Reaching the Unreachable: UNOPS, UNFPA and WHO join Resident Coordinator mission to Lofa County

Fayyaz Ahmad UNOPS, DSRSG/RC Yacoub El Hillo and Oluremi Sogunro UNFPA meeting with residents at the bordering village in Lofa County.November 15, 2016 Voinjama Lofa County L-R: Fayyaz Ahmad UNOPS, DSRSG/RC Yacoub El Hillo and Oluremi Sogunro UNFPA meeting with residents at the bordering village in Lofa County.

November 15, 2016 Voinjama Lofa County: There are many people out there whose voices cannot be heard. They need someone to listen to them and understand their situation. In most cases, reaching these people seem very difficult and sometimes impossible. The people in remote areas in Lofa County are no exception to this situation.  

On 15-16 November, UN Resident Coordinator Yacoub El Hillo led at delegation comprising for, Deputy Minister for Administration Minister of Internal Affairs Varney Sirleaf, UNFPA Country Representative Oluremi Sogunro, UNOPS Country Manager Fayyaz Ahmad, WHO Country Representative ad interim Peter Clement and other members of the United Nations in Liberia to the remote parts of Lofa to meet the people as well as local authorities.

The two-day field visit reached-out to the local market women, students from the Lofa Multilateral High School, citizens, Civil Society groups, county authorities. It also included a visit to Telewoyan Memorial Referral Hospital, and a meeting with security officials at the Bolongoidu border with Guinea.

Upon arrival in Lofa, the joint team met with local authorities of the county. During the meeting the RC confirmed support for the renovation of the Service Center in three weeks to Superintendent George S. Dunor of. He confirmed UNMIL support towards renovation of the   previously burnt Service Center building through UNMIL Quick Impact Project (QIP). The Ministry of Internal Affairs plans to re- open the Service Center soon.

Visiting the local market, the women voiced their frustration over the deplorable road condition that was hampering their sales, resulting in increased price of commodities. “We thank you all for coming. The road is major challenge for the people of this county and women in particular. This county was once called the bread-basket of Liberia; but now it’s difficult to product more. We cannot take our products to Monrovia to sell due to bad road condition. This is a serious issue that we asking you people to address” Madam Finda Nyormoi highlighted. 

Mr. El Hillo reaffirmed that the road was a serious issue for everyone. “The entire road cannot be done now but it is possible to fix those challenging spots and he asked Minister Sirleaf to advocate for that on behalf of the people of Lofa”. Minister Sirleaf explained that plans for the pavement of Gbarnga-Voinjama highway were being finalized, and the government would try and repair the bad spots on the road before the rehabilitation of the roads start.

The RC and delegation visited Lofa Multilateral High School to interact with students and teachers. The school was one of those schools destroyed by the war. To date, most buildings have not been renovated since the war.

The Administration highlighted difficulties in receiving salaries, lack of incentives and instructional materials such as text books, stationeries etc. as some challenges they were facing. The students in their interaction with the delegation, asked the both UN and Government – “to please help in improving their learning condition, renovate and revamp the vocational training part for the school”

As part of the mission, the delegation visited Tellewoyen Memorial Hospital in Voinjama. The RC and team met Dr. Zuannah Musa Kamara, Medical Director as well as other administrators for the hospital. Dr. Kamara explained that Tellewoyen hospitalwas the only referral hospital in the county. The hospital often receives cases from neighbouring Guinea and other bordering counties. “Over the months we have faced problem with electricity. The only generator we have cannot give power for all the machines and equipment or run the hospital 24/7. Sometimes we have to cut-off the generator during the day to have current at night” Dr. Kamara noted.

The mission climaxed with the delegation travelling   to Bolongoidu - a town bordering Guinea – where they met with security personnel from BIN, LNP and DEA. Mr. El Hillo also had a brief interview with journalists at the end of the mission.

 

Albert T. Dayyeah, Communications Specialist

albert.dayyeah@one.un.org