Holding Enablers Accountable

Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty sentenced to 20 years in prison.

For those who didn’t follow her case and story, Ghislaine was the intimate partner of Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein was accused of sexually abusing young girls. He is said to have committed suicide in prison.

For over 10 years, Ghislaine was in a relationship with Epstein and had a front row seat to his lifestyle. She is said to have enabled, supported, protected, and trafficked underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse and exploit.

In our society, we see many enablers, who along with their bosses and or partners, are walking around with impunity and not being held accountable for being accomplices to the commission of crimes. 

An accomplice is someone who helps another person to commit a crime.

When you are aware of someone who is having sex with children and you say nothing to stop the person, or act to cover it up without reporting the person committing the act, you are an accomplice.

You are an enabler.

You are Ghislaine Maxwell.

You deserve to go to jail.

Many people around the world go to jail for being accomplices to murder, theft, fraud, etc. However, on this side of the globe, we see very few cases of accomplices being held accountable for their actions or inaction.

I have yet to see a case of anyone in Liberia being held accountable for enabling the abuse of children. Our culture is one where we see many people bring in kids from less economically stable homes to live with their families to help with house chores, family businesses, etc. These children are often the victims of sexual molestation and rape. 

Many times this happens with family members turning a blind eye to the obvious signs of the abuse. When you are in such a situation and you say nothing, do nothing, and pretend to know nothing, you are an accomplice. 

While you may not be the one actually committing the act, you are aware and can be held accountable for your complacency, if not tacit support of the crime.

I believe if we start to see more people being held accountable for their involvement in the abuse of children, we would see a reduction in these crimes.

Ghislaine Maxwell is an example.

In her case, she helped recruit children under the guise of giving them opportunities. She deliberately and intentionally supported Epstein’s perverted desires of sleeping with children for fun and pleasure. Not just him, but he and his rich friends.

To bring this closer to home and maybe make this more relatable, we see in Liberia, people grooming and sourcing young underage girls for men of influence and affluence to be “godpa” and “sponsor”. We have normalized this so much so that it has become seemingly fully acceptable to see an older man with a junior or senior high school student calling her his “lil girl”.

These relationships are one of sexual favors in exchange for financial support and security.

It is wrong!

I had a debate with someone few years back about this. Said the person: There is nothing wrong with it if it us consensual.

Well, I disagreed.

Having sex with any person below the age of 18 in Liberia is statutory rape – consent or no consent! It is a crime punishable with jail time of nothing less than 10 years.

There is no such thing as consensual sex with a minor!

I explained this to the gentleman I was discussing with and he said “age is just a number. Many of these girls are far advanced for their ages, the things they can do and say, they not small children”.

I asked him if he was ok with someone having “consensual sex” with his then 14-year-old daughter.

His response: “That’s different. I provide for her”.

As I said, we have normalized this behavior and its time that we start to have conversations about these things to change the culture.

We need to call out our friends more when we see them doing the wrong things.

We need to hold our police and legal authorities more accountable to pursuing more meaningful cases that will inspire public confidence in the legal system, and the rule of law.

For Ghislaine Maxwell, she has had may years to ponder over her support and enabling the crimes of her lover. Her life was made public. She was disgraced and she now faces 30 years in jail. 

Her words: “I’m sorry for the pain you have experienced. My association with Epstein will permanently stain me. My association with Epstein was the greatest regret of my life.”

While this does not heal the trauma and pain caused, it gives some relief to the survivors of her crimes.

For Epstein, he took the cowardly way out – taking his life after ruining the lives of any others.

Don’t be an enabler.

Don’t be an accomplice.




Made In Liberia 2021

In December 2020, I did a blog on Made In Liberia products and that blog was widely favorably received by many Liberians-both in and out of Liberia.

So I decided to do another this year, highlighting more Made In Liberia products that I have personally sampled as well as others tried by friends who positively reviewed them.

As we go into the holiday season, I urge all to please be deliberate about supporting small businesses. These businesses not only provide jobs for others, but also source a majority of their raw materials from other local small businesses which in turn, provides income for others.

In addition to food products which I mentioned previously, I am also listing a few other service oriented businesses.

