SENJEH, Bomi â€“ In Bomi, residents of lower Senjeh District have begun constructing a bridge to link several towns and villages in the area, with the funding for the project coming from citizens living in the surrounding area.
The bridge, which is situated in Kamara Town, connects to Tubmanburg and has also been used as a quick route to Sackie Town, which borders Grand Cape Mount.
Siaffa Coleman, who is the heading the project, told The Bush Chicken that the bridge would allow residents in the area to have access to the shortest route for bringing goods to Tubmanburg.
With over thousands of people living in the lower part of the district, Coleman said they faced limited movement and there were associated economic impacts with not being able to travel to purchase and sell goods.
The vast majority of residents in the area survive by farming and charcoal burning. Without the bridge, their movements are hindered because the road is inaccessible to vehicles.
â€œYou know everybody from this side use this road only if they are walking, so it is, therefore, important for us to have this bridge built so that vehicles and motorcycles [can] ply on it,â€ he said.
Coleman estimated that the project costs L$5 million (US$25,252) and he is calling on lawmakers and the Ministry of Public works to support the project.
The general town chief of Kamara Town, John Varney, said residents have been worried about the condition of the bridge and even though they have little resources, â€œwe have to start our own initiative.â€
Varney noted that the damaged bridge impedes more than business transactions â€“ students who sought to attend school in Tubmanburg have to cut through reefs to cross over the creek.
â€œWe have already started this project through our small cash, but [weâ€™re] asking for more support to have this project completed,â€ he said.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, the county authorities pledged to provide some support to the citizenâ€™s initiative.
Over the last few months, there have been many efforts by citizens across the country who have initiated and funded their own projects.
In February, citizens of a town in Voinjama district dedicated a town hall funded and constructed by residents. The estimated amount spent on the project was US$1,535. In March, residents of Sinoeâ€™s Dugba River District began rehabilitating major roads and access paths within their district out of concern that the upcoming rainy season would make travel difficult.
Despite paying taxes or having proceeds from resources in their areas go the central government, Liberiaâ€™s highly centralized political system means that communities outside Monrovia have little say in how their taxes are collected or used. Additionally, they are governed by officials appointed by the president. Even though the Local Government Act has already been passed into law, President George Weah has not moved to implement the law.
Featured photo by Richard williams