UNHCR in collaboration with GTZ hosted a three-day reintegration workshop in Voinjama recently. The workshop aimed at preparing the groundwork for the organized return of Liberian refugees from asylum countries, with UNHCR assistance. The repatriation exercise is scheduled to start on October 1. Participants were imparted skills on identification of community projects and how these projects could also be empowered in the future. The reintegration workshop followed the official launching of the Community Empowerement Program (CEP) in Lofa County on the 28th August 2004.
Meanwhile, UNHCR Reintegration Program continues to make significant progress in the areas of operations. International Medical Corps (IMC) is rehabilitating the clinic in Borkeza, Lofa County with UNHCR's funding. The clinic is now operational with six medical staff being deployed providing health services to residents of the area. It was officially opened 23rd August 2004. IMC will also complete the Luyema and Bolahun clinics rehabilitation by 30 September 2004. In the education sector, Peace Winds Japan is currently rehabilitating the Zorzor Central High School with one of the buildings is already being roofed.
In related developments, Hope International Mission, UNHCR's implementing partner in Gbarpolu County has completed the rehabilitation of four water wells and 7 pit latrines as part of the shelter project in Totoquelleh, Gbarpolu County. In addition, 30 community based housing units have been built, 10 of which have not yet been dumped with mud due to the heavy rainfall.
In Grand Cape Mount County, GTZ has commenced construction of the transit center at Bo-waterside. The transit site will host 250 persons. It is worth noting that the majority of the returnees going to Grand Cape Mount are from Tewor District, Bo Waterside area. Meanwhile, the digging of wells has commenced in Graie, Tappita District, Nimba County. The town, a return area for many IDPs still in Saclepea and other locations as well as Liberian refugees in Guinea and Ivory Coast, is among the most devastated in Lower Nimba. Also in Nimba County, all Districts have now formed the Development Committee responsible to identify and galvanize support for community-based projects. The proposed CEPs touch on basically all sectors. UNHCR and its implementing partner, Liberia United to Serve Humanity (LUSH) are now in the process of compiling a comprehensive list for discussion with the County authorities in order to determine which ones and how many in each District based on resources and timing. In Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, three CEPs on water, school rehabilitation and sanitation have also been identified.