The Liberia Decentralization Support Programme (LDSP)
What is the Programme about?
Decentralization is central to the ongoing peace building and reconciliation, governance reforms, and poverty reduction program of Liberia. The Government of Liberia is “committed to delivering to the Liberian people an improved system of governance that is more localized and more responsive to the needs and aspirations of all citizens throughout the country.
The Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP), is a successor to the Liberia Decentralization and Local Development (LDLD) which was a five-year program of support to the decentralization of political, administrative, and fiscal governance in Liberia.
The new LDSP program is fully aligned with Liberia’s National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance and the Liberia Decentralization Implementation Plan (LDIP).
It is designed to give full effect to the implementation of National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance over a 10-year period leading to full devolution of powers.
It is aimed at developing a local government system built on the principles and practices of good governance and under leadership of elected local officials.
Specific objectives related to the transfer of authority and responsibilities from national to local governments in Liberia include the following:
•Enhance sensitive, responsive and capable and accountable local governments.
•Accelerate effective and efficient service delivery and poverty alleviation by developing and strengthening local level planning, monitoring and management capacity and providing access to national and local resources through fiscal decentralization.
•Increase equitable distribution of the nation’s resources so as to ensure a more holistic process of development and democratic governance.
•Enhance participatory decision-making to engender peace-building and reconciliation.
The Project aims to achieve the following results:
•Citizens (men and women) and stakeholders are aware of and participate in decentralization reforms
•Legal and regulatory frameworks for decentralization established.
•Liberian institutions are built to lead and implement decentralization reforms.
•Service delivery and accountability of local government improved
What have we accomplished so far?
Unquestionably, the singular most achievement of the LDSP to date has been the construction and operationalizing of 15 County Service Centers in all 15 counties in Liberia. It is through these centers that citizens can now have access to basic services such as birth and marriage certificates, drivers and business licenses, permits and a host of others. Previously, these were provided through Ministries and Agencies in the capital Monrovia and citizens would have had to incur extensive travel and other costs to access them. Additionally, by making these services more accessible, the Government of Liberia has been able to generate significant revenues.
Decentralized service delivery
Since the establishment of the first County Service Center in 2015 until the end of August 2017, services to 29,391 users, generating L$32,290,564.20 and US$587,358.08 in revenues. For the period January - August 2017, there were 11,518 service users generating L$31,473,583.70 + US$412,071.13 in revenues. This service delivery and revenue generation are as a result of 12 of the 14 MACs providing services through the CSCs. Providing services to the citizens in their respective Counties gives them a basic understanding of practical benefits of decentralization and an appreciation of its significance.
Increased gender awareness
During 2017, LDSP focussed on gender related activities that led to increasing gender awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness. Gender evaluation of the County Service Centers was conducted. Gender responsive budgeting training with 90 persons from MACs and CSOs was also done. 20 MIA staff benefitted from training aimed at understanding gender concepts and approaches as it relates to planning and women’s empowerment. The training also addressed factors affecting and influencing women’s participation and representation in local government as well as gender mainstreaming issues.
Strengthened capacity of MIA and CSC staff
LDSP capacity development team trained 284 persons in various subject areas. 58 MIA staff were trained to enhance their skills in Report writing, Financial Management and Asset Management and Basic Computer operations and 229 CSC staff were trained in Customer Service, Understanding the Concept of County Service Center, Roles and responsibilities as it relates to CSCs and Team Building. Complementing this classroom training, the CSC staff were involved in hands-on training at their respective centers where they functioned under simulated conditions of their work environment. Continuous hands-on capacity building at the CSCs were provided by the IUNVs stationed in the Counties.
The five volunteers worked in 3 Counties each along with 3 mentees from each County to transfer knowledge and skills. Based on feedback received from the Counties significant knowledge and skills transfer have been done by the IUNVs.
Increased public awareness of decentralization
Through various public outreach modalities, LDSP public education and information team has been instrumental in increasing national citizen’s awareness and enhancing their knowledge on decentralization. Six Town hall meetings were held in 4 Counties (Nimba, Gbarpolu, Cape Mount, Bomi) attended by 1005 citizens including women (444), youth, members of the business community, persons with disability among others. Weekly national and community radio and TV programs provided opportunities for citizens to be constantly informed on the decentralization process and served as a forum for discussions on the various decentralization issues. 11 CSOs also conducted public awareness and education programs on decentralization at the community level.
Who finances it?
Delivery in previous year