Note that this is not a paid advertisement post, rather one to not only share information about quality made in Liberia products, but also just highlight the budding business environment being led by Liberians. Especially young Liberians. Listed in no particular order, here are a few to explore:

Brisco Natural Coffee & Tea

They have been producing Liberian coffee and tea for several years. They grow the liberica coffee beans, which are really good and one of the rarest type of coffee grown in the world and is native to Liberia.

They are the only farm that grows and produces coffee and coffee products sold in Liberia.


Fresh To Go

Owned by Amanda Hill, Fresh To GO has processed and packaged benni seeds, pepper, smoked shrimps and Fish. Her bite sized smoked fish chunks are the perfect midafternoon protein snack. Every time I buy her smoked fish, I eat it all in one go, after telling myself I will eat it sparingly over time.

You can find her products in several supermarkets around town.

Contacts: https://www.myfreshtogo.com/ Phone: 077 065 1990 social page: @myfreshtogo 

Bissap Natural Drink

Locally made and quite fresh. They also have ginger soursop!

I had an event in Ganta, Nimba County and saw this drink at a local restaurant. I decided to try it and really liked it. Also, it didn’t taste too tangy nor was it too sweet. I was tempted to add small John’s St. Paul’s Rum to it and see how that would taste.

Roasted Cashew Nuts from Pisota Agricultural Industries

I sampled this product and really liked it. Fresh. Crunchy. Tasty. My family was on a road trip and bought these as travel snacks. They were so good that we ate nearly all of it before even leaving Monrovia.

Jimmy’s Chips

I first tried Jimmy’s chips in early January 2021 and I instantly liked it. Made with sweet potato chips and flavored with paprika. I also like that it wasn’t too oily nor was it overly spicy.

@jimmysnacks231 077 631 2404 jimmychips231@humanresourcesolutionslib

Pure Harvest Dish Washing Soap

Hands down, my favorite dish washing soap. I foams well, gets rid of grease and is affordable. The packaging is also attractive. You can find it in most stores now and I understand they also deliver if you are purchasing in bulk.

Wungko’s Chips

Crunchy plantain chips. They have salted and unsalted. What I like most about their chips is that it seems to have NO OIL or so little oil. Makes for a nice afternoon snack and I have taken to placing a bag in my kids’ lunch bag most days they are going to school.

Wunka chips +231 55 511 0826 social media : @wungkofarm 

Sandy’s Naturals

I had been seeing ads about Sandy’s Naturals and owned by someone I know, I decided to try her products. Her candles burns really nicely and the fragrance was strong and long lasting. I bought the beard cream for my husband and he loved it a lot and has been using her grooming products ever since.

She makes all of the products herself and strives to use as minimal chemicals as possible. She has a line of products for skin, hair and home.  

Mako’s Fruits

Mako makes fruit smoothies, fruit plates and has a variety of in-season fruits which she cleans and cuts up and has available at stands located around Monrovia as well as the Royal Hotel.

She also has a variety of fresh juices that she makes such as Sour sop, cucumber, watermelon, etc.

Try her strawberry banana smoothie. Thank me later.

@makosfruits  mariam.m.meiplay@gmail.com 077 811 7562

Liberia Pure

Starting off producing mostly honey, this firm is run by 2 Liberians. Their honey has received great reviews locally as well as internationally. They have also received an international commendation few years back. The company has now expanded its products to soap,

http://www.liberiapure.com/ , social: @purelyliberian, 077 774 6639

Redimere Chocolate

Redimere is a Liberian-owned cocoa processing company in Ganta, Nimba County. They sell dark chocolate bars, cocoa powder and cocoa chips in most supermarkets throughout Monrovia. 

I like that their chocolate bars aren’t too sugary and that I can enjoy it without worrying too much about the calories. The fact the cocoa is also grown here in Liberia, makes it seem all the more “sweeter”.

