FCG Sweden are managing a rural access tracks project in Liberia – giving improved access to 60,000 people
Remote rural villages in Liberia are often isolated with low access to health and educational facilities, as well as poor access to buy or sell products for their small-scale farming activities. A rural feeder road project is constructing 200 km of village access roads in Bong, Lofa, and Nimba counties in Liberia – aiming at providing improved access to around 60,000 people. FCG Sweden are managing the implementation of this project.
The access roads are basic unpaved roads designed for motorcycles and small 3-wheelers in addition to easing the movement of pedestrians. They are 2m wide and have numerous small bridges and other water crossings, mainly following old footpath tracks through dense forest.
The construction works are carried out by around 60 Community Based Organisations (CBOs), made up by villagers, using labour methods supplemented by relatively simple and accessible machinery. The project provides training and assists the CBOs to become community enterprises to facilitate future maintenance of the roads. In total about 300 villages are engaged in the CBOs. An average village access road is 5km long and serves around 1,000 villagers and takes around 6 months to build.
“The project will provide about 380,000 person-days of paid work in isolated rural villages. Most of the CBOs also form Village Savings and Loans schemes with the income from the project and these schemes assist in maintaining the tracks after construction and can also finance farming and other much needed infrastructure such as water pumps. The CBO village savings and loans schemes, along with the improved road access, greatly stimulates the local economy”, says FCG Project Manager Niklas Herrmann who visited the project earlier this year.
Sida, through the Swedish Embassy in Liberia, are financing the project, which is implemented by the Ministry of Public Works.