Naymote Partners for Democratic Development in partnership with the Legislative Information Service (LIS) officially launched a comprehensive Legislative Advocacy Handbook on April 10, 2019 in Monrovia, Liberia. The primary objective of the handbook is to promote the culture of legislative openness and responsiveness in Liberia.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Prince K. Moye launched the book. Making special remarks during the launched, the Deputy Speaker said it’s becoming increasingly difficult for representatives to carry out their functions correctly because citizens don’t understand the functions of their lawmakers; so for him this handbook was timely and useful to educate citizens about the legislature and how citizens can advocate to make the legislature more accountable and responsive to the needs of the citizens.
The Deputy Speaker hopes this book can reach out to every Liberian, especially those in the remotest parts of the country so that they can be aware of the functions of their lawmakers. Hon. Moye called on partners to support this intervention by NAYMOTE which he thinks will enhance democratic accountability.
Also speaking at the event, NAYMOTE’s Executive Director, Eddie D. Jarwolo emphasized that the development of the Legislative Advocacy Handbook is inspired by Naymote Partners for Democratic Development decade-long advocacy to promote democratic accountability and transparency in Liberia’s governance processes as well as increasing legislators’ responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of the people who elected them. Mr. Jarwolo said that handbook is keen on practical experiences, best practices and strategies that have proven to be successful and effective during legislative advocacy and civic engagement globally.
He also stated the handbook is a conscripted tool that can be used to engage the Liberian Legislature as the fulcrum of Liberia’s democracy because of its constitutional responsibilities to enact laws, represent citizens’ interests, oversee executive policy implementation and performance. He informed participants that the handbook is geared towards improving young people skills in order to engage in constructive legislative advocacy and monitoring from an informed perspective, being knowledgeable of its structures and functions as well as strategies to get the Legislature working in the interest of the people.
Mr. Jarwolo informed participants that Legislative information belongs to the public, citizens should be allowed to reuse and republish legislative information, in whole or in part. He called on the Liberian Legislature to create, maintain and publish readily accessible records of its plenary proceedings, preferably through radio talk shows, newspaper publications, town hall meetings, video recordings and at public events, etc.
Additionally, he extended appreciation to Mr. B. McCarthy Weh, II, Director of the Legislative Information Service (LIS) and his Technical Team of Directors and Deputies who have been very supportive of this great initiative and worked actively to provide cardinal information for this publication to be a success. More especially, Bishop Dr. Jerry C. M. Yarpa, Chief of Office Staff to the Office of Hon. Dr. Bhofal Chambers, Speaker of the 54th National Legislature who provided technical support provided during the development of this handbook.
Finally, he expressed appreciation to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), based in Washington D.C., United States of America for supporting the institution since 2007 and this publication of the Legislative Advocacy Handbook.
The event was attended by the Legislative Press Pool, the Director of Press and Public Affairs from the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate, the Chief Clerk and other members of the Liberian Legislature. The Executive Director of the Institute for Research and Democratic Development, Harold Aidoo spoke on behalf of civil society and called on the Legislature to make public the voting records of lawmakers for citizens to know how they vote on issues, Harold thank NAYMOTE for such an awesome undertaking.
Participants at the event raise praises for the production of the handbook and received copies of the handbook. NAYMOTE and the LIS have promised to rollout series of community forums across the country and dialogues on university campuses to fully educate citizens about the roles and responsibilities of their lawmakers as well as distribute copies of the handbook with rural residents.