We are assisting the people of Liberia to rebuild their country after a prolonged period of conflict. Our focus is on ensuring that people live fuller and healthier lives. Since the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia in 2014 Ireland has also been assisting the government and NGOs in their response.
Ireland has had a strong bilateral relationship with Liberia for many years. Between 2003 and 2007, Irish peacekeepers were a key part of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) which supported Liberia's transition after civil war to a peaceful, multi-party democratic country. The Irish Aid programme in Liberia was established in 2005, and has supported health services, gender equality and the governance and security sector there for over a decade. A new Embassy of Ireland opened in Monrovia in June 2018. As a newly-established mission, the Embassy will work to promote Irish interests in Liberia. This work includes promoting our values through development cooperation, supporting the Irish community in Liberia, and working to facilitate Irish trade and investment.
Situated in West Africa, Liberia continues to go through a period of immense change as it makes the transition from decades of civil war towards stability and democracy. Two successive periods of conflict between 1989 and 1996, and 1999 and 2003 claimed more than a quarter of a million lives, displaced one million people and devastated the country’s social, political and physical infrastructure.
While Liberia has made some tangible progress in the implementation of the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, it is still one of the world’s poorest countries and was ranked 175 out of 187 countries on the 2014 UN Human Development Index. The country continues to face considerable challenges in delivering basic health services and in rebuilding critical infrastructure devastated by the civil war. It is estimated that 64% of Liberians live below the absolute poverty line. While the malnutrition situation has improved significantly since 2006, chronic malnutrition (measured by the number of stunted children) remains among the highest in the world at almost 42%. Only 25% of the population has access to improved sanitation and 62% has access to improved drinking sources. There continue to be significant inequalities in terms of gender, geographical disparities, as well as urban-rural divides.
Health services for women and children
Ireland has worked with the government, NGOs and members of civil society to improve access to health and water. This involvement meant that Ireland had an important role to play in supporting a response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease between 2014 and 2016. Although progress in health outcomes was set back by the Ebola outbreak, Ireland's support continues and it is expected that Liberia will see decreases in the current high rate of maternal mortality and child mortality in the next number of years.
Reducing gender inequality
Another important aspect of Ireland's work in Liberia is our work to promote women's rights. In particular, we are committed to preventing and responding to gender-based violence. In 2017, over 1,000 women and children who had experienced sexual violence received medical treatment, psycho-social care and access to legal services,
Improved capacity of the security sector
Ireland has provided funding to reform and improve the working of the police force and other security sector institutions, as well as support democratic elections. In January 2018, Liberia saw its first peaceful, democratic transition of power in over 70 years. This important accomplishment is due to the work of Liberians, their dedication to peace, and the support that Ireland and others have provided to this peacebuilding effort.
Ireland's work in Liberia, including our support to Liberia's development, will be guided by a five-year strategy from 2019-2023. This strategy is currently being developed.
Clean water and sanitation make a difference
Visit our page on water and sanitation to learn more what we and our partners do to increase access to safe, clean water and basic sanitation for poor communities.
Visit our page on water and sanitation to learn more what we and our partners do to increase access to safe, clean water and basic sanitation for poor communities