the toyota arrives on March 5
Restore Hope Board Member, John Morris, bought a Toyota 4-Runner, travelled from Washington State to Rhode Island and then had it shipped to Africa. It is scheduled to arrive in Liberia on March 5, 2022.
Morris was first introduced to Restore Hope: Liberia (RHL) through an article he read in the magazine The Nation in 2020 (https://www.thenation.com/article/society/holiday-hope/) about the most critical needs around the world, including in Kolahun, Liberia, Africa. He learned that after 14 years of civil war, a decade of slow reconstruction, and the largest Ebola epidemic ever seen in Africa, Liberians continued to face the challenges of extreme poverty, illiteracy, poor health care, and malnutrition. He discovered that RHL, with Boards located in New York and Liberia, was working hard to empower communities through education, health facilities, and economic development in the rural Kolahun District.
Follow Restore Hope on Facebook to learn more about this amazing story and get live updates about the arrival of this critical resource to Restore Hope Liberia.
women's land rights (still) matter
Ownership and control over assets are central to women’s economic empowerment and their ability to contribute to local, national, and global economies. For many women, the most valuable of these assets are the land and natural resources from which they earn a living, provide for their families, and invest in their communities.
However, biased gender norms, widespread lack of knowledge about women’s land rights in Liberia, and gendered barriers to accessing information and services mean that women are often left out of decisions about land and are unable to exercise their land rights.
Bringing information on women’s land rights to women, men, and youth and fostering community conversations about women’s land rights at a time when Liberia’s communities are beginning the process of formalizing land rights and establishing community land governance bodies is critical and we are doing our part to ensure this message is well understood in Kolahun. So much more can be done, and we welcome your thoughts, ideas and support regarding this matter.
The Act, signed into law in 2018, is one of the most progressive land rights laws in Africa and is the first Liberian law that recognizes women’s rights to land. The Land Rights Act provides for the first time a nationwide process for communities to legally certify and manage their customary lands. The Land Rights Act also strengthens rural women’s legal rights to access and manage land by recognizing women as community members, mandating that each community member be allocated land for housing and agriculture, and requiring equal participation by women in community land governance bodies.
addressing women's mental health
Only until recently, Liberians who became mentally ill were left to fend for themselves, resulting in a rise in homelessness. Even though less than a majority of children in Liberia did not experience the war, growing up with traumatized parents and peers inadvertently affects the children.
Restore Hope Liberia offers a 12-week evidence-based interpersonal group therapy program for women. We have increased the number of weekly group sessions, created Train the Trainer therapy coaching, provided compensation to therapy Leads, and began offering transportation to and from group therapy sessions.
Restore Hope seeks $2,100 to cover 14 facilitators holding weekly sessions for three months. With an average of 6 women per group, we intend to serve 84 women in our next cohort, and we will hope to serve 200 women in 2022!
According to the WHO, more than 40% of Liberians suffer from post-traumatic stress and/or a major depressive disorder. Yet fewer than 1% of Liberians have access to mental health services. Women, in particular, are suffering from the effects of extreme poverty, civil wars, pandemic outbreaks, and sexual abuse. This trauma is debilitating and impacts their children as well. In an assessment of women connected to RHL's programs, 95% of the women screened met the threshold for clinical depression.
The need for accessible clinical depression treatment in the Kolahun District of Liberia is overwhelming current available resources. This project will fund the strategies endorsed by the WHO, which includes Interpersonal Group Therapy Interventions (IPT) and the necessary tools to sustain the program. Integrating IPT into existing women's empowerment activities will help advance women's economic and social empowerment, thus making and sustaining a positive impact on women's mental health.
By providing IPT for 350 women in Lofa County, Liberia over the next 2 years, we expect the results will be: 85% will experience a reduction in the intensity of their depression; 65% of women will experience a reduction in anxiety and PTSD; and 85% of the women in therapy will report higher social and economic empowerment scores (percentages based on the initial PHQ-9 screening conducted on all participants). Thus, mitigating debilitating depression and advancing women's economic opportunities.
You can support this program through our Global Giving campaign online: Support Liberian Women Today!
"anything is possible with passion and purpose."
A recent visit to Kolahun by RHL Board member, John Morris (seen here reading with a Kolahun child), kick-started an ambitious goal: To solve RHL’s transportation challenge of traveling between Monrovia and Kolahun when on official RHL business. John understands the importance of bringing education, healthcare recourses, and financial opportunity to the people of Kolahun. However, during his visit to the district, John and the RHL Executive Director found their sorely, under-equipped vehicle stuck in mud resulting from washed out roads on their way from Monrovia back to Kolahun. Their work was derailed for over 10 hours as they tried to free their vehicle. When the team supporting RHL is unable travel between Monrovia and Kolahun to advocate for RHL, the success of the mission is in danger. That’s when John decided on a bold solution.
He purchased a well-equipped vehicle that could handle the rough terrain between Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia, and Kolahun. Fellow Board member, Dr. Barbara Burke, agreed this was a brilliant solution and paid half of the cost to invest in a proper vehicle. They chose a late-model, Toyota 4-Runner outfitted with all-terrain tires to ensure none of the RHL team would be stuck on washed out roads again. Then, John began his cross-country journey from Washington State to Rhode Island to deliver the vehicle for its trans-Atlantic journey to Liberia. Along the way, he received donations of supplies, games, and books which filled the 4-Runner.
John crisscrossed the entire country. Stops along the way to visit friends, family, and colleagues offered him encouragement as he traveled from Seattle to Portland, to L.A., El Paso, and Austin; then a longer stay in Birmingham. While there, the generous staff at Kingfisher Signs added the RHL logo to the vehicle while John enjoyed visiting the local sites, like the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, with fellow Board member, Dr. Barbara Burke.
After a wonderful visit and short rest, it was once again time to move on to the next stops of Tallahassee, Port St. Lucie, Charlotte, and Wilmington, DE. John finally made it to Cumberland, RI, where the loaded 4-Runner now awaits its ship to take it across the Atlantic to Liberia.
Follow us on Facebook or Instagram where we will soon share the final portion of this story and unveil the 4-Runner’s arrival in Liberia.