Try their chocolate chips in your pastries. 077 020 9039, redimerelib@gmail.com

Fabrar Rice

Fabrar produces locally grown rice including Liberian “country” and red rice. It is sold in most supermarkets around Monrovia. Looking to eat healthy? Try Fabrar’s rice. I particularly like it cooked as “dry rice”… add the Fresh To Go benny seeds and you will clear that bowl in one go! @fabrarliberia, 077 632 2727, http://www.fabrar.com/

The Snack Shop

In 2020, the Snack Shop debuted and introduced the Kala Mix”. In 2021, they introduced a few new products which are just incredible. Enter the Gari Mix. Lawd have mercy. Bundled in one package are peanuts, milk, sugar and crunchy gari. All you need to do, is add water.

I tried it earlier in August and really liked it. then I tried the gari and coconut chips mix. All I will say is that it’s a must try and must have. I keep a few packs around my office to snack on -dry or with water- when I am unable to go out to have lunch. Keep innovating Snack Shop! @snackshop1847  +231 77 047 8685

Kernel Fresh

Kernel Fresh continues to innovate and expand its product lines.

In the last year, they have introduced beard grooming products, African Black Soap -both liquid and bars-, and other skin care products.

Kernel Fresh 2021 Special Box – J-Palm Kernel Fresh – Liberia (kernelfreshpremium.com)

This section covers clothing and other service based businesses owned and operated by Liberians.

Monsio Coutre Fashion House

Although not a new company, Monsio Couture has stood the test of time and has steadily grown into a recognizable and sought after clothing brand over the years.

Her outfits are worn by many Liberians across a wide spectrum and has been a trailblazer in introducing new fashion in Liberia.

She recently added a training component to her business where she provides on the job fashion design training to girls from underprivileged background.

She has several outlets in Monrovia and at the Roberts International Airport. 088 682 7849, http://www.monsiocouture.com/

Peppa Jar
Although started in America, the children’s clothing company was started by a Liberian, Gwatoh Kroma whose love for richness, diversity of African fashion and fabrics led her to carve her niche in this area of African fashion.

Recently relocated to Liberia, the company currently sources most of its fabrics from Liberia and other West African countries and is intentional about not only showcasing customary clothing for youth but also to refashion the global definition of personalized-style by incorporating African culture and stories into her outfits.

@peppajar, http://www.peppajar.com, https://www.facebook.com/peppa.jar

Bloh Kon Dahlor

Bloh Kon Dahlor is a Ready to Wear Brand made in Liberia that has popularize the infusion of the Liberian “country cloth” fabric with traditional African wax print and western fabrics to create a unique brand of fashion.

Bloh Kon Dahlor, meaning “ woman with a suitcase of fabrics”, or “woman who loves clothes”, made its debut into the fashion scene in 2020 and in the short time has become quite well known for her unique pieces made from the West African mudcloth.

https://www.blohkondahlor.com/s/shop, @blohkondahlor

Curated Gifts Shop Liberia

Looking for cultural gift items? Curated Gifts is the place to visit.

Curated Gift Shop is a Liberian, woman-owned business committed to sharing the beauty and diversity of African art locally, at an affordable price.

Each item in the store has been hand-selected to represent the unique art and culture from the corners of our African continent, expressed through the work of artisans.

Our products bring the glorious expanse of Africa close to you, right here where you are! We’ve priced most of our items below US$50 to make sure you can afford more of what you love.

We hope you enjoy your Curated Gift, thank an artisan and think of Africa!

Email: curatedgiftshopliberia@gmail.com, Facebook: https://facebook.com/CuratedLiberia/

Instagram: @curated.gift.items.liberia, Contact number: 0886397041 / 0779899424 Location: Rehab Road, Paynesville. Adjacent the Total Gas Station

Lappa Queen

Lappa Queen has also been around for a while and I have made some really nice outfits with her. Her attention to details and concerns about customer satisfaction has endeared me to the brand over the years. Lappa Queen has been good at creating free flowing and comfortable outfits for working women.  

077 622 5811, lappa.queen@gmail.com,

Tete’s Afro Interiors

TAI was founded by a young Liberian scholar, Tete to “reinvent interior decors and home designs”. Using mostly African wax fabric materials, Tete’s Interiors creates throw pillows, comforters, placemats, etc.

