A three-day forum for the Validation of a Draft Communication and Awareness Strategy Document has ended in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, with media practitioners themselves to organizing what to be named and styled as “Media In Decentralization (MID)” group to help fast track the decentralization process. The participants, mainly media practitioners, pointed out that their decision after days of brainstorming was based on their belief that the media is an indispensable partner in selling the National Decentralization Policy to the citizenry.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the exercise, the media practitioners said they have a deep appreciation for this national policy shift in favor of greater participation of the citizenry in the affairs of the governance of the country which has launched a National Decentralization program with the principal objective of ensuring participatory governance.
The media practitioners, including the president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Mr. Abdullah K. Kamara, also committed themselves to structuring said body to progressively work for the promotion of the National Decentralization Program.
They observed that decentralization is an evolving concept in Liberia’s governing philosophy and as such requires systematic approach to information dissemination to ensure greater buy-in from the public and national and international stakeholders.
Speaking at the end of the forum, Internal Affairs Minister, Morris Dukuly lauded the media executives for the decision reached and pointed out that everything would be done for the realization on of this, adding, “we will implement it; we will put some money into it.”
Minister Dukuly, under whose Ministry’s auspice the forum was held, said decentralization was necessary as it would make people take ownership, noting, “It will be sustained if the people take ownership.”
The County Inspector of Grand Bassa County, Bromfield reeves, who proxied for Superintendent Etweda Cooper, said the communiqué would be a “working tool and a driving force” for public education and awareness, as decentralization is useful in that it would bring more developments to the country, and not only to the city. “It is a decent idea,” he stated.
In remarks, Dr. Roosevelt G. Jayjay, the National Program Director of the Liberia Decentralization support Program (LDSP) thanked the participants for contributing to the communication strategy, noting that communication is vital in this process of decentralization.
Giving closing remarks on behalf of his colleagues, the Managing Editor of THE INQUIRER Newspaper, Atty Philip N. Wesseh thanked the organizers for allowing them to share their experience on the importance of communication in the decentralizing process.
However, he expressed the hope that this would be implemented, as the Minister assured. He noted that one of the problems in his country following similar activities is the issue of implementation of the outcome of such activities.
“I hope this would make a difference, considering the importance of decentralization,” he said.
Also in remarks, UNMIL Civil Affairs Chief, LubnaLasu, thanked the organizers and participants and stressed the importance of communication.
Some of those who made presentations during he working session were Dr. Alfred Kulah, Advisor on Political Decentralization (LDSP, Mr. Peter Roberts, Assistant Minister for Research and Development Planning, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Mr. George Gould, who proxied for Commissioner YarsuoWehDorliea of the Governance Commission.
Mr. Oscar Bloh, communication specialist, drafted the communication strategy document, which was validated during the three-day forum.
Among other media practitioners that attended the forum were Prof WeadeKobbah-Wureh, Chairman, Mass Communication Department, University of Liberia; Lawrence Fahnbulleh, Assistant Director of Outreach Ministry of Information; Sainwola, former manager, Radio VERITAS and former Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL); Malcolm Joseph, Executive Director, Center for Media Studies and Peace Building; Lincoln bailey Jefferson Massah, head of program, Radio Gbarnga, Festus Z. Tarpar, County Information Officer, Margibi.