MINERS’ FORM MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES
Upon receipt of their mining equipment, the first group of 18 mining households from three (3) communities has initiated the establishment of management committees in their communitie. The committees are made up of the beneficiaries in each community, who have elected their own leaders. These committees will serve a number of purposes in support of the project success.
The Management committees are responsible to liaise with the implementing partners, Federation of Miners Association of Liberia (FOMAL), and Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF). The Committees will also be signatories to the revolving loan scheme account to be set up for the project. They will be responsible for ensuring the collection of the repayment of the loan, which each group of beneficiaries have committed themselves to pay. Payment of the loans will go to fund the procurement of additional equipment which will go to benefit the other stand-by groups, waiting to benefit from the mining equipment.
Finally the Management Committees have begun the process of taking ownership of the project and in this way beginning to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project. The establishment of the ManagementCommittees is a major organizational accomplishment for the miners’.
With the support of our donors, the Management Committees will be trained to manage the project, oversee the revolving loan scheme and provide necessary liaison to the implementing partners, jointly undertaking supervision and monitoring of the project.
Report prepared by James Yarsiah, Project Leader, Liberia
December 27, 2012
A total of 18 miners (8 females & 10 males) working with over 270 mine workers and thousands of indirect beneficiaries were the proud beneficiaries of de-watering motor pumps which will help them to reduce their labor, help to increase productivity and augment their income. The machines were handed over by the two local partners of the project, Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF) and the Federation of Miners' Association of Liberia (FOMAL) at ceremonies in Grand Cape Mount County of Liberia on June 3, 2012. The three communities targeted for the intervention are: Weaju, Jessie Village and Mabon region. Funded by Lester Fund through GlobalGiving of the U.S.A. the project aims to provide equipment through a revolving loan scheme and basic financial management skills to the artisanal miners and mine workers who work with hand tools and exert manual labor to make a living. The project is aimed at increasing the incomes of the miners and contributing to improvement in their livelihood. As part of the turning over program the miners signed an MoU which spelled out the roles and responsibilities of the miners, mine workers, local mining agent, District and other local officials. With the revolving loan scheme, the first set of beneficiaries are required to pay back the cost of the equipment over a six months period, which funds will then be used to purchase more equipment to benefit other miners. Speaking at the turning over program the District Commissioner of the area Hon. Musa stressed the need stressed the need for cooperation of all parties in order for the project to meet its primary objectives by improving the lives of local miners and their mine workers in its totality. Beneficiaries of the project are excited about the project and have organized themselves into Project Management Committees responsible for the collection and coordination of the activities of the project by the beneficiaries. Prepared by Rights and Rice Foundation Monrovia, Liberia August 30, 2012
TAKING ON OWNERSHIP OF THE LITERACY SESSION BY COMMUNITY DWELLERS
In Foya District, Lofa County, Rights and Rice Foundation has implemented two years of functional adult literacy program in twenty communities with women who did not have any formal education, participating in the program.
In April 2012, a team of field staffs from Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF) visited five of the project communities of Foya District as means of making follow up on community initiatives for sustainability measures of the program. The team encountered a literacy session in Bakamba during the evening hours. This evening session had fifteen women, six of which are beneficiaries of the first literacy project while nine are new to the session. According to the Volunteer Facilitator, Mr. Augustine Tamba, the session was established in February 2012 supported by the entire community to continue the initiatives to help other women who did not have the opportunity to be a part of the first nine months project.
The evening session lasted for one day and ran for one hour thirty minutes day, compared to the regular two hours minimum a day for three days a week. This according to the Chair lady of the community, Ma Finda Saah, is due to the lack of kerosene, lighting system and stipend for the facilitator. This session is completely supported by the community. There are no pre-printed text books for the learners but the lessons suggested by the learners, were based on what they want to learn and practice that could be applied immediately to their life situations. Some of these lessons suggested by learners included the correct spelling for the names of their children, husbands' full name, community name, names of service providers and service delivery centers, names of vegetables produced household cooking utensils, two to three place multiplications, and two place addition and so on. These lessons are drawn from general discussions during the sessions about learners' domestic issues, farming activities and daily life situation.
