Focus Area


Crippling livelihoods of vulnerable communities in these countries are the impacts of climate change; impacting agricultural production thereby threatening food and security in the sub-region.

Climate change and environmental degradation affect all four dimensions of food security: food availability, food accessibility, food utilization, and food systems stability.

Social Protection & Human Dignity​

There is still a huge need for social protection in the subregion given the high prevalence of poverty. In Cote d’Ivoire government spending on the poor rose to 9.3% of GDP in 2013 (from 8.6% in 2012), but the 2013 National Human Development Report (Rapport national sur le développement humain) said the multidimensional poverty rate increased from 31.8% in 2008 to 34.4% in 2011, while income poverty increased from 48.9% to 51.3% over the same period.

 Only 18% of the population is using health services and only 69.2% of births in 2011 were assisted. Only 5% of the budget goes to healthcare, far below the 15% called for by the 2001 Abuja Declaration.

In Guinea, poverty increased, with more than half (55.2%) of Guineans living below the poverty line in 2013 (up from 53% in 2007), partly because of sluggish annual economic growth (about 2% between 2008 and 2010 and 3.2% between 2011 and 2013) while the population grew 3.2% a year.

Economic & Ecological Justice

Natural resource management also continues to face major corruption and governance challenges. Liberia is the only country in the Upper Guinea forest ecosystem of humid West Africa that was once covered entirely with tropical rainforest. The country is endowed with diverse natural resources, but it also is susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change.

Unsustainable farming practices, unregulated mining, and population displacement due to conflict have all contributed to stresses on natural resources. In addition, Liberia’s energy infrastructure was badly damaged by the civil war. The principal sources of energy in Liberia for the last 20 years have been portable generators, charcoal and firewood, which results in high greenhouse gas emissions, forest destruction and loss of biodiversity. The conflict period also led to massive depletion and misuse of agricultural lands and livestock, forests, minerals, and other natural resources. Liberia is home to over 40% of the remaining Upper Guinean Rainforest, so sustainable natural resource management is critical to income generation and government revenue creation.

In Cote d’Ivoire, there is heavy deforestation, with at least a third of its forests invaded (unsupervised concessions and unorganized occupation). The national reforestation programme (Programme national de reboisement) was launched in 2005 with a goal of replanting 6.45 million hectares in 10 years but is behind schedule. The country suffers from a lack of drainage for rainwater and facilities for collecting and treating sewage. Domestic waste collection and treatment is poor and there are few public toilets.

Human Right & Rule of Law

In Liberia, women bore the brunt of the consequences of the civil war. Large numbers of women and girls have suffered sexual abuse, gender-based violence, forced sex in exchange for food and survival, forced and early marriage, or unwanted pregnancy.

These grave human rights violations persist, along with a wide range of other gender-based inequalities and abuses, such as forced sex in exchange for food, and early marriage. Moreover, women are significantly under-represented in state institutions across the board and have less access to resources and services in general.

Post-conflict in Sierra Leone is characterized by a dual justice system with approximately 70% of the population living under the jurisdiction of customary laws which is practiced by a majority of 149 chiefdoms in the country. Access to and the administration of justice particularly to the poor and the most vulnerable (especially women and girls) is weak.  There is heavy reliance on traditional dispute settlement mechanisms and access to the justice system is hardly accessed, especially due to its distance from the population.

In Cote d’Ivoire, during three research missions in October 2014 and May and July 2015, Human Rights Watch assessed the government’s progress in addressing the legacies of the country’s violent past and asked Ivoirians about the key human rights priorities for the next five years. These include ensuring impartial accountability for past human rights abuses, confronting persistent weaknesses within the justice system, completing the security sector reform process, providing reparative justice to victims, and addressing land dispossession.

In Guinea, women suffer more from under-employment and unemployment than men and only 23.1% of salaried non-agricultural workers were women in 2012. Overall gender inequality worsened to 0.439 in 2012 (from 0.228 in 2009), according to the OECD’s SIGI index. Women held only 20% of public positions of responsibility. The incidence of HIV/AIDS is higher among women (1.9%) than men (0.9%), underlining the vulnerability of women, who sometimes have neither the information they need nor the ability to choose preventive measures in a society where tradition still rules.

Peace & Human Security

Civil wars threaten peace and human security at large as they disrupt patterns of daily life. Conflict and wars are usually caused by a lack of confidence in the government or an increase in the cost of living of the majority of the population. In these three countries, of recent, the recent outbreak of Ebola greatly posed a threat to human security and peace given that they are still recovering from war.

In Cote d’Ivoire, the food crisis of 2012 led to a civil war and the country is still experiencing food security challenges. In Sierra Leone, the ruinous effects of the civil war continue to be felt. Around 250,000 people were killed in Liberia’s ethnic civil war and many thousands more fled the fighting. The capital remains largely without mains electricity and running water. Corruption is rife and unemployment and illiteracy are endemic. In Liberia, because the root causes of conflict were ethnic, there is a need to develop educational and cultural programs at the grassroots level through which ethnic and cultural diversities can be appreciated and integrated into national unity.  The Interfaith mediation committee, civic organizations, and Non-governmental organizations can play a significant role in developing these programs.


Corruption remains a challenge in the four MRU sub-regions. There is a need to tackle the root causes of corruption and present these countries as attractive to foreign investment. In Liberia, progress against corruption remains slow and unsatisfactory from its citizens.

The country continues to struggle with its anti-corruption fight, evidenced by zero improvement in its previous (2014) score. In fact, the country experienced a decline from 41/100 in 2012 to 37/100 in 2014 and 2015. The current report places Liberia among countries perceived as having serious corruption problems. However, it ranks higher (83/168) than its immediate neighbors: Guinea (139/168), Sierra Leone (119/168) and Ivory Coast (107/168). While ground-breaking anti-corruption policies and legislations have been introduced and key integrity institutions established over the last few years, implementation of these instruments remains largely ineffective.

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fjn prayer of the month

Dear Lord,

We bless you for our lives, we give you praise for your abundant mercy and grace we receive. We thank you for your faithfulness even though we are not faithful to you. Lord Jesus, we ask you to give us all around peace in our minds, bodies, souls, and spirits. We want you to heal and remove everything that is causing stress, grief, and sorrow in our lives.

Please guide our paths and make our enemies be at peace with us. Let your peace reign in our families, at our places of work, business areas and everything we lay our hands on. Let your angels of peace go ahead of us when we go out and stay by our side when we return.

Thank you that you have set us free and that you are bigger than anything we face in this life. We lay our burdens before you, every single one, for we know they are much safer in your hands than ours.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.