A Summary Chronology of FOL Involvement in Liberia
In its 30th year, FOL counts nearly 2,000 individuals and organizations as members, including Liberians and persons living all over the world who care about Liberia. The following summary does not include all activities of FOL, but demonstrates the influence and impact FOL has had assisting Liberians progress toward a sustainable, accountable, transparent democracy based on health, education, and a vibrant economy for all.
Click the blue subscribe button at the bottom of the page to get regular updates!
Friends of Liberia Milestones
During Liberia’s civil war, FOL committed over $100,000 in publicly raised funds for direct relief to Liberian refugees in Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone, and to displaced persons and orphans within Liberia. FOL also provided medical equipment and supplies to hospitals in Liberia.
July 1991 – FOL’s video documentary on the war in Liberia, “The Path to Peace,” provided many Americans their first glimpse of the war and its effect on the Liberian people.
FOL is awarded the National Peace Corps Association’s annual Loret Miller Ruppe award for its remarkable emergency relief assistance and peace and institution building.
March 1996 – FOL rallies at the U.S. Capitol in support of U.S. intervention to stop the Liberian civil war.
July 1997 – With USAID funding, FOL sent 34 of its members as part of the international observer force for the Liberian presidential election in 1997.
May 1999 – FOL collected and shipped books from the Federal Law Library and computers donated by the Harvard Law School to the Arthur Grimes Law School at the University of Liberia.
2008 – FOL Small Grants Program funds its first projects. Several of the non-profit groups were assisted in applying by members of the first Peace Corps Response team in Liberia, the first Volunteers since war had caused Peace Corps to withdraw 18 years previously.
Grants support post-war mediation, a shipment of books, teacher training and in-service on various levels, a health care feeding program, and educational materials and furniture.
May 2009 – Twenty-seven members of FOL travel together at their own expense to Liberia to do volunteer work in the areas of health, education, and the environment. In addition, the travelers attend the first Liberian Studies Association conference held in Monrovia, visit women’s market places, meet with Peace Corps Response Volunteers, inspect FOL small grant projects, and meet with the President of Liberia and the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia.
Approximately $24,500 was awarded by FOL to NGOS to advance 14 projects, including textbooks for schools; completion of a library; computers and cabinets for faculty at a nursing school; purchase of a rice mill by a farmer’s cooperative; assistance to buy a farm for a teacher’s training school; provision of a post-war wildlife survey; workshops and in-service training at a regional hospital; shipping of bicycles provided by another NGO; funding a literacy program led by students after being taught how by educators and community leaders; a women’s association training program; a kiln for a potter’s association; and provision of scientific calculators and training in many high schools and universities.
Approximately $23,000 was awarded by FOL to NGOs in 2010, including programs that provided materials for a new kitchen in an orphanage; trained destitute youth in life skills, teamwork, and leadership through soccer; assisted a primary-age literacy project; built a community well and school water system; restocked a pig farmer’s cooperative; purchased materials for a new school adopting FOL’s LEAP teacher training methodology; partnered with other NGOs to provide voting workshops for women; improved drinking water in several communities; purchased two motorcycles for independent journalists; provided renovations and equipment for schools, including one for the disabled; and provided skill and entrepreneurial training to young adults.
June – the first regular Peace Corps Volunteers start their training in Liberia, twenty years after the Peace Corps left Liberia. Peace Corps Volunteers were sworn in August 27.
FOL’s Early Childhood Education Teacher Training Workshop was held for three weeks with 150 Liberian teachers at the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute. [First year of a five year FOL project]
FOL held three events with over 450 participants during the 50th Peace Corps Anniversary Celebration in Washington, DC in September, 2011. Speakers included U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Liberian Ambassador William V.S. Bull, Sr., Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Liberian Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.
Prior to the outbreak of the Ebola Crisis, grants were awarded to stimulate entrepreneurship among women in sewing and cosmetology; construct beehives and train youth in production; provide high school students with entrepreneurship skills; assist in construction of a well for an education center; provide medical equipment for clinics in underserved areas; and provide textbooks for a new school. Additionally, in the U.S., a program to place donated Liberian artifacts in appropriate institutions was developed and FOL implemented a mentoring program available to recent PCVs.
The onset of the Ebola Crisis closed schools and affected on-going programs in Liberia. Peace Corps Volunteers were withdrawn.
By July 2014, Ebola projects were being supported by FOL and fund-raising in the U.S. to further support efforts became a priority. By the end of 2014, FOL members and supporters had raised over $100,000 to help address the crisis. Assistance went to MSF (Doctors Without Borders); Global Health Ministries for essential isolation-related materials; and to known clinics, a hospital, and school and community health programs that both supported patients and addressed prevention of Ebola transmission. A Post-Ebola grant committee developed guidelines for more effective evaluation of proposals and funded programs, utilizing FOL members in Liberia when possible.
Small grant awards supported an NGO that promotes sustainable community change, civic participation, collaboration, accountability, and integrity; development of a sound waste management system and small worker stipends in a very underserved community; and development and dissemination of radio messages to reintegrate Ebola survivors into families and communities without stigmatizing them. Other grants helped build a caretaker center near a major hospital; enlarged a women’s skills-training program for self-support; and provided school materials, tuition, and counseling for children and caretakers affected by Ebola.
FOL experts researched early childhood learning programs and selected the HIPPY model (please refer to FOL website) for its Family Literacy Initiative (FLI) pilot project. The successful Liberian NGO “We-Care” was selected as its implementing partner. Proposals were developed to involve funding partners, implementation procedures were developed with HIPPY advice, and by the end of the year the Government of Liberia (GOL) had given its blessing.
Two small grants were approved in January. One will fund a survey of nursing school instructors in numerous Liberian nursing and midwifery schools to assess training and in-service education needs of medical personnel. The goal is to develop a FOL and GOL-supported sustainable program of continuing education for medical personnel, which is currently absent.
The second grant will provide funds for sewing machines for graduates of a training program serving vulnerable women. They must repay the training program from earnings, then the program buys machines for the next graduates and thus becomes sustainable.