UNDP Conducts Reusable ICT Building Blocks Workshop

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has conducted a three-day workshop in Gbarnga City, Bong County on reusable ICT building blocks designed to establish a common digital service delivery platform that aligns with the Smart Village concept as part of the SDGs. The workshop is the sixth in a series organized by the UNDP to raise awareness about the Human Security Project and to solicit context-based solutions from stakeholders to address the human security needs of their respective communities, with particular emphasis on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Human Security project was designed to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities and individuals by giving them a more sustainable and dignified livelihood. Held from June 19-21, 2024, the workshop brought together over 50 participants from various regions, including Yeala, Zorzor, and Salayea in Lofa County; Zuluyee and Gbanquoi in Nimba County; and Totota and Botota in Bong County. Among the attendees were commissioners, city mayors, youth and women leaders, and leaders representing people with special needs. In her opening remarks at the opening ceremony, the Commissioner of Panta District Darkeh Paye, emphasized the critical need for enhanced collaboration among local authorities in the targeted project communities, adding that fostering a spirit of teamwork and shared responsibility among local stakeholders is vital for the project’s success. “Local authorities working together can leverage collective expertise and resources to identify pressing issues and develop tailored strategies to meet the diverse challenges faced by communities effectively,” Commissioner Paye noted. She said such a cooperative approach encourages the pooling of knowledge, skills, and resources, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness of the interventions aimed at improving the quality of life for all residents and ensuring that the initiatives are not only relevant and impactful but also sustainable in the long term. Robert Dorliae, UNDP Human Security Project Manager, urged beneficiaries to harness the value of creativity and the need to develop local solutions tailored to local challenges as part of efforts to leverage ICT building blocks for a unified service delivery platform within project catchment communities. Dorliae explained that the Smart Village is not merely defined by its digital connectivity but also encompasses essential infrastructure and services, including access to clean water, decent housing, efficient waste disposal mechanisms, reliable electricity, and an overall improved standard of living. He further encouraged them to integrate principles into the project that will ensure that the benefits of development are shared equitably among all members of the community. “This holistic approach ensures that technological advancements go hand-in-hand with enhancing the quality of life in these communities,” he added. Moreover, Dorliae emphasized the importance of mainstreaming gender issues and human rights as fundamental components in the journey towards creating a more equal and inclusive society. “Addressing these critical areas, the initiative aims to foster an environment where all individuals, regardless of gender or background, can thrive and contribute to developing their communities,” he stated.

Also making remarks, the Executive Director of Capacity for Youth, a prominent local NGO in Liberia, underscored the significant role of the Human Security Forum and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the ongoing project. Daniel Folly emphasized that the Human Security Forum is a pivotal platform for advocating and raising awareness about various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), designed to serve not only as a watchdog for communities but also as a crucial bridge connecting local stakeholders with potential investors. Mr. Folly elaborated on the dual function of the forum and CSOs, noting that they act as advocates, ensuring that the voices and concerns of the communities are heard and addressed in line with the SDGs. “As watchdogs, we monitor the implementation of SDG-related initiatives and scrutinize the progress and impact of these projects to ensure transparency, accountability, and effectiveness and help maintain high standards and push for continued improvement,” he intimated. Mr. Folly also mentioned that awareness campaigns and educational programs, help inform and empower community members about their rights and the resources available to them, to foster a more informed and proactive populace. He sees the forum as a networking platform for local stakeholders and investors, facilitating dialogue and collaboration and helping to attract and secure investment for community projects. He wants community leaders, government officials, and international partners, to support and engage with the Human Security Forum, stressing that such collaboration is essential for creating a robust and responsive system that can effectively address local challenges and promote sustainable, inclusive development. In an overview of the project, the Focal Point at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Ministry Czars M. Palay stressed continued support by local stakeholders urging them to remain committed to the project’s success and called on newly appointed government officials to align themselves with these efforts. Mr. Palay also encouraged communities reaping the benefits of the training to initiate and undertake innovative projects aimed at improving the quality of life for their citizens and serving as change agents.

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