and a widow, identified only as Ms. Togba, said she is a grandmother of five children. “It is through this work that I care for them and myself.”

Many of the young women workers said they are single parents who don’t have any financial support other than what they earn from working with the Beaches & Waterways Project. A majority of the young workers are students, some at various universities, including the University of Liberia.

The project now has a total number of 1,701, from a previous total of 1,900. The Borough of New Kru Town has 550 workers, according to Senior Monitor for New Kru Town and Chairman of the Project, Android Young Jr.

Young said there are 435 workers from West Point, 335 from ELWA and 381 from Mamba Point.

He said the project has made positive impact on the lives of the workers and they are grateful to President Sirleaf, through Mr. Binyah Kesselly (Commissioner, Liberia Maritime Authority), for initiating the project to reclaim Monrovia’s beaches that were polluted with human waste.

Young told the Daily Observer in an interview at the Beaches and Waterways Project that the project could not have come at a better time, and expressed the workers’ appreciation to President Sirleaf, Commissioner Binyah Kesselly and former project manager Cecelia Cuffy-Brown for the initiative, and how it has been handled.

Commissioner Kesselly had described the project as “reclaiming our beaches one community at a time.”

President Sirleaf declared that she “wants to make Liberia a maritime nation by keeping our beaches clean, healthy and attractive” through the Beaches & Waterways Project. The project now has an annual budget to be managed by the Ministry of Youth & Sports.

The army of contract workers has helped reclaim Monrovia’s beaches and also reduced a number of preventable diseases in slum communities, residents told the Daily Observer.

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