European Federation of Liberia Associations (EFLA)
"Liberians in Europe want Diasporas total involvement in developments"
By: Aagon Gweh Linford & Jamael Kamara
Royal Kingdom of Norway
Members of the European Federation of Liberia Associations (EFLA)
CLICK here for larger photos
"Liberians in Europe want Diasporas total involvement in developments". Liberians living in Europe have ear-marked several development projects to be carried out in Liberia in the next few years by the European Federation of Liberia Associations (EFLA). The decision was reached recently during the annual convention of the European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA) in the French capital, Paris.
The Liberian Diaspora in Europe under the umbrella banner of European Federation of Liberia Association (EFLA) made several recommendations to governments, the international community and donor agencies that will support the fight against illiteracy in post war Liberia. The first projects on the priority list for implementation include training of teachers and distribution of textbooks and materials to Liberian school
Among the recommendations made at the two-day conference held in Paris, France were creating the opportunities for West-Africa Diasporas to play a pivotal role in rebuilding war ravaged West Africa; youth total involvement in reconstruction and ensuring cohesive relationship among Diaspora West Africans. The conference placed emphasis on creating sense of awareness amongst institutions responsible for reconstruction and developments in West Africa.
The Liberian European Diaspora organized conference also recommended the mobilization of local populations affected by wars, both at home and abroad to initiate critical dialogue and explore ideas on how best society can garner concerted efforts to begin addressing the intricate issues of aid and assistance in the West African region.
The first international two-day conference held under the theme: “War-torn Africa: Emerging from humanitarian assistance to political and economic reconstruction” was held in Paris from June 27-28, 2008, brought together about 150 keynote speakers and delegates from different countries around the world, including universities, institution foundations, international NGOs as well as officials of some Liberians embassies in Europe.
The conference delegates discussed pertinent issues such as role of the Diaspora in their country, most especially Liberia. The various speakers and the round table discussions allowed the conference delegates to address several questions asked during the conference, and to make recommendations to the international community.
The University of Western Britannia which is our partner to this conference has agreed to print out the recommendations in a form of booklet that could be used by various institutions around world. The second day of deliberations at the conference allowed the EFLA to work on its five- year plans that will contribute to the development and reconstruction of Liberia.
The delegates voted unanimously to kick off the education project which will primarily focus on teacher trainings, counseling and donation of essential textbooks, educational and instructional materials to help tackle the growing demand of quality education in post-war Liberia. EFLA will also focus on health, agriculture and integration in her five- year development projects.
The delegates voted unanimously to kick off the development projects with the training of Liberian teachers and distribution of textbooks and materials to Liberians school
The Director of the Institute for Administration and Civil Service Studies (IPA) in Paris, Dr. Pierrick Le Jeune has pledged his organization’s support to EFLA’s development initiatives. Dr. Le Jeune told the conference delegates that his organization was prepared to work along with EFLA and assist with its development projects.
A proxy for Liberia’s Ambassador to the Court of St. James in England, Mr. Philip Gbadyue assured EFLA of government’s continued support, and at the the same time the Minister Counselor at the Liberian Embassy in Paris, Miss Catherine Doe has praised Liberians in the Diaspora, especially in Europe for prioritizing the development of the country. Miss Doe represented Ambassador D. McKinley Thomas who was on an official mission outside of Paris at the time of the convention.
Meanwhile, the former Director for Agriculture at the African Development Bank, Dr George Taylor Lewis of Sierra Leone has called for greater participation of the youths in reconstruction post-war Liberia. Dr. Taylor Lewis noted stressed the importance of the role the youths can play in any society, noting that youth can serve as the catalysts of change in the society.
He called on EFLA to focus attention on the youths because according to him, the youths are the future leaders of Liberia and must be given the necessary facilities to obtain quality education.
Mr. Beniot Miribel, Director General of Foundation Mérieux spoke on the importance of NGOs role in the reconstruction process of post war countries.
For his part, Professor Viktor Bengtsson of Sweden says Liberia is back on the road to economic recovery according to recent statistics. Professor Bengtsson noted that Liberians can help their country recover economically from years of economic down trend as a result of the civil conflict.
The President of EFLA, Elvis G. Morris praised delegates at the conference and called for greater cooperation from Liberians in Europe to support projects that the organization has planned to undertake
And [He] said the Liberian European Diaspora must join hands with other Liberians around the world to help speed up the development and reconstruction programmed of their country. He said Liberians in the Diaspora could contribute to the brain drain of their country by working out modality with other international partner to implement programmed that will allow professional Liberian to return home.
Mr. Morris thanked the donor countries and organizations for their support to EFLA, and assured that EFLA will account for whatever assistance it will receive for any development purposes.
Mr. Morris pointed out that various development projects ear-marked by EFLA will span over a five-year period