Trocaire Project

VDF has been working on promoting citizens participation in decision making processes and in natural resource governance in Lofa County since 2011 with funding support from Trocaire. Forty leaders of four grassroots civil society organizations in Lofa County benefitted from two weeks leadership and advocacy training program in 2011 organized and conducted by VDF at the VDF training Center in Voinjama. In 2012, VDF trained another 40 local leaders including Paramount chiefs, District Commissioners, and leaders of Traditional Council in Participatory leadership, natural resource governance and advocacy.

This year, VDF is working directly in three communities: Sazanor where the Liberia Cocoa Corporation owned by the Tolbert Family has established a cocoa plantation which has forced community people to abandon farming and to become plantation workers, Nyandohun where a 60 kilowatts mini hydro plant has been constructed leaving community confused about the actual intent of such a huge hydro electric project in their community and LISCO an old mining community at the foot of the Wologizi Mountain – one of Liberia’s nature reserve now under threat. In these three communities, VDF established Village Savings and Loans program to help communities take care of their basic livelihood and to create forums for community dialogue around the Community Rights Law of Liberia. From discussions around Community Rights Law of Liberia, it is glaring those communities are anxious about protecting their community land. They have been calling on VDF to help them. To effectively deal with community concerns around natural resources in a broader national framework and in order to network with groups that have expertise in collective bargaining and environmental law, etc, VDF applied for membership in the Association of Rural Democrats (ARD) so as to increase its allies in the fight for community rights; so that it’s neglected, silenced community partners would have a forum to voice their opinions without fear and to gain support in their struggle to protect their rights.