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Around The Country: Updates From Seven Counties – August 18, 2020

Stay informed with happenings in your county, follow LocalVoicesLiberia every week day for the latest update on COVID-19 and other important developments.

 


River Cess County: Damaged Bridge Leaves Resident Stranded


Residents of over 100 thousands cannot have access to essential commodities since the bridge was demolished by the construction company | Photo By: Eric Opa Doue


Residents of 110 towns in Zanflahn District are stranded across the Drow River after a construction company demolished a log bridge, which was used by commuters, and abandoned the construction of a concrete bridge.

The contract to build a concrete bridge was awarded to LIDA Liberia by the county administration as a joint venture project with the Community Forestry Development Committee of Forest Management Contract area “B”.

Amos Somah, River Cess County Development Superintendent, said he had ordered the company to halt the work because all materials brought to the site for the project were substandard.

When contacted, LIDA Liberia boss Marshall Yealue ranted at reporters saying, “go and ask your Development Superintendent, you did not give me contract”.

The creek, which connects with the Drow River, has been flooded for weeks since the rainy season reached its peak, causing residents on the other side of the river to be stranded. Major commercial activities are concentrated on the other side of the River and these residents cannot have access.

LIDA Liberia has been accused in the past for using substandard materials on projects in the county. It can be recalled that residents of Jueh Town, Bearwor District complained that substandard materials were used on a clinic that the company constructed.


 Maryland County: 12 Graders Fear Mass Failure in WASSEC


The students are worried that poor preparation created by the global pandemic will impact their performance | Photo By: Brian Dioh


Several 12 graders sitting the West African Senior Secondary School test (WACESS) have expressed fear of mass failure due to the inability of some of their teachers to complete lessons that are expected in the exams.

The students indicated that these teachers’ inability to complete the lessons was because of the limited time given them by the Ministry of Education to complete 2019/2020 academic year, which was shorten due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Luther Karpe, a student of the Pleebo High School in Pleebo City, alleged that during instructional period, some instructors were sometimes absent from class.

“We don’t really think there will be a successful passing in this test because the time given us was short and even some of our teachers will be [were] out of classes, telling us they have troubles,” Karpe said.

However, he underscored the need for students writing the exams to keep studying at night to avoid massive failure.

Also, a student at the Baptist High School in Pleebo is worried about the result “because students were poor prepared”, a situation he blames on school administrations and the Ministry of Education.

Sam Mappay said administering the regional exams amid the coronavirus pandemic is “worrisome” and that “there was a need for Government to asked for postponement of the test”.

Students across Liberia on Monday began taking the regional exams with students’ success remaining a perquisite to graduate from high school and to further obtain admission into university.


Gbarpolu County: Rape Victim Gets Support

Rescue and Abandoned Children in Hardship (REACH), a local organization based in Monrovia, has identified with the three-year-old girl who was recently raped by a 15-year boy in Gbarpolu County.

The organization provided L$7,250.00 to the victim’s family, which was used to transport her to Monrovia for further medical care.

Ne-Suah B. Livingstone, REACH’s Executive Director, said the victim’s story prompted the organization’s intervention, adding that REACH is an advocacy and humanitarian group which helps victims of rape and domestic violence in the country.

Meanwhile, several people of the county have lauded the organization for the support and have, at the same time, called for the speedily trial of the Belle Varmah, the 15-year-old perpetrator. Varmah has been charged with rape and is in prison in Bopolu city awaiting trial.


 Grand Kru County: Local Media Gets Training in COVID-19 Messaging


12 local journalists of three community radio stations participated in the one day training | Photo By: Moses Geply


A one-day capacity building training for 12 media practitioners of the three main radio stations has been held in the county to improve radio messaging about COVID-19.

Staffs of Radio Ahteenah, Voice of Grand Kru, and Voice of Grand Cess were taught how to effectively disseminate information about COVID-19 to their respective audiences.

The training was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), STAIP, and was implemented by Grand Kru County Health Team.

Acting County Health Officer, Jimmy Lawubah said “it is highly impossible to reach all of the communities at the same time to provide knowledge to our people, important information about coronavirus and other diseases” without the media playing a key role.

