Kevin in Liberia

Its Purpose: to raise awareness of current social, political, ethical, and spiritual issues within a relief and development context in Liberia. Its effectiveness is simple: It relies on me, the author, to provide insightful, and often debate-sparking material that will encourage you, the reader to get engaged through comment contributions, emails, and promoting others to read, re-think, and respond to the important issues discussed.

I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom. ~ a prayer by Blaise Pascal

Monday, January 23, 2006

Its Not All Fun and Games

I thought it was probably appropriate to tell you guys that here in Liberia it isn’t all fun and games. There are times, times which comprise about 95% of my time here, when work does actually get done. To give everyone an idea of the projects that we run I thought it would be insightful for me to share some details about the ongoing projects. I didn’t want everyone to think that my time here is spent primarily cliff jumping, surfing, and climbing large structures because that would be a very unfair picture of what is happening on the ground.

Our main project that has been ongoing for a few years now, at varying sizes and impact levels, is our integrated community health care project currently funded by USAID/OFDA and Tearfund, a project that primarily focus on community health education in an effort to lower levels of disease and death caused by problems such as HIV/AIDS, water-borne diseases, and other prevailing health issues. Currently, we are also responsible for the rehabilitation and repair of various clinics in Nimba County, an area devastated by war and the primary location for our current projects. The current structure of the program is that there are a number of Supervisors who train and supervise our Community Health Ambassadors (CHAs) on the practices of proper health and “wholeness”. The CHAs then spread the news of good health practices throughout their family and community members. Recent external evaluations of our ongoing healthcare projects have been positive.

Also, at this time, we have a UNICEF-funded WATSAN (water & sanitation) project in Nimba County near the border of Cote d’Ivoire. This projects main outputs are to build 15 WATSAN packages - including one well with hand pump, one latrine (also known as an outhouse, port-o-potty, or Port-o-John), and a waste pit as well as eight additional wells at various schools in the region. Construction of all facilities are scheduled to be completed in March.

Another project that ended in December 2005 (we are currently looking to secure funding for the project to continue) was our UNICEF-funded “CEIP” Program, or Community Education Investment Program. It was a very interesting program whereby we reintegrated child fighters or children affected by the fighting factions, or CAFF, into school and back in to society.

We do have a number of smaller projects that include clinic and well building but it seems like an explanation of those projects would only be redundancy of already iterated points above. All projects that we do have the same goal in mind and that is to better the lives of Liberians in every aspect, or “wholistically” as some would call it.

Now what is my function in amongst all these projects? Well, my title is Finance and Reporting Manager but I think there are a lot of people who would agree that my title does not accurately depict a lot of what my job entails. Although I do perform a lot of report writing, both financial and narrative, I do perform various functions from logistics to project management, from proposal writing to systems design; a very all-encompassing position.


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