Together, Let’s Imagine an Opportunity Society for Liberia

Imagine a Liberia that boasts first-class public schools with vibrant learning spaces and well-equipped educators in every corner of our great nation.

Imagine a Liberia that gives every child in every county a platform to flourish and be the very best citizen she can be.

Imagine a Liberia where everyone who needs to see a doctor can afford the visit and the care; a Liberia where pregnancy is not a death warrant and every newborn has a fighting chance at life.

Imagine a Liberia with a small, smart, and efficient government and a thriving private sector where every family can access the good-paying jobs and social investments that support a secure, middle-class life.

Imagine a Liberia where Liberians own and operate businesses, and have a bigger stake in the economy, a Liberia that actually belongs to Liberians.

Imagine a Liberia that invests significantly in Agriculture and feeds her population, and a Liberia that invests in roads, bridges and a decent airport.

Imagine a Liberia where the courts work for everyone regardless of socio-economic status, political posture, or sectarian affiliations.

Imagine a Liberia that is environmentally conscious, caring for her rain forest, her rivers and wetlands, her beautiful beaches, and her diverse animal species.

This Liberia is possible. Liberian Solutions seeks to advance policy solutions that shine a light on how we can realize this Liberia together. And the work continues in 2015.

As we begin 2015, we are committed to promoting responsible policies that strengthen Liberia’s economy one family, one student and one business at a time. Using rock-solid research, we will help shape the most important policy debates of our time.

So, what do you imagine for Liberia?


The Pathology of Power

A few days ago, His Holiness Pope Francis delivered his annual Christmas message to 300 bishops and cardinals gathered in a 16th century chapel at the Vatican. While previous Pontiffs have used the occasion to thank and praise the cardinals, the radical and truth-speaking Pope Francis chose to put his finger on the deficits that ail the leadership of the church. He listed 15 ailments, inviting the leaders to diligently search their souls, confess their sins, and seek forgiveness. Greed for power was among the Pope’s 15 ailments. Leaders who suffer the pathology of power fail to deploy power to advance opportunities for their people.

Though spoken to the curia in the Vatican, the Pope’s admonitions echoed loudly in Monrovia, Liberia. There exists an entrenched pathology of power that asphyxiates life, progress, and development in the nation. In the last two generations, Liberia’s political leaders have consistently been sub-par in dispensing the benefits of state power.

Our recent political history is replete with examples of the powerful – and those enjoying proximity to the powerful – engaging in power hoarding. This is evident in public corruption that proliferates with impunity; evident in suppression of constitutional rights; evident in impregnable, surreptitious inner circles that mislead our leaders for their personal gains.

We can enumerate a litany of consequences of the pathology of power; it is not a victimless disorder. In Liberia, victims include the countless children who receive mediocre education every day in mediocre schools; the victims are the 3,300 babies who die every year during birth or in the first 24 hours after birth, as well as the over 700 mothers who die in childbirth; the victims are the unemployed, hopeless youths who roam the streets of our cities in search of stability. Need I say more?

But it does not have to be this way. The failure to properly exercise state power can be remedied. Those who suffer this dreadful disease must confront the plague in their own hearts. Liberia deserves better. Those who possess state power now – or in the future – must embrace our better angels and seek improved quality of life for all Liberians.

Your friend,


In Union Strong

The week I have been thinking a lot about unifying principles, especially about the unifying principles that hold Liberians together. What are the unifying principles that glue us together as a nation? We hold ethnic distinctions – assigned to us by the Creator – and we have no need to be ashamed of those distinctions. We entertain a diversity of political philosophies, and that is a good thing. We even interpret our common history from varying perspectives, again not so bad, because these differences enrich our national discourse.
In spite of our diverse ethnic and philosophical idiosyncrasies, I believe there’s a need for some unifying principles, foundational truths that glue together the fabric of Mama Liberia. The word principle can be defined as “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.” To unify is to make or become one; to unite. Consequently, unifying principles are those fundamental truths around which a people coalesce, regardless of ethnicity or political dispositions.
For example, the French people identify liberty, equality, and fraternity as their unifying principles. In the United States, the American people, regardless of racial, regional, ethnic, or sectarian difference, rally around life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, other unifying principles can be enumerated as well.
Unifying principles give a people a sense of common purpose and common destiny. Unifying principles underscores a sense of “we are in the same boat”.
So, what are Liberia’s unifying principles? Maybe it is “The love of liberty brought us here.” Yet, liberty has been in short supply throughout our 168 years of national existence.
Today, I wish to suggest five unifying principles for Liberia: democratic governance, rule of law, free market economics, individual freedom, and opportunity society.
In subsequent posts I will further develop each of these principles. In the meantime, send me your suggestions for Liberia’s unifying principles.

