IRC Liberia Project Description

Originally published
PROJECT PURPOSE: To restore education and health infrastructures through technical partnerships with the Liberian Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.
PROJECT BENEFICIARIES: IRC's programs in Liberia are designed to assist more than 150,000 people with an estimated 50,000 direct beneficiaries. IRC-Liberia currently has seven expatriate and 140 local staff.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES: Reduce morbidity and mortality through the delivery of primary health care and the rehabilitation of health services in Nimba County. Increase the service capability of the Ministry of Education through training and technical and material assistance. Improve the well being of Sierra Leonean refugees in Liberia by providing recreational activities and non-formal education.

BACKGROUND: During the civil war in Liberia from 1990 to 1997, more than 150,000 Liberians were killed and more than a million citizens were displaced or forced into exile. The factional groups fighting in Liberia often resorted to the appalling practice of conscripting children, some as young as seven years old, into rebel fighting units. Peacemakers now face the challenge of reintegrating these combatants into their communities and society.

Factional warfare over the past seven years has led to a severe deterioration of community infrastructures, trade links, health, education and social services, agricultural production, and to the depletion of Liberia's natural resources. With the loss of both community infrastructure and individual assets such as livestock and tools, many Liberians now rely on limited subsistence farming for survival. Due to inadequate medical services, people continue to suffer and die from preventable diseases. Certain groups, including recent returnees, women-headed households, and demobilized soldiers, are particularly vulnerable. Due to the lack of skilled teachers and shortcomings within the Ministry of Education, the quantity and quality of educational opportunities are limited.

IRC's Liberia programs include a primary health program in Nimba County. IRC supplies 20 health clinics in Nimba County with medicines, vaccinations, and condoms. Health services provided by IRC staff include emergency care, prenatal care, training in improved birth practices, oral rehydration therapy (ORT), growth monitoring, malaria control, pharmacy services, family planning, STD treatment, and health education. In addition to primary health care services, IRC conducts training for community health workers, upgrading skills for 60 traditional birth attendants, and providing Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) training for 20 clinic staff. As part of its work in the clinics, IRC hopes to provide immunization coverage to 7,000 children and pregnant women.

An important component of IRC's primary health care project is the reestablishment of a standardized cost recovery system for primary health care in Nimba County. While cost-recovery for health services is a common practice in Liberia, this was disrupted by the continuous warfare during the past seven years. For health care to become an effective and self-supporting system in Liberia it is crucial to reinitiate this process. By implementing a cost-recovery system in the clinics where it is working, IRC hopes to make its health care program more efficient and ultimately self-sustaining.

In August 1998, IRC launched an education project in Liberia in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The project is running in Bong, Lofa, and Nimba counties, and provides technical assistance to the Ministry in the areas of teacher training, curriculum development, teacher monitoring, and systems and structures development within the District Education Offices, County Education Offices, and the Ministry in Monrovia.


Richard Jacquot, Regional Director
Mariana Zantop, Program Assistant
Susan Riehl, Regional Recruitment Officer
Employment Opportunities in Liberia -

October 1, 1998 Copyright 1996