Witnessing the Impact of Liberia’s Social Entrepreneurs
By Brooks Marmon, Accountability Architect.The Accountability Lab, the Business Start-Up Center- Monrovia, and Barefoot Liberia co-hosted the 5th Social Impact Tour (SIT), showcasing Monrovia’s most innovative social enterprises on June 7. The tour provides participants with a first-hand view of the creative ways that Liberians are rebuilding an economy and society shattered by 14 years of civil war.
The Accountability Lab and the Business Start-Up Center both provide technical assistance to creative Liberian entrepreneurs. The SIT allows tourists to observe these change-makers in action. The tour visited five social entrepreneurs:
The day began with a guided ride on the National Water Transport Service (NWTS), a ferry service for people and market goods from Monrovia’s suburbs to the peninsula of Monrovia’s downtown business district, passing the historic Providence Island, site of the first settlement of repatriated slaves who came to govern the country at independence in 1847.
The tour went from ferry to film, with a screening of videos produced by the Accountability Film School, directed by Liberia’s only formally trained film director, Divine Key Anderson. Participants watched several films highlighting themes of corruption, transparency, and sexual exploitation. Divine noted that in societies with low levels of literacy, ‘there is a big gap between the few who are educated and those who are not and that gap is something we are trying to fix with the film school.’
Falama, Inc. processes and sells a variety of flours produced from local goods such as cassava. Falama has 5 full-time staff and 15 contractors, working with providers as far away as Lofa County on Liberia’s northeast border with Guinea. The business works primarily with women and many of its products are popular among mothers for their nutritious value and easy preparation.
The Daily Talk is an initiative of a Liberia citizen journalist- Alfred Sirleaf- to provide easy to read, concise, and regularly updated news at a major Monrovia intersection. The Accountability Lab has been working with Alfred to disseminate key information to citizens through the Daily Talk that can improve their lives- such as how to obtain a driver’s license or how to register a vehicle. In operation for over a decade, the Daily Talk will soon expand to additional locations in Monrovia to reach thousands more Liberians.
The Green Center is Liberia’s first and only recycling center. Taking advantage of a location on the outskirts of a major market, The Green Center produces high quality organic fertilizer from the remains of vegetables sold at market. The Center also produces bags from plastic water sachets and recycles aluminum cans, which has greatly alleviated the trash problem on Monrovia’s streets.
If you would like to support any of these social entrepreneurs, we encourage you to make a donation to the Accountability Lab. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you will be visiting Monrovia – curated tours can often be arranged on demand. Amidst adversity, Liberia has a lot to celebrate over the last decade and these successful entrepreneurs demonstrate the huge potential of a fascinating and beautiful country.