“We want you to give the information to our people in the simple Liberian languages so that our people can understand what we are talking about. There are many people who don’t still believe that coronavirus is real, and health is everybody’s business, we alone can’t fight this virus but with the collective efforts we can’t defeat this virus.”

Representing USAID STAIP, Moses Blamo assured that his organization will work closely with the County Health Team to provide more training for media practitioners.

“The journalist can speak to thousands of citizens at the same time because of the wide coverage they have but it’s very difficult for health workers to reach out to thousands of community members at the same time, so it’s important to train media personnel about the basic coronavirus messages,” Blamo said.

Speaking on behalf of the three radio stations, Voice of Grand Cess Manager, Shardrick Tarwily thanked the partners for the training and assured the County Health Team that what they have learned will impact their radio programs.


 Grand Gedeh County: Tackling SGBV and COVID-19


There are concerns that there are more SGBV cases being reported in the district | Photo By: Ben T.C Brooks


The Southeastern Women Development Secretariat (SEWODA) with support from the Spotlight Initiative has extended public awareness on Sexual Gender Base Violence (SGBV) and prevention of COVID-19 in Gbarzon statutory district.

Belleh Tarr, Project Officer of SEWODA, said the two-day event brought together stakeholders of the district including women and youth groups, security officers, traditional and local leaders. He added that the discussions reminded stakeholders about the need to track and report SGBV cases and other forms of violence during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tarr said amid the global pandemic, there are more SGBV cases being reported in the district.

“Few weeks ago, a lady drank sasaywood (justice by ordeal) and died in this district because she was allegedly accused of being a witch, that was a complete violation,” he said. “

“Under our law of the Republic, if someone is accused of being a witchcraft that person must be sent to the traditional council for investigation and if no remedy then later to the court and not for community people to intimidate or forcibly make the person drink Sawaywood to die, because sasaywood is a complete poison.

“Now the lady has died what becomes of her children and family people left behind? We are told that she was a single mother, so this violence must stop against women and children and even men”.

During the sensitization, Tarr said, participants were taught how to do proper hands washing, keeping social distance and wearing of nose masks.


Grand Cape Mount County: Bea Mountain Pays Social Development Fund


The company says two more payments will be made: another US$250,000 payments will be made to the county in October 2020 and US$750,000 will be made in 2021 | Photo By: Jenneh Kemokai


The Bea Mountain Mining Company in Grand Cape Mount County has made available US$250,000 as part of its social development found (SDF) to the county, according to the company’s Community Relations Manager, Henry Vincent.

Vincent said the US$750,000 SDF will be paid in three installments – another US$250,000 payments will be made to the county in October 2020 and the other US$250,000 will be paid in 2021.

The company also provided farming tools, crops, and cash to five farmers in Tawn Town, Gola Konneh District, where the company is carrying out its massive gold mining activities.

The items were presented to farmers, whose crops are expected to be destroyed during the construction of a major road by the company.

Aaron Vincent, Grand Cape Mount County Superintendent, thanked the company for “the work that they are beginning to do within the county” and asked for continued collaboration between the people of Gola Konneh District and the mining company.


Grand Bassa County: ‘Job Creation and Improved Health Facilities’ – Senatorial Candidate


Mr. Findley (in blue shirt) is running for the senate for the second time. He held a nine year term but was defeated in 2014 | Photo By: Elton Wrionbee Tiah


Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Gbehzohngar Findley says he is ready to make “change in Grand Bassa County if he’s elected”.

He told a huge crowd at the weekend in Buchanan city that “reconciliation, job creation and improved health facilities” are key on his agenda.

“I have come because you called me. I want to tell you that we want to ensure that our young people are empowered; we want to ensure that we have a reconciled Bassa after 2020,” Findley told his supporters who had gathered on the Fairground in the port city to listen to his acceptance speech.

“I want to assure you that this is a new beginning and a fresh start. Grand Bassa is about to rise again after this 2020 election”.

Findley was elected in 2005 and served a nine-year term before he lost his re-election bid in 2014.

Meanwhile, during the program, several health protocols were violated as hundreds of people were seen without nose mask and they were neither social distancing.


 

Local Voices Liberia is a network of dedicated Liberian journalists based in the 15 counties working to lift the development concerns and progress of rural communities.

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