Liberia YMCA & Partners: Working to Improve Lives in Slum Communities

The Federations of Liberian Urban Poor Savers in partnership with the YMCA of Liberia under the Liberia Country Program has been holding forums in several communities in an around Monrovia aimed at validating data collected by the YMCA under the Liberia Country Program.

The forum brings together a cross section of the community stake holders including the physically challenged and visually impaired. It is a platform for communities to identify, discuss and prioritised their challenges and find possible intervention strategies.

Some communities where dasettlement forums have been held are Clara Town, Cow Field community, Gbalasua, West Point, Doe community, Blamo Town, Zondo Town,  Jallah Town, Peace Island, 12th Street Sinkor (Mesurado River side), Popo Beach community and Nyuan Panton in New Kru Town, etc.

More than 70% of Monrovia urban population lives in informal or slum communities and lack basic social services and employment opportunities. The forum affords development partners working under the Liberia Country program first hand information on issues in these communities and negotiate with other stake holders to find solutions along with the communities to problems involving basic social services.

The forum also builds partnership between the local authorities and their communities as well as other line ministries and agencies. The forum also is organised for communities to plan and implement together and also negotiate their data. During the settlement form, communities set their own development agenda and drive a process using the bottom to top approach.

The bottom to top approach is where development begins with the communities, with the communities stating their priorities and make  suggestions and or recommendations regarding their communities

Outcomes from these community forums included decisions on the type of project to accept, participation of the communities at every level of projects implementation and development of community agenda.

Also during the forums the communities discussed the issue of good relationship with their Local Government Authority, while communities were recognised as development partners and not beneficiaries. Many of the communities also recognised issues affecting their communities saying they are committed towards alleviating them.

In another development, city wide profiling are continuing in several communities in two townships in Monrovia, Gardnersville and New Georgia. Profiling is expected to continue in four additional: Caldwell, Dixville, Johnsonville and Barnersville. In the coming weeks, the program will also cover four settlements in the Paynesville city.

The Liberia YMCA in collaboration with the Liberia Country Program supports the social and economic recovery of slum dwellers in grater Monrovia with a long term goal of improving the living and working conditions of the urban poor within a functioning, accountable and inclusive metropolitan city. The YMCA also works in collaboration with Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and Citi  Alliance in the implementation of these tasks.