NN’s Wade Williams on Liberia’s Entrepreneur Women

  MONROVIA, Liberia — On the outskirts of this capital city, Martha Partor runs what passes for a food processing business in this war-weary west African nation. It’s not high tech or big business. She packages local agricultural items such as pepper sauce, cassava leaf flour and potato greens powder in vacuum bags that are…

Liberia’s Water Woes: Why Clean, Safe Water Is Still Out of Reach for Many Liberians

Monrovia: “Water! Water!” Eugene Seoh shouted from his three-story apartment building on Benson Street, a main avenue in the center of Monrovia. From across the road, water vendor Jerry Worlogar looked up and nodded.  Seoh hurried down the stairs.  He stood before Worlogar’s hand-drawn cart full of white five-gallon containers. “Thirty-five \[Liberian] dollars for one…

Charles Taylor’s Verdict Proves What Goes Up Must Come Down

 by New Narratives Fellow Robtel Neajai Pailey I was in The Hague on April 26 when they convicted Charles Taylor. Appearing like a child being publicly scolded, he stood on seemingly wobbly legs, head bowed, when they pronounced him guilty on 11 counts of crimes against humanity for aiding and abetting rebels during Sierra Leone’s…

NN’s Tecee Boley and Joanna Devane on Liberian Reaction to Taylor Verdict for Global Post

Charles Taylor guilty: Liberians have mixed reactions In Monrovia, some Liberians denounce Taylor’s conviction, others welcome it. By Joanna Devane and Tecee Boley April 26, 2012 12:48 In Freetown, Sierra Leone, Mohamed Traore, one of the amputees of the civil war, welcomes the conviction on war crimes of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Taylor was…

Genital Cutting Threatens the Health of Liberia’s Women

The cultural practice of female genital cutting is rampant in Liberia, especially in the countryside.  Parents send girls as young as infants to ceremonies conducted by a secretive indigenous religion known as the Sande to be cut without knowing the health risks involved.  But openly talking about this secret rite of passage is taboo here. …

From Petty Traders to Entrepreneurs in War-Battered Economy

Clothing designer Geneva Garr supervises several men crouched over sewing machines surrounded by beautifully tailored dresses hanging for customers to see. Starting up with just one sewing machine on her porch, Garr, 37, now makes 72 outfits a week. Garr says she started the business in 2005 in Accra, Ghana and moved to Liberia in…

Seek Ye First the Economic Kingdom, Woman

First appeared in Liberia’s FrontPage Africa newspaper March 1 Africa’s first post-independence president, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, urged colonial Africa to “seek ye first the political kingdom, and all else shall be added onto you.” Nkrumah was alluding to the biblical verse, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these…

Liberian President Faces Tough Second Term

By NN fellow and FrontPage Africa editor Wade Williams MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will be sworn in for her second term this Monday but the 73-year-old Nobel laureate begins her six-year term under a heavy cloud. An acrimonious election campaign against the main opposition party, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), was…

Water and Sanitation Problems Plague Monrovians

It is often said in Liberia: “to spoil it is easy but to build it is hard.” So is the case with water and sanitation here. The 14-year civil war destroyed much of the water supply and sanitation facilities. People escaping brutal battles in the heart of the country relocated to Monrovia—overcrowding the city’s slums…

Liberia’s Teen Moms Have it Hard

Having children early may seem like an adventure for many teenage girls, but most soon discover that this choice leads to lasting consequences. The high rate of teenage pregnancy increases the economic burden of Liberia by creating generation upon generation of very poor families.  The majority of teen moms live at home with their parents,…