Posted by: africanpressorganization | 7 August 2008

Liberia / United Nations / Employment creation through road rehabilitation yields peace dividend


Liberia / United Nations / Employment creation through road rehabilitation yields peace dividend


MONROVIA, Liberia, August 7, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Over 30,000 Liberian women and men have benefited from short-term employment opportunities generated by labour-intensive road rehabilitation projects across the country, a new study reveals. “The jobs created have had a positive impact, engendering a feeling of security in the communities and have promoted cohesion, as people from different groups participated jointly,” said Director of UNMIL’s Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Recovery Section (RRR), Mr. Andrea Tamagnini.


The projects were implemented during the last dry season through a joint agreement involving Liberia’s Ministry of Public Works, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Food Programme (WFP),. This initiative, undertaken along the main roads from Voinjama in the Northwest to Fishtown in the Southeast, resulted in more than 1.3 million working days generated, from September 2007 through May 2008.


Quoting key findings of the impact study conducted by the Liberia Institute of Public Administration, Mr. Tamagnini pointed out that incidents of petty crime declined considerably during and after the projects, which was due to the fact that the projects provided legal income-generation opportunity for war-affected youth. The study, covering 23 locations in Lofa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties, reveals that the employment initiatives contributed to peace and stability at the local level and had a positive impact on security and reintegration, as well as on governance and the revival of the local economy.


The importance of employment in post conflict situations was echoed by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Dmitry Titov, when he visited Liberia recently. During consultations on the joint road projects, he told partners that “The combination of infrastructure and employment and the contributions these interventions make to recovery and rehabilitation should be seen as a microcosm of peace-building”.


With massive unemployment and underemployment affecting all parts of the country, one of the most important goals of Liberia’s newly launched Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) is “to promote the rapid creation of productive employment that will reduce poverty, ensure peace and stability; and enhance the overall wellbeing of the Liberian population”. Furthermore, Liberia’s Minister for Public Works, Mr. Loseni Dunzo has said, “The number one priority in Liberia’s PRS programme is roads – a priority that is due to the major role played by road rehabilitation in the political stability of Liberia.”


In line with UNMIL’s drawdown plans, the RRR section and the Ministry of Public Works are preparing for the next phase of joint road rehabilitation initiatives. More responsibility will be placed on the Government to manage and supervise the projects, which include the completion of work on certain roads, the rehabilitation of additional roads and a two-year “Community Based” maintenance programme.


More efforts from the infrastructure-for-employment strategy are being carried out in various parts of the country by other partners such as USAID and the European Union, as well as a number of bilateral donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).



SOURCE : Mission of UN in Liberia


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