We work with governments and the private sector to create socially sustainable communities: equitable, diverse, connected, and democratic and provide a good quality of life by identifying and managing development and business impacts, positive and negative, on people and local communities.
Citizen voice and participation are essential to build and sustain democratic societies. Nevertheless, in the Mano River Union Basin region (Liberia, Guinea, and Serra Leone) majority of the citizens are still excluded from involvement in the political processes that define their opportunities and quality of life. Governments operate in closed and nontransparent manner without the meaningful participation of citizens. Besides, millions of people continue to experience the lives of extreme poverty with limited freedom or opportunities to improve their capabilities. All three countries in the region continue to face significant human rights abuses.
Also, extreme poverty, armed conflicts and child marriage continue to subject millions of women and children into modern-day slavery in Liberia and West Africa’s Mano River Union Basin region. Nevertheless, despite the practice being widespread, modern-day slavery remained largely invisible, partly because it affects mostly marginalized members of society, including women and children.
Our governance and social development program works to improve the well-being of every individual in society so they can reach their full potentials. We promote participatory, representative, and inclusive political processes and institutions; greater accountability of institutions and leaders to citizens and to the law; and recognition of universally recognized human rights. Besides, we undertake and support efforts to protect and expand civic space, and to strengthen civil society’s ability to inform, engage, and mobilize diverse groups in Liberia and the Mano River Union Basin region.
VOSIEDA is working to empower citizens to participate actively in political, economic, and governing processes and to hold their governments accountable. Besides, we work with governments, media, and civil society to break down historical barriers to political and economic inclusion of marginalized groups. We place particular emphasis on addressing the barriers to political participation and other freedoms for women, persons with disabilities, displaced persons, LGBT persons, indigenous peoples, and other historically marginalized populations including ethnic and religious minorities in Liberia and the Mano River Union Basin region.
Only communities or individuals that are conscious of their roles and rights will be able to bring about positive changes. Nevertheless, in Liberia and the Mano River Union Basin region, lack of knowledge on democratic values among the citizenry often results in limited reactions to the government’s executive and legislative decisions and to traditional and religious leaders. Consequently, many citizens view themselves as mere recipients and passive users of public services. Majority don’t know that they hold the right to have access to and the capacity to contribute to the improvement of quality of public services.
In response, VOSIEDA works with local communities to improve the delivery of vital public services, enhance the decentralization process and help prevent and combat high levels of corruption, the lack of transparency in the management of public resources, and the lack of public access to information. We 1) build the capacity of citizens to influence and hold duty bearers accountable and ensure they are responsive to the needs of citizens. 2) Provide access to quality information as a foundation of good governance and a democratic society. 3) Support communities to identify and prevent conflicts of interest and any other act of corruption in the use of public resources, and to combat poor performance and abuse of public resources by government officials.
VOSIEDA works to support and protect front line human rights defenders and other watchdog groups at the community levels. We document human right abuses, advocate for justice and to end impunity, and strengthen the self-protection of human rights defenders.
Besides, we are working to enable women and children held in modern-day slavery to leave slavery. We reach out to people most vulnerable to slavery and exploitation and help victims of slavery to access the psychological and legal support they need to recover. We also work at the grassroots levels to empower vulnerable people through campaigns and public education to better protect themselves from slavery. Moreover, we help communities demand respect for their human rights and tackle the root causes of servitude through access to education and the eradication of extreme poverty and elimination of gender inequality.