077 575 5906, teteafricaninteriors@gmail.com,

Dry Season Baby

Dry season baby is a clothing line that also focuses on children’s clothing. Started by Erika Hill, this new fashion company uses a mixture of tye-dye and Ankara wax fabrics to create unique pieces for kids under 12 years old. She also carries products made by other Liberian businesses such as Henries farms, Jola House, etc. Contact: 0775451387. Located Duport road, around the Alex Cummings Model school.

Providence Television

Owned and operated by Lovetta Sendolo, providence Television made its debut during the COVID19 pandemic to provide quality news coverage to people both in and out of Liberia. It is an online tv that specializes in live streaming events like funerals, weddings, parties, rallies, induction, etc. with distinction, and make your event colorful, unique, and delightful. We also promote businesses.

@providencetelevision1, Contact 0777515198

US& Liberia- Sharing Thanksgiving

Sharing an article written by NPR where I was interviewed regarding Liberia and the United States sharing Thanksgiving Holiday and what thanksgiving means to me and to Liberians generally.

The full article can be read on https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/11/24/1057267834/former-slaves-brought-thanksgiving-to-liberia-and-rebooted-it?fbclid=IwAR1NQQeMrDEHx9t3MckNIgTwLuOb-zSX0qDc0jP1_t8yvtDfRXds4DrCkbU

Made In Liberia Products – 2020

In 2020, I was more deliberate about trying out products made in Liberia, especially products made by “new” Liberian entrepreneurs and of the many I explored this year, these are my top picks in no particular order-  and why.

Ginger Anana by Veda Ajavon

I grew up sipping ginger beer made by my grand mother. There aren’t many ginger drinks options and usually the canned imported ones are just sugary drinks. In this product I have found the perfect blend of a “home made feeling and taste”, natural sweetness (she sweetens with honey) and that zest that makes you say “aargh”!

Liberia Pure Honey

Since I discovered this honey, I have not bought any imported honey. And this has been for a few years now. Recently they introduced ne lines with cinnamon (which goes so well with tea and coffee) and garlic. They also sell coconut oil, chips, etc. their honey is cultivated by Liberian farmers around Liberia and its another reason I love their brand.

Pape Foods- Tea- by Jeyfne & Joe Togba

Moringa, bissap, lemongrass, etc. They have a variety of tea products on the market. I first encountered the brand in early 2020 and was intrigued about their products. I LOVE having their moringa & bissap mixed with Liberian Pure Honey.

Brisco – by Sangai Brisbine

Coffee! I love coffee and having a local brew I can savor knowing it was grown right here on Liberian soil, even more perfect! they have been championing the Liberica beans which is unique to Liberia. Check them out. They also have tea and other products such coffee tea (yep), chips, etc.

J-Palm Liberia

Perhaps to most recognizable local personal care brand. This year J-Palm scaled up and introduced a variety of products, most of which I have personally sampled. I LOVE their shea butter products and the new fragrance they have introduced. Besides bathing soap which they started off with, they now have shampoo, body wash, hair and body oil, face scrub, etc. their monthly combo box is the best. Like Liberia Pure, they also support small rural farmers and this gives an extra feeling of fulfillment every time I purchase their products. Buy Liberia, Build Liberia.

Creamy Crunchy Delight- Cakes, pastries and more! – By Michaleyn George.

I have watched this small business evolve and grow and in 2020, she introduced mini sweets boxes that makes the perfect family desert boxes for holidays and small intimate events. Each receipe is tested and executed with perfection, love and care. I typically stay away from cakes, but that combo box is just irresistible.


They make a variety of spirits and when I found out they make vodka I was intrigued. Vodka? Made in Liberia? Yes and Yes. Try their products, you just might get hooked and skip Absolut.

Henries Farms – By Ann Henries

I love Henries Farms products so much I volunteered and declared myself brand ambassador.

Ann makes candles, soaps, dried fruits, jams, gift bags, body butter, etc. In 2020 her line of products expanded and I have thoroughly enjoyed sampling each and exploring a variety of self-care and luxury products. The fact that most of her products also comes organically fresh from her farm makes it feels even more like the Liberian phrase “from God, to man”.

