The National Charcoal Union of Liberia (NACUL), on Thursday, May 4, 2017, dedicated a modern latrine in Weajue, Gola-Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County.
NACUL undertook the Weajue’s latrine project through the Gola-Konneh District Charcoal Producers Association. NACUL financed the project while members of the Gola-Konneh District Charcoal Producers Association assisted with the labor force.
Started on November 25, 2016, the four-room compartment project is a part of NACUL’s community service program, and it was implemented following series of consultations with residents in Weajue. The residents provided the project site.
Speaking at the dedicatory program, NACUL President, Mr. Richard T. A. Dorbor, said the project is part of the Union’s community service program.
According to Dorbor, NACUL decided to undertake the project through the Gola-Konneh Charcoal Producers Association, a local network, in response to Weajue residents’ appeal for latrine.
Dorbor said the Union solely financed the project, which he estimated at a little over US$3,000.00 (three thousand United States dollars). He then urged residents to ensure the proper maintenance of the latrine.
Also in separate remarks, Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Technical Manager, Mr. Joseph Tally, Region #I Forester, Mrs. Ruth Varney and Commercial Department Coordinator, Mr. William Pewu, praised NACUL for undertaking such an initiative on its own.
Delivering an official statement on behalf of FDA Managing Director, Mr. Tally reaffirmed his institution’s commitment to supporting NACUL in its drive to sustainable charcoal production, market and other projects in the sector.
Interestingly, Green Gold Liberia, an NGO, was encouraged by the NACUL-sponsored latrine project and promised to train charcoal producers on sustainable and alternative production.
Making remarks at the occasion, Green Gold Liberia Lead Technical Consultant, Mr. Gerrad Singh, commended NACUL and its network organizations for the project.
Singh also presented to Gola-Konneh Charcoal Producers Association a simple machine that compacts coal dust, saw dust, ashes and other wastes to usable coal. He named wreaths, grass and other agricultural wastes as sources of charcoal if production must be sustainable, which he said his organization has embarked on training people.
Meanwhile, residents of Gola-Konneh District, through their Paramount Chief Momo Thomas, have lauded the efforts of NACUL for the project, which they said is not only beneficial to Weajue Town alone, but the entire District and passersby.
Chief Thomas said the project was the first of its kind for residents in Weajue Town to benefit from such a public latrine despite the presence of many NGOs in the county.
According to Chief Thomas, the project site is referred to as “Pupu Field”, meaning it was being used as an area of open defecation due to the lack of public latrine in the town.
After receiving keys to the latrine, Chief Thomas promised to ensure its proper maintenance, saying, “We are going to meet to see how we can manage this toilet good, good.”
Speaking on behalf Charcoal Producers and Sellers Networks, Mrs. Siah Thomas, Chairperson of the Central Monrovia Charcoal Sellers Association, thanked NACUL for the project, which she said has reinvigorated other network organizations.
Mrs. Thomas said the project also demonstrates charcoalers’ commitment in working with and helping the communities. She said it also indicates that those in the Charcoal sector have a major role in society, calling on people not to overemphasize them.
Representatives from the Christian and Muslim communities, traditional, youth and women groups described the latrine as a relief for them because the area was also called “hold your nose and pass”.
The dedication coincided with NACUL’s first annual assembly, where delegates (representatives from established network organizations in various counties) adopted the group’s draft constitution, deliberated on the future of NACUL, strengthening of network groups and support to the union, among others. They also agreed to contribute towards projects that will be undertaken by any network organizations.
NACUL leadership given power to continue until 2022
Meanwhile, delegates from various network associations, at the end of the assembly, adopted a resolution giving the current leadership of NACUL to continue to steer the affairs of the Union until December 2022. The delegates were mainly chairpersons of charcoal producers and sellers networks.
The delegates, according to the resolution, also mandated the current management team to carry out programs and activities aimed at strengthening NACUL and various networks. They further instructed the management to establish more networks and increase NACUL’s programs across Liberia, among others.
Established in 2004, the Union started as an advocacy group for charcoal producers when they (charcoal producers) were coming under pressure and harassment on numerous occasions.
In 2015, with support from Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), NACUL decided to organize charcoal producers and sellers in various counties as network groups under NACUL for the purpose of bringing them under one umbrella to promote activities and solve problems arising in the sector.