Mercy Corps has launched a five-year, $12 million initiative, the Community Peacebuilding and Development Program (CPBD), in war-torn Liberia.
Mercy Corps is working with partners the Academy for Educational Development and Search for Common Ground to increase the role of civil society in democratic governance.
The program will eventually reach approximately 600 communities across the country. Community members will work together to identify their needs and will receive support from 20 Liberian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to address community issues.
Mercy Corps will work with the Liberian NGOs to build and strengthen their capacities to meet community needs.
The program will also have a public information component promoting peace, stability, and development through radio and other media.
Still trying to recover from an eight-year civil war that officially ended in 1997, the West African nation of Liberia continues to face violence and unrest. With fertile soil and plentiful rainfall and significant revenue being raised by timber concessions, the rubber industry and the maritime registry, Liberia should be a prosperous country. The reality however is that a majority of the population lives below the poverty line with virtually no health or education services.
The agriculture sector, which engages approximately 70 percent of Liberia's total labor force of one million, suffers from poor farming practices, the virtual absence of livestock and value-added processing opportunities, as well as poor business skills and literacy rates as low as 20 percent.
CPBD is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.