Your friend,

God’s Indescribable Gift

2 Cor. 9:15 “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.” While this gift is beyond description, we are told that many did not receive him. At his birth, “there was no room in the Inn.” This Christmas reminds us again of God’s free offer of forgiveness and abundant life through his Son, Jesus Christ.
I encourage you and your family to enjoy all the magical moments of this blessed season. Celebrate with neighbors, friends, workmates and loved ones, but remember the reason for the season. Give and receive gifts, but remember that the greatest gift to be received is Jesus Christ.
I may have said some of the following, but it is worth repeating. Accepting God’s Indescribable gift frees you from the bondage of sin and ushers you into a position of right standing with God. You are granted the privileged to become sons and daughters of God. Your name is written in “the Lamb’s book of life.” And heaven becomes your eternal home.
Do not be content with just receiving God’s Indescribable gift, but purpose in your heart to reveal his love and will to others around you. Become an instrument of his amazing and incredible love. Allow his kindness and joy to flow through you to people of every walk of life.
Use this festive season to take God’s Indescribable gift public. The greatest birthday gift you can present to the Lord, is to introduce him to others. Make it your goal to demonstrate his love and kindness wherever you go. Because of our acceptance of this gift, you and I can call God, Abba, and Father. Thus we’ve become brothers and sisters in Christ.
Merry Christmas,
Pastor Kennedy
The Encourager

The Power of Relationships

What if you could connect people, ignite fresh thinking and create shared ownership for results?

According to anthropologist and cultural experts, our beloved country, Liberia, is among the nations in the global south (not the third world as economists have historically dubbed Africa) that is believed to be highly communal. That is, we are not like countries that are primarily individualistic. While there are arguments supporting overt values of either communalism or individualism, the reality is that prevalent in Liberian culture is the importance of community.

One thing that is central to an authentic community is relationships. In an effort to avoid prolonging the conversation here, I am sure we have heard that in most communities in Liberia, “everybody knows everybody”. This, of course, is being simplistic! However, the truth remains that we believe in developing relationships that extend beyond the biological core family.

While there are many unfortunate instances that have demonstrated our using relationships for personal gains, my intent in this forum is to encourage us to utilize relationship for positive outcomes in community and nation building. We can use relationships (old and new) as learning labs for effective changes in our country. I am confident that we all can utilize our relationships to be positive change-makers.

In future posts, I will attempt to unravel the power of relationships to creating professional networks that would be beneficial to making Mama Liberia accomplish not only greatness, but also to be a significant nation to contend with in our global community.

Yours truly,

Dennis Walker, PhD

Once upon a Time, Time

So, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day I saw the amazing Africa Umoja at the Rialto Center in Atlanta. What a show! Africa Umoja brings together exquisite music, scintillating dance, and theatrical drums to tell South Africa’s story. Beginning with the period when African tribes lived undisturbed on the land, it covers the arrival and eventual dominance of White settlers, the long struggle for freedom and equality, and concludes with current efforts to build a Rainbow Nation. It’s a beautiful story that unites a beautiful people. It’s a story around which millions of people coalesce. It is story told with unbridled excitement and pride.

It really got me thinking about Liberia – the Liberian story. What is it? When did it begin? Really? And don’t tell me 1822 or 1847. But why not there? It’s a fair question. What’s the narrative that units us as Liberians? What’s the thread that holds us together? I have struggled in the past two weeks to arrive at an acceptable response. And it frightens me that a uniquely Liberian narrative evades my imagination! Because without a unique Liberian story – without a distinct Liberian story that respectfully includes all of us – how do we know what to build?

Maybe the absence of a clearly articulated “Liberian narrative” explains the deficiencies of patriotism that proliferates the Liberian psyche. The absence of a well-told Liberian story means that we, as a people, do not profit from the tremendous benefits of a national narrative.

A Liberian story would incite us to nation building, because our story would remind us of where we come from, who has gone before us, and what we have done in the past. We need a sense of our collective past so we can plan and execute our collective future.

In addition to inciting us for nation building, our story would inspire us to take pride in our homeland. I am yet to meet a group of people who scorn their homeland as much as Liberians abhor Liberia. How else can we explain theft in the public sector if not deep hatred of the Motherland? How else should we explain our entrenched inability to build or do anything worth celebrating? Really, when was the last time we did something big as a nation? Nothing inspires us about Liberian because we do not have a Liberian story to tell.

Finally, a Liberian story will help us aspire to a future unfathomable to all observers. Our story will help us believe in a future where democracy, free market, liberty, rule of law, justice, equality, and true Liberian Brotherhood – and Sisterhood – are the culture of our lives.