I rarely ever now have to buy imported scented candles. Her fragrance is rich, the colors are vivid and her packaging are all top notch.

Elle Foodie – By Rochelle Bannerman

She makes beautiful baskets that serves both as art and useful storage. Be it a coffee table top basket to place your tea and coffee in, or perfume tray, or just an art décor. I got 3 and turned 2 into lovely desktop flower holders and used one for my condiments basket. They actually make nice gifts.

The Flower Pot- By Jefyne & Lovetta

What is there not to like about this business? Women owned, natural flowers, easily available.

This business was birthed during COVID19 lockdown and as someone who loves flowers I was immediately drawn to what they were doing. Their plants now grace my office and home. They do wreaths, gift floral arrangements, bouquets, landscaping, etc.

Montserrado Meats- by Tolbert

I got drawn first to the business from their corn. They grow the best corn I have eaten on the continent. I used to look forward to them restocking the freezer at Stop & Shop. When I found out it was Liberian owned, I was hooked. Then I got introduced to their smoked bacon. Then sausage. Oh la la! I have refused to buy imported bacon since I tried theirs. If you are a bacon lover, please try their smoked bacon. Thank me later.

Kala Mix- by Cornelius & Sharon Poneys

In my opinion, kala should be declared a national delicacy. Seriously. Now, most of us tend to buy our kala from local street vendors and love kala, but have always have hesitation with “street food”. In comes Kala Mix. Much like a pancake mix, all you need to do is add water, wait, pour, fry eat.

This reduces the hassles of guessing measurements and worrying about eating street food. Their products comes in several flavors: cinnamon, nutmeg, plain.

J&A Delicacies – by Brenda & Ransford Moore

Wait, wait, you thought I would leave my product out? Haha. Nope!

Anyway, J&A was birthed from the love for snails, and the desire to have them all year round and conveniently available. Snails are seasonal and so they are in abundance in the rainy season and scarce in the dry season. You also have to put in time to clean them…which can be messy. In comes… J&A Delicacies. We are proud to be the couple that placed cleaned processed snails on the shelves of major supermarkets in the country. We offer seasoned oven baked, fresh frozen and barbecue snails and you can find the fresh frozen snails at several locations around Monrovia.

Virgin red oil – By Emery Cooper

When red oil meets class. In a bottle. Glass bottle.

Yep. My first glance of the oil and I assumed it was red wine. Then I saw it being poured on rice. So clear, clean. I needed to try it. Now I am hooked. It is perfect for Liberian “dry rice” and best part is that it has no sticky aftertaste like some bottled red oil.

Aago Oil – By The Sendolos

What’s made in Liberia? Aago Oil. No scent, does not “sleep” and is reasonably priced. We use a lot of vegetable oil to cook in Liberia and to know that a local couple deiced to tap into this market was encouraging. They had some hiccups in 2020 with production so I am anxiously looking forward to their product being back on shelves. Every time I have to buy imported vegetable oil these days I literary cringe.

Mama Jet Spices –

Local seasoned pepper, country spices, a blending of various spices to obtain a unique combination. I have tried several of their spices and my best hands down is their seasoned pepper spice. Try it.

John’s St. Paul Rum- by John T. Richardson

I don’t drink rum but have enjoyed buying the rum as gifts for friends. Then I tried their coconut flavor. Now I am looking for John’s St. Paul rum as gifts. Recently he partnered with June Carey and they make these really beautiful hand painted bottles which makes them even more endearing.

The rum is nice. The packaging is nice. The price is nice. What’s not to like?

Pur Water – by Amin Modad

Pur Water is one of the few Liberian owned bottled water companies. It tastes just as fresh as any imported water and when available, is my preferred water to purchase. I am hoping that with 2021, we will see it in more stores and other Liberian owned businesses as well.

DH Fragrances – By Deddeh Howard Howe

Although not made IN Liberia, it is made by a Liberian I know. And as someone who adores scents and all things aromatherapy, I was eager to try out her candles when she launched her product in 2020. I love the vibrancy of the scents, the burning time and the fact that some of her candles can actually be used as a massage oil! yep. Check out her store online.

