The first quarterly report of the Cross-Border Programme funded by the European Union Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and implemented by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has been launched in Monrovia.
Speaking at the launching ceremony yesterday, FAO Country Representative, Mr. Jean-Alexandre Scaglia, said the Cross-border Programme was conceived and formulated out of the three institutions’ dedicated aspiration to seize an opportunity to reach out and lend their expertise, committing their resources, and creating synergies with nothing else but the people, especially women and children in mind.
The FAO Liberia Boss said the five programme objectives of this initiative took into consideration the provision of support to vulnerable people in communities, improvement of social and economic resilience of communities, prevention and management of malnutrition, strengthening the capacity of national and local authorities to promote stability, and to advocate for an integrated social cohesion.
“As mentioned in the Borderline Report, the women of the border regions of the two countries (Ivory Coast and Liberia) play an important role within agriculture. They are repositories of knowledge regarding cultivation, food processing and the preservation of nutritious and locally adapted crop varieties,” Mr. Scaglia said.
The FAO Liberia Representative said in addition to farming and working their family plots of land, they also carry chief responsibilities towards the communities, their families and the care of their children.
He said when situations of food insecurity occur, it is women who usually find the coping mechanisms to provide food for their children and families, saying, “These mechanisms are almost the same in both Liberia and Cote D’lvoire.”
Mr. Scaglia said hence, an assessment of the situation was carried out that resulted in the production of a report called “on the borderline: A Report for Food Security on the Liberian Ivorian Border”.
He noted that the report simply highlighted the urgent need for action, during which the following five key objectives were identified. He named these objectives as to support communities, vulnerable groups and household to identify, understand and plan responses to land and food security issues, reinforcing social cohesion and promoting stability.
Mr. Scaglia said it is also designed to improve the social and economic resilience of communities, vulnerable groups and households through increase access to land, market, financial services and safety nets.
With the support of the European Union, the Cross-Border Programme got underway in 2013, and is suitably positioned to support food production in Liberia and Ivory Coast with more than 70 percent depending on agriculture, mainly rice, tubers, vegetable, fishery and livestock.
At the launching ceremony yesterday, the DRC did a power point presentation on the social cohesion component, the FAO on the food Security component and the NRC on the land tenure component of the programme.
The launching program brought together prominent dignitaries including United States Ambassador, the Deputy Special Representative of the Un Secretary General, the ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, a Government delegation from Ivory Coast among others.