Sustainable Development Initiatives Hold The Key To Refugees’ Future in Liberia
As a refugee, envisioning what the future holds can be like trying to see while underwater- blurry and with little confidence about which direction will take you to the shore. But AIRD in Liberia set out to give some direction to refugees through its 2019 strategy that was heavily focused on local integration and self-reliance. With this strategy, it is hoped that beneficiaries will be able to settle and become productive members of the communities in which they have found themselves. Many of the activities in the livelihoods project implemented also involved the participation of members of the host communities (80:20 ratio of refugees to host community). It has enhanced a peaceful co-existence.
Our Liberia program put its strategy into practice in the following ways to benefit a total of 604 House Holds (319 in Bahn ,189 in Little and 96 in Monrovia):
- Vocational training and capacity building to targeted individuals/groups
- Support in form of Cash Based Initiatives to support IGAs (Income Generating Activities)
- Support the beneficiaries in development business plans.
- Monitoring and mentoring beneficiaries in the livelihoods projects.
- Targeted households support through technical agriculture activities.
- Facilitate establishment and or strengthening existing VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association) groups
Vocational skills training
This benefitted a total of 133 (116 Females and 17 Males), who attended 5 months’ vocational skills training; 51 in soap making, 34 in tailoring, 27 in Pastry, 9 Tie and dye, 10 in hair dressing and 3 in interior decoration. The training began in August and graduation took place on 24th January 2020.
Improving nutrition through self-reliance
To improve the nutrition, food security and enhance the livelihoods of the most vulnerable families, a local chicken distribution project provided chicken to the most vulnerable refugees ‘households. Each household received 5 chicken (4 hens and 1 rooster). 498 beneficiaries received chicken (172 in Bahn, 255 in PTP and 71 little Wlebo), including 412 refugees and 86 host community members. A total of 2,490 chicken (498 roosters and 1992 hens) were distributed. The project was especially empowering as one of the selected providers was an existing low scale refugee poultry farmer in Harper city by the name of Anassin N’cho. Anassin distributed 355 birds in Little Wlebo settlement. Through this contract, Anassins earnings have been greatly boosted and enabled him to further support his family. Anassin and his brother, Daouda, are now one of the competing suppliers of eggs in the south-eastern city of Harper in Maryland County, Liberia.
Cassava and Rice production
Cassava was planted on 85 acres of land and the total production realised was 127.50 tons. The farmer field school extension technique was used to train refugees on good agriculture practices. The total beneficiary number of this training was 140 (92 female and 48 males). AIRD in partnership with UNHCR also provided a cassava processing machine. The purpose of which was to add value during the production of cassava by producing different varieties of cassava products such as Attieke, Fufu, Dipa etc.
Rice was also planted with a total production of 625,000kgs on 25acres. Total beneficiaries of good technique training in rice production were 78 individuals (44 females and 35 males).
Small business training
Prior to distribution of funds through Cash Based Initiatives, beneficiaries were taken through extensive training on all the various aspects to consider before setting up a small business such as the importance of proper business plans and how to set prices.
From emergency shelters to durable housing units
AIRD undertook the construction of 70 durable housing units for displaced people who have opted to locally integrate in the Bahn settlement in Nimba county. Special considerations were made in regard to persons with specific needs and the most vulnerable. AIRD provided the required technical supervision/support to ensure quality structures were constructed.
Throughout the provision of these important livelihood interventions, the importance of our humanitarian logistics support was critical. Physical inventories of stocks were regularly made and the monitoring of activities carried out in collaboration with UNHCR. AIRD worked with UNHCR to ensure smooth running of the operations and shared all the information related to the sector programs. As part of sustainable solutions for Ivorian refugees in Liberia, AIRD facilitated and provided dignified and safe transportation across the 3 settlements and communities in Liberia. 1,588 Persons of Concern, including 1,503 refugees, benefited from the repatriation activity.