…Over New Community Engagement; As AML’s Phase II Expansion Unfolds
By: Edmund C. Gbarwee/Nimba D-9 TV/Public Health Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org
MONROVIA-Women Empowerment Forum Liberia-WEFL a women’s grassroots civil society organization has ended a one-month sensitization on ArcelorMittal Phase Two Expansion in Nimba County.
The community-based dialogue was held with a cross-section of citizens in five of the most affected communities in Nimba County including Gompa, Sanniquellie, Karnplay, Gbapa, and Gbeleyee.
The citizens in these areas are said to have expressed joy over the work ArcelorMittal has been doing in Liberia over the past fifteen years.
According to the Executive Director of WEFL-Laura Bee Kiekpo, statistics gathered from various town-hall meetings show that directly affected communities are willing for ArcelorMittal-Liberia Phase-II to continue.
They are urging Liberian authorities to resolve their differences and pass the third amended Mineral Development Agreement (MDA).
“At one point, our traditional people from Yarmein welcomed us and it was very exciting to say the least. When the devil comes out to welcome you that shows that we are truly for you and are for ArcelorMittal-Liberia”
“Our last two town hall meetings were held in Gbapa and Karnplay as we continue our usual community dialogues with citizens of Gbapa and Karnplay on the activities and benefits of ArcerlorMittal-Liberia which include but not limited to major capital investment, job creation & economic enhancement, County Social Development Fund (CSDF) and Increase in Government Revenue” added Madame Kiekpo.
Mrs. Kiekpo further added her group has informed the people of Nimba County that when fully operationalized, the annual County Social Development Fund will increase from 1.5 million up to 3.5 million after the amendment is ratified.
“We have told the people that currently 20% of the County Social Development fund is being allocated to specific programs selected by the counties and communities, which AML is financing directly to the communities, with the Government agreeing to the direct 100% of County Social Development Fund contribution directly to the 3 counties, a huge opportunity will be created for undertaking up many other community development programs in the three affected Counties”.
In response to the CSO’s awareness activities in Nimba over the last one week, Doris Y. Paye of Gbapa Town who represented the women expressed gratitude to ArcelorMittal Liberia for working with a local group to explain the benefit of AML’s second project.
Madam Kiekpo said the citizens in the communities affected by ArcelorMittal Liberia throughout the engagement thanked the concession or her “numerous contributions”.
They said ‘’AML empowered 30 women with the amount of USD$3,000 which today some of them are strongly involved in business and further told our team that most of their sons and daughters have benefited from ArcelorMittal-Liberia training and that the company has been providing food for the disabled community.
“The Women of Gbapa town are also faced with the challenges of job provision for their children that got trained, women empowerment so that single parent can be able to send their children to school, electricity and they are asking the company and the government to work together.
WEFL said the citizens appreciate ArcelorMittal Liberia for contributing hugely to the Gbarpa Clinic project which is nearing completion and a town hall project including many other projects.
The Mayor of the City of Karnplay Philip B. Flomo praised Women Empowerment Forum Liberia-WEFL for being that vessel that connects the city to ArcelorMittal-Liberia.
‘’Since I was appointed as Mayor for the city of karnplay, we have tried getting to ArcelorMittal, but it has been very difficult and you’re coming with all these very informative programs have again giving us the courage to see ArcelorMittal-Liberia as a true partner”
“Honestly, we never thought all these activities as named and displayed were ongoing, and even if I as a person know and many of our ordinary citizens don’t know in detail. It will be hard to have a good partnership”
“Again, I want to appreciate the media because we have and continue to hear Inside AML and AML messages here and across the county about different AML programs here in Nimba, Bong, Bassa, and Liberia at large”.
According to Major of Karnplay, his biggest plead to AML is for the company to help with its sanitation issue and to provide local scholarships for our students.
“Thanks to Arcelor Mittal-Liberia for the ongoing road construction from Ganta to Sanniquellie as we are praying for them to reach in Yekepa the soonest”.