I have enjoyed exploring these products in 2020 and look to continue using them in 2021 and exploring new ones as well. This is not a paid ad and was done to share information with others on the growing range of items being locally produced by Liberians in Liberia.

Photo credit for MADE In Liberia: vector stock images culled from https://www.vectorstock.com/royalty-free-vector/made-in-liberia-vector-9521131

A Typical Day In The Life Of A Liberian Doctor

Written by: Deddeh E. P. Supuwood, MD.

Everyday we hear all around us that quality healthcare delivery in Liberia is lacking and it is not a fantasy, neither can it be over-emphasized. As health care workers in Liberia, we face the challenges of coming in contact with patients that are in need of so many things but are compelled to watch helplessly as we offer very minimum or no service at all to these patients. I cannot express in words exactly how this makes us feel. In fact, it has almost become a normal practice as doctors in Liberia to say to our patients “I know what is happening to you but unfortunately I don’t have the means of treating you right now”. Sad, isn’t it?

As a young medical doctor who has so much passion for what I do, I have had this experience one too many times, both in my personal and professional life. Growing up, my family and I had to go through an exceedingly long and emotionally difficult battle: my mother was diagnosed of breast cancer at the age of 41. We watched helplessly as she fought this disease for eight years and we watched as it gradually invaded her body until she finally succumbed to it. Having lost my mother to this silent and common yet unknown killer, I promised myself that if given the opportunity to study, I would study cancer to save others from meeting same demise as much as I could.

I watched and listened through the years as I heard stories of people dying from cancer both in and outside of Liberia. What makes Liberia’s situation even more peculiar is the fact that we do not have a cancer center in Liberia where people battling this disease can get proper health care- just another of our many sad stories.

Fortunately, the opportunity came, and I was awarded a scholarship to pursue my dream of becoming an oncologist (cancer doctor). Being eager to offer my service to my people, I returned home for a short vacation and decided to go to work.

It was a sunny day and a terribly busy one too in the outpatient clinics. My colleague had alerted me that she was referring a patient to me and I sat in the screening room waiting for her. As she walked in with her relative, I watched this very frail woman who had obviously lost a lot of weight. What was even more striking was that this woman’s abdomen was grossly and unevenly distended (big and knotty stomach), and she had jaundice (commonly called “yellow janus” in Liberia). My heart sank as I had already started going through the possible diagnosis in my head. Eventually, we went through the entire process of history taking and examination and labs were ordered.

Quite a few hours later, we had all the lab results put together and there it was! Exactly what I thought – this lady had liver cancer! What was even more frustrating for me as her doctor was that I could not offer her much help after that as the single medication she needed was nowhere to be found in Liberia. How do I tell this lady that she has liver cancer yet I cannot do anything about it? How do I tell her relative that all they needed to do was take her home and make her feel as comfortable as they could until she finally succumbed to this disease? This made me realize the burden and urgent need we have to establish a center where people like this lady can seek medical care.

We continue to fail our patients because of many circumstances that are beyond our control. We fail to invest in quality health services in Liberia. We continue to watch helplessly as people die from preventable diseases in our country and what we forget is that good health is the key to a productive life. If we must prosper as a country we need to take ownership of our health sector, invest in it and make it available, assessable and affordable for our citizens. Through this endeavor we all can be healthy, happy and continue working together to make Liberia a better place for everyone.

About the author: Deddeh is a Medical Oncology Resident at the National Cancer Institute in Cairo, Egypt. She hails from Liberia, West Africa and recently served as Deputy Case Management Pillar Lead, Montserrado County Health team Covid19 response.

How Dare You

Lately, I have seen something that is disturbing. It is the politicizing of rape and abuse.

Three words come to mind when I see or hear the crime of rape being politicized:

How Dare You!

For years, you sit in a position of trust and influence and, and you say or do nothing to address the issue of the rape of women and children as well as other sexual and gender-based violence.
Suddenly, it’s election year, and because you want votes, you feel it is the time you finally have awakened from your stupor – suddenly your eyes are opened, and your voice is returned – to proclaim “stop rape and abuse”.

