OSI, OSIWA & SEDF's Focus Areas: Civil Society Strengthening, Capacity Building, Education, Gender / Women's Rights, Private Sector Development

OSI, OSIWA & SEDF's Involvement:  Open Society Institute (OSI), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) & Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF) support a number of initiatives in Liberia. OSIWA, which has supported projects and built partnerships in Liberia since the foundation’s establishment in 2002, created a Liberia country office in 2007 to engage more regularly with its partners and programs on the ground. OSIWA prioritizes its work in Liberia in the following areas: promotion of human rights and good political and economic governance, support for information communication technologies and free media. Some of its projects include a scholarship program for Liberian students to attend the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law and a partnership with the Governance Commission to facilitate stakeholder workshops aimed at building national consensus on the Decentralization and Local Governance policy and others.

Liberia is one of the OSI International Women’s Program’s five priority countries in Africa. IWP is committed to developing Liberian women’s leadership and strengthening their participation in post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation. The aim is to foster long-term relationships with current and prospective grantees and build-up the IWP’s grant-making portfolio over the next three years.

The OSI Education Support Program, together with OSIWA, the World Bank and UNICEF, is contributing to the renewal of the education system in Liberia through a number of projects. ESP is providing the Ministry of Education (MoE) with long-term technical assistance in policy and planning. ESP also supported the MoE in the establishment of the Education Pooled Fund, through which 5 million USD from OSI and 15 million USD from other donors are being channeled to implement the education policy. In addition, ESP is supporting the professional development of teachers by contributing to the preparation of in-service and pre-service teacher trainings and has supported the development of national standards for teachers and the national teacher training curriculum. ESP is also working to ensure that small civil society organizations and the national teachers union are better able to engage in national development and policy debates.

Additional elements of OSI’s support include:

  • Strengthening GoL capacity through support for the Liberia Emergency Capacity Building Support (LECBS) Project and the Scott Fellows Program;
  • SEDF and OSIWA support for BRAC (see Omidyar Network entry above for a description of the BRAC program);
  • SEDF’s partnership with Humanity United on a soon-to-be launched Business Development Services (BDS) Center.