So, let’s begin to write and tell a unique Liberian story, one in which every facet of society has a voice and equal stake. Man, I want to hear a Liberian story. One upon a time, time…

Liberian Entrepreneur Creates Heavenly Aroma

Cecret Candles are all natural soy lotion candles, homemade with all natural ingredients such as ecosoy wax, unrefined shea butter and the finest premium based fragrance oils. Cecret Candles acts as natural moisturizing agent that makes your skin feel like silk. The cotton wick has been primed with a vegetable-based wax for a natural burn. I guarantee from the first time you light a Cecret Candle, you will enjoy the fragrance all the way down to the bottom. Cecret Candles are made in the USA with tender love and care.

When it came to naming the Cecret Candles, I took slangs, expressions and friendly gestures used in various African continents and the Caribbean. I like to think of it as a way of learning new fun fact words to apply to your everyday life. Take for instance “DASH” is a common slang that’s used in West African English from Sierra Leone to Cameroon. The meaning is a bonus or discount given by vendors to wholesale customers.

Cecret Candles focuses more on connecting cultures and invoking memories one candle at a time. I’m so glad to introduce to you my company and all of my product developments such as candles and handmade African inspired pillow cases, scarfs, make-up bags and totes.
If you need more information on Cecret Candles or where to purchase please visit the following links

I appreciate your patronage,

Sesima KamaCecret Candles LOGOra
Founder/Cecret Candles

Elections and Ebola

Liberia is currently hemmed between commitments to constitutional conformity and concern for public well-being. Both are important. The fight against Ebola is important, and demands our total attention. At the same time, our constitution calls for regular elections, a key feature of our nascent democracy. Navigating this delicate balance is where our government and politicians find themselves.

It is critical that our leaders investigate their own motives for constitutional compliance in a time of Ebola. It cannot and must be that we are complaint because it sends the right message to the international community – important as that might be. Our compliance cannot be based on a desire to save face. It cannot just be about public image, because holding elections while Ebola kills our compatriots has to be about us, and only us. It has to be about our collective future.

I hope we use this platform to teach our children that democracy is so important – existentially indispensable. That those who will inherit the legacy of our democracy deserve to know that nothing, not even Ebola, can or should curtail our values. That we, as a people, will defend democracy with our very lives.

On the other hand, Ebola has already demonstrated its vicious nature. Our temerity to hold elections in a time of Ebola should not cause us to slack. We must remain vigilant. We must keep our eyes keenly focused on Ebola, and continue to devote all necessary resources to mitigate its wrath. It cannot be a case of one eye on Ebola and one eye on elections. No, it must be both eyes on elections and both eyes on Ebola. We can do both, and we must do both. The lessons for posterity are invaluable. Let’s show our children we are capable of doing something big, and doing it right.

The Coming Wave of Debilitated Liberian Men

Every day in Monrovia, and all around Liberia, thousands of young, well-toned Liberian men rise early and mount a motor bike to ferry commuters from one place to another. These men provide an important economic service, and should be celebrated. I have observed that most of them actually take pride in their work. There is a detectible spirit of comradery among motorcyclists, or “Pen-pen” as we call them.

In spite of their invaluable economic service and strong comradery, pen-pens represent a rising public health challenge. They ride without helmets, and they are generally reckless – weaving in and out of traffic on Monrovia’s skinny roads, or bumpy dirt roads in the country side. Absence of helmets and reckless riding present immediate threats, both to pen-pens and pedestrians.

However, a big, quieter threat lurks just beneath the surface. Consider that the average pen-pen rides 10 hours a day, six days a week. That’s 60 hours week, 3,120 hours per year. Meanwhile, the lack of helmets mean their eyes are exposed to the elements, especially the wind. In addition, they inhale all the fumes in the air. You and I know how polluted the air is in Liberia. So, a pen-pen who rides for 5 years accumulates 15,600 hours of exposure to the elements – too many hours of exposure that can lead to serious health consequences.

After speaking with several pen-pens during recent visits to Liberia, it is becoming clear to me that a wave is gathering that requires urgent attention. I have spoken to pen-pens who complain of pain in their eyes and chest. It comes as no surprise. Our brothers will have significant visual impaired or be blind coupled compromised respiratory functions. The combination of impaired vision and compromised lung function presents a serious public health challenge. It won’t be very long belong these men can’t see and can’t breathe well. It won’t be too long before they can’t work; we can be sure that they will turn to the government and their families for assistance.

Even more alarming is the fact that as you read this post, these our brothers are having multiple children by multiple women. It is easy to understand why: they have economic power because they can ride daily and earn some income. I am concerned about what will become of these children when their fathers are unable to work and provide food and school fees. Imagine the implications for the rest of society.

Instead of just requiring helmets, we have to develop educational modules that present the health consequences awaiting our dear brothers. Our posture cannot be confrontational; it must be one of a loving, caring community deeply concerned about our collective future.

For optimum health,