OMNIA Takes Bold Steps to End Hunger, Empower Liberian Communities

In the face of pressing global challenges such as food insecurity and youth unemployment, the OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership is spearheading efforts to tackle these issues head-on in Liberia. With over 800 million people worldwide suffering from chronic hunger and approximately 70 million young individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 facing unemployment, these challenges pose significant threats to democracy and global peace.

Liberia, having endured a 14-year civil crisis that ended in 2003 and grappling with the aftermath of the Ebola and COVID-19 epidemics, still contends with over half a million of its citizens experiencing severe food insecurity, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2023 report. Liberia has a Global Hunger Index score of 32.2, signifying a serious level of hunger that demands immediate attention.

The OMNIA Institute, known for its work in training religious and civic leaders, as well as people of faith in community organizing, has made a bold pledge to end hunger in Liberia and create empowerment opportunities, particularly for women and young people. The organization has successfully trained over 200 individuals in its basic and advanced training, forming the backbone of its Interfaith Peacemaker (IP) Teams.

The IP Teams, organized by OMNIA in collaboration with local communities, serve as platforms to address urgent, relevant, and winnable challenges. With a recruitment strategy called "one-on-one" engagement, OMNIA has managed to assemble around 1000 peacemakers in Montserrado, Bomi, and Grand Cape Mount Counties, distributed among 39 IP Teams.

William Lloyd, the National Coordinator of OMNIA-Liberia, emphasized the organization's commitment to realistic and achievable goals, citing community involvement as a key factor. While the IP Teams address various community issues, Lloyd stressed that food security and empowerment have become the organization's top priorities.

Lloyd revealed that OMNIA has embarked on community farming initiatives, ensuring that each community has both a rice farm and a cassava farm, addressing primary and secondary food needs. He advocated for empowerment initiatives, stating, "We should not always use poverty as an excuse to end hunger; we should rather empower people to end hunger."

However, challenges such as access to seeds, agricultural training, and farming tools have hindered communities from producing sufficient food. Lloyd expressed confidence that with support from partnerships and individual donors, these challenges could be overcome.

Following a day-long retreat in Klay District, Bomi County, where the OMNIA local staff from Montserrado, Bomi, and Grand Cape Mount counties convened, a roadmap for fundraising and revenue generation was established. The retreat aimed to address challenges faced by the organization and enhance the community farming program while focusing on empowerment opportunities for residents, particularly in low-income communities. The OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, a global network of interfaith peacemakers, has trained over 6487 peacemakers worldwide. In Liberia, as in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Uganda, 313 Interfaith Peacemaker Teams are actively working towards fostering peace and addressing societal challenges. Through these initiatives, OMNIA continues to make substantial strides in building resilient and empowered communities.