From November 7-12, 2010 the Leadership Project conducted its third workshop in Liberia as part of its collaborative capacity-building initiative. The workshop provided Liberian leaders with the skills and training in mediation and negotiation necessary to effectively address potential causes of conflict in order to avert a recurrence of violence in the future.
As a direct result of the feedback gathered from the last workshop held in April 2010, which brought together executive and legislative branch officials, along with County Superintendents, November's workshop readjusted its focus to incorporate more local levels of representation from Bomi, Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties. It successfully brought together Superintendents or Deputy Superintendents of those four counties; their Superintendents for Land Commission, Education and Development; and Paramount Chiefs, elders and civil society representatives.
The 5-day training held in Gbarnga was focused on imparting skills and tools around problem-solving, negotiations, mediation and communications, and creating the collaborative capacity of these leaders to address together critical issues they face in their counties. The participants identified land disputes as their primary concern and were eager to apply their newly acquired skill sets in the processes of resolving them effectively within their communities. By then end of the training, many of the participants outlined specific mediations they were currently involved in which would benefit from the workshop. One Superintendent, who was working with a community group on teenage pregnancy issues the following week, testified that his job had been made much easier in approaching this sensitive subject because of what he had learned from the training. All participants were anxious that these workshops be expanded to the other counties, but also to the district level.
Following the main workshop, the Leadership Project reconvened participants from the April workshop comprised of County Superintendents, select Senate and House leaders, and Ministers or Deputy Ministers. The purpose of the 2 day follow-up session was to reinforce our earlier training, hear from them what had been working and what had not, deepen the relationships and trust they are building, and look at logical next steps.