How dare you!
How dare you!

You sit supinely, quietly, watching the news – reading the news. Each new day a new incident reported, or under-reported, including deaths to victims. The stories are mind-numbing and sickening with reports involving the rape of babies and little girls.
Those who survive the criminal ordeal to the violation of their bodies often do not feel lucky to be alive as they wear the physical scars and mental traumas and “guilt” for the rest of their lives, as if they are actually dead.

You turn your face away, and point your nose in the air because your family is safe. In fact, you think it’s only a “women’s rights issue”, and “these NGO people just want to talk”.

But 2020 is elections year. Now, you realize that we have an issue of rape in Liberia?
How dare you!
How dare you!

You claim to be interested in “the people”; which people?
You want to run for office, so you do photo ops at the detriment of the trauma of scores of women and girls! And you want us to be silent so that you’re heard.
Now, you want to organize rallies and meet-ups?

How dare you!

Now, you want to conveniently care about your sheep? Their pains make your electoral gains? How dare you?

How about all the times you were too busy – your pulpit was too precious to be soiled by victims “who dressed to invite rape”?

Do you expect us to simply forget all the times you refused to call out your friends, colleagues, and pastors. How can we just forget that you have not been there for the babies, the children and the women?

You refused to call out that ‘Father of The Year’ because he gives a lot to church programs, and he is a dear friend and colleague. We must simply forget?

Now, you speak about corruption. You speak about prosperity. You speak about going to heaven and salvation.

But you are silent on rape of babies – of angels! Of women!


You see and know a girl is being abused, but you do not want the family name to be “dragged in the mud”, so you pretend not to know. You smile and console. You cajole, “it will be all right, these things happen.:

Would your position be the same if it happens to you, or your child?

You do not realize that rape kills a child before she can even get a chance to live? Where is your conscience?

How dare you?

You boast about it being cheaper to “keep” small girls because older women have too many demands. So you purposely seek out high school vulnerable girls to “raise”. You lure them with $20 and $50, while you exploit their bodies! As you do this, you jealously and zealously guard and protect your own child from any fly coming near her.

How dare you!

You seek out little girls and boys and say “green plum sweet with salt” whist your own children are safe and protected abroad. You are brave and shameless to say “all these girls spoiled, they are used goods”.

Are you not the real user? How, how, how DARE YOU!

You use your affluence to protect those who rape and violate. You use your networks and secret societies and clubs to shield rapist. And you deny that rape is an issue even as you read near daily of rape all across the country.

You use the courts to break a family’s spirit. You use a broken, underfunded justice system to let rapists walk away while victims find it harder to even be heard.

How dare you!

We are not stupid. We see you.

Shame on you.


Brenda Brewer Moore

Liberia: The Pros & Cons of Working From Home During Covid-19

Had you told me a few months ago that I would have to work from home for a few weeks, I would have given you an incredulous look and asked “how”, or “why”. In fact, I have asked a few colleagues the same thing and each one answers first with a sheepish smile then shakes their head in disbelief.

The coronavirus disease started in China in December 2019. None of us imagined that what was reported to have broken out in Wuhan would break up our daily lives, the way we worked, and play, only a few months later. It has not only changed our routines, but the virus has also infected over 10 million, and killed over 500,000 globally, as at this writing.

My primary work is field-based. It means I have had to travel outside my home and headquarter office in Monrovia all across Liberia including remote villages and difficult-to-reach places. I have had to conduct business meetings, hold briefs with partners, organize public launches of various related programs and fundraisers, engage in one-on-one sessions with parents and children, as well as group meetings in communities. It seemed farfetched that I would ever consider the prospect of working from home.

It just would not work. Well, these thoughts were pre-Covid-19.

Today, we mostly work from home – a Covid-19 reality to protect ourselves and the people we love to serve.

Now lets face it, many of us complain and have to deal with long commutes daily. The long seemingly unnecessary traffic and bad roads. I know the effect on my body from some of many, if not all of my trips outside Monrovia. So the question is, why have we not easily embraced working from home? 

At 12%[i], Liberia has one of the lowest electricity penetration rates in the world. Less than 20% of the population has access to electricity. The cost is still amongst the highest in the world. Working from home inevitably means access to electricity. With over 80% off the national electric grade, it would mean most desirous of doing so must rely on private generators. The retail price of diesel to power a generator is U$3.5 a gallon. Of course its safer to work from home but its an unaffordable privilege and has serious challenges for many. 

Most employees look forward to going in to work to charge their phones and gadgets for use when they return to their homes. In fact, years back, I used to take a rechargeable fan to work so as to charge it for use at night.

And then, there is the challenge of the internet. Liberia’s internet connectivity, like electricity is at 12% penetration rate. As well as infrastructural challenges which would make what might be a simple and easy thing to do in other parts of the world a nightmare in Liberia, discussions are ongoing to increase the surcharge on internet use which would be another factor for those actively working from home.

To enable a response to the outbreak inevitably reaching Liberia, first a health emergency, and then a state of emergency were declared shutting down schools and businesses and restricting gatherings and imposing social distancing. Organizations like mine had to redefine the way we would work and adapt our operations, or risk permanent closures. Some of the adapted measures included:

Non-essential – quite a few organizations had to declare some of their team members “non essential”. So those without “critical functions” were asked to stay home. Ofcourse all functions in a small organization where one team member is tasked with multiple responsibilities, are critical. But such was the need to adapt including to available work and resources. Suffice to say, some organizations have been able to retain their non-essential staff on full salaries and benefits while others have had to institute a pay cut. As in all cases of any salary cut, the employee has to sign approving and accepting notices. Despite the unforeseen health emergency which has impacted the economy and work, salary cuts cannot be done arbitrarily or without prior consent. 

Intermittent work schedule– Some organizations opted to reduce the number of people coming in to the office space by scheduling their team members to come in on particular days only. This has enabled them keep up operations, and not have to declare any staff “non essential”.

Redundancy– When all else fails, redundancy is what some organizations have had to resort to. Now, redundancy has strict labor guidelines employers must follow to ensure they are in adherence to the Labor Laws of Liberia. The employer must make a reasonable  business case to the Division of Labor Standards outlining why they have to lay off staff. In the future when the business has improved and these positions become available again, the law mandates that employers gave preference to team members made redundant previously. 

Team members declared to be “non-essentials” have either had to deal with a pay cut, or face the real prospect of redundancy. Like one HR Professional I spoke to said “How do you justify keeping a contractual driver on payroll? How can he ‘work’ from home?”.

Some companies provided staff with few extra gallons to cover fuel/gasoline for the running of their private generators at home so that they work from home. Others provided chargeable power banks to recharge phones and laptop when they run out of power. Bigger companies provided solar panels to some of their employees to keep them working away from their offices.

Working from home has also meant, for big and small organizations, the subsidizing of internet data usage and connectivity.

Especially across various counties with competing challenges, how have some Human Resource Professionals coped with working from home and maintaining a level of connection and interaction with their teams? 

Weekly check in meetings– Scheduling of weekly meetings to check-in on team members. These calls can be group calls or one-on-one. It provides staff an avenue to share concerns, fears and “feel needed”, all of which are proving to be important contributions to remaining engaged and being productive in the strange situation of working from home. The phone calls makes it more personable, a valuable loss for many employees now forced to work from home.

Whatsapp Groups– Some offices have created whatsapp groups to enable team members keep in touch, share updates and concerns about happenings and conditions. This has helped teams feel connected, share the new learning experiences even while separated for extended periods of time. 

What have been some of the challenges with actually working from home?

Hands down, from all I spoke to, the biggest challenge has been that of electricity. Unsurprisingly, it is immediately followed by issues with internet connectivity. 

As already indicated, most homes rely on self-run generators, commercial community electricity provided at exorbitant fees, or in rare cases, state provided “LEC”. 

Constant interruptions– Now being home all day means the kids, if you have them (a typical Liberian household comprise an average of 5.6 persons, according to the most recent LIGIS census),  want to hang out more. Locked out from school and having their parents around more often then they are used to; who can really blame them? 

Parents, other than adjusting to working from home, now have to parent more, and become the teachers their