One recommendation from the session was to help the volunteer facilitator with additional life skills training that would improve his skills and make the sessions more interesting for learners as well as the facilitator himself. Moreover, the learners stressed the need for assistance from donors in materials such as lamps and kerosene, to do the entire course.
The RRF team thanked the entire community especially the volunteer facilitator and the learning community for the initiatives of starting their own literacy sessions. The Team encouraged the community to continue their support for the literacy learners.
The significance of this community session is that it underlines the eagerness of the residents, women in particular, to get exposed to education. Most women historically in Liberia have been left far behind in education due primarily to cultural reasons which favored education of the boy child, while the girl child remained with the mother at home
When will my suffering be over?
When will my suffering be over? Madam Kermah Bunul, 68 years old has been mining for the past 18 years on the Lofa river in western Liberia; she has been mining from community to community, in search of subsistence livelihood and to help take care of her five children.
To date Madam Bunul has nothing to show for her years of hard work and labor; she has lived on subsistence and barely taking care of her five children. According to Madam Bunul, she has lost her husband during the period of the Liberian civil war that lasted for 15 years, through fire exchange between the LURD rebels and Government troops on the Bomi High way.
This is a brief explanation of Madam Bunul’s family life which is paraphrased: ‘My children, things are so hard for me and my five children that I cannot overcome by my own strength, my only hope was my husband who died during the last war. My brother also got killed during the war. My mother is very old as you can see me the daughter; she too is depending on me. But I thank Allah for life; I do not have hope for now but I have hope that one day my life will improve because my oldest son is out of high school, while the younger one is in the grade nine. It is from the mining that I have been able to send them to school. But I need help, beside this mining work. I need other skills that could help improve my family life. I was happy after the meeting last week where we were told that the Rights and Rice Foundation is supporting program for women who have never been to school, to learn how to read and write. For me I want to know how to identify, read and write my name, work with numbers especially in weighing my small gold because the buyers can really cheat us, who cannot understand numbers. So I will be part of the women's program to make the difference”.
According to Madam Bunul, she has registered with one of the group to benefit from the Water pump loan scheme in Lofa Bridge,(the LESTER FUND/GLOBAL GIVING supported project); the beginning of positive change in her life, to be part of a well organized group. She is in one of the standby groups, who hope to receive water pumps after the first group has repaid their loan to purchase the next set of pumps. Madam Bunul, like many other women, is looking forward to the labor saving water pump, which she hope will increase her income and improve her livelihood in future.
Artisanal Miners Welcome Assistance to Improve their Lives Report of the Project, Provision of equipment and training for mine and mine workers.
Approved in December 2011,we are pleased to report that this project has started. The generous contribution from our donors has been received enthusiastically by the artisan mining communities who have so long yearned for assistance. The project is taking place in Grand Cape Mount County, one of the three counties in western Liberia bordering the Republic of Sierra Leone, rich in natural resources but whose population including artisanal miners has lived in communities that are yet to receive basic social services. Three separate meetings were held with county authorities, line ministries and the selected project communities. The purpose of the meetings was to disseminate information as regard the project implementation, to solicit support from county officials and to explain to the miners and mine workers the criteria set for the selection of beneficiaries as well as the limitationd of the project. The county officials now understand the nature of the project and have pledged their support. The project is planned to provide mining equipment on revolving loan basis to miners and their mine workers to help improve the income generated from their mining activities. The beneficiaries will also receive financial management training to help them manage the expected increase in income. Initial activities have led to the following achievements: - 20 miners and 300 mine workers will directly benefit from the first round of assistance under this project. - Among these 320 beneficiaries, 40 have been identified to undergo intensive one week business management training. The Federation of Miners’ Association (FOMAL), Rights and Rice Foundation and all the beneficiaries of this project extend their sincere thanks to our donors on this very important project.
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