By Joseph N N Swen, Buduburam/Accra
The European Federation of Liberian Associations and the Liberian Student Association in Ghana have partnered to champion developmental agenda for and among Liberians in and out of Liberia.
This partnership agreement came into being in a closed-door meeting held between Delegates of EFLA and Executives and Patrons of LISA-GH at the Green Oak Hotel, Accra, Ghana, May 31, 2010.
According to the President of EFLA, John Brownell, EFLA first got in touch with its prospective partner (LISA-GH) through facebook, and subsequently began investigating the authenticity as well as its aims and objectives. EFLA was then convinced that the two Organizations were relatively moving in the same and rightful direction in championing national development.
A Founding Member and Advisor to EFLA, Mark Miller, a Liberian Banker and Philanthropist based in the Kingdom of Belgium, said, ‘’EFLA sees LISA-GH as equal partner and working with us at this level will be a long time partnership which could benefit each Association’’. Also with pictorial and documented evidence, he enumerated the programmes and projects EFLA had and currently undertaking in Liberia in the areas of Education, Health, and Small-Scale Businesses as well partnering numerous youth groups in Liberia.
He, however, stated that though the Federation’s two-week trip to Liberia is geared toward some charity purposes, this time, its focal mission is to represent a dual purposed agenda such as the Issues of Dual Citizenship and Diaspora Presidential Voting Rights to the Senate, Youth groups, and appropriate entities including the general public.
Concerning Petitions, EFLA wishes to champion such petitions based on the concerns of its members and other Liberians of Negro-Descends who are either born or Citizens of European Nations but want to be recognized by their Country of origin as Liberians because Diasporan Liberians have been key contributors to socio-economic well-being of Liberia especially during and after the recent post war Liberia, through donations, remittances and or projects/business ventures needed to augment the elections of those who govern the Nation.
Mr. Miller added that‘ EFLA is not pushing these agenda because of personal favour or the soon coming 2011 General Elections, rather, if petitions are accepted, it leaves it to the Law-Makers and people of Liberia to work out their own modalities and timeframe’. This was in response to some questions raised as how EFLA can assure the people of mechanism to either prevent or track attempts to abuse both petitions when granted.
To the effect of the Associations’ promising partnership, LISA-GH, was offered a slot of representation for EFLA’s two-week Liberia trip and with a unanimous decision, the Acting President of LISA-GH, George Fabio Collins was asked to represent LISA-GH to Liberia.
Mr. Collins on his part expressed the Association’s gratitude for the partnership and pledged the Association’s full non-political affiliations for the betterment of mother-Liberia.
Allison Hughes, a senior Liberian Lecturer at the University of Ghana at Legon, and a PHD Candidate in Physics, who is a founding Executive of LISA-GH since established in 1993, now Advisor to LISA-GH, stressed that Liberians in the Diaspora are key stakeholders in whatever happens in Liberia. He said the idea is good and hopes that positive responses are gathered as the EFLA interacts with its target groups. He also advised the Delegates to solicit signatures along side the verbal responses, which could be shown to the Liberian Senate. He then encouraged LISA-GH to take advantage of the partnership for the benefit of mother Liberia.
EFLA, is a non-governmental or non-political umbrella Entity of European Liberian Organizations and Associations, established and registered in Belgium but includes those in France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland while the rest do include Poland, Norway, UK and the Kingdom of Belgium.
The Objective of EFLA is to foster and enhance closer relationship, fellowship, and cultural and social development between Liberian Organizations in Europe to maintain concrete and constructive tie with Liberians at home (Liberia) thereby contributing to the development through programmes and projects.
LISA-GH is also a non-political and non-profit making registered student Body aims to fostering Academic Excellence for National Development as well as championing the welfare of Liberian students at every level in Ghana, such as innovating or exploring encouraged avenues for the enticement of Liberian Youth in Ghana to prioritise education as the key factor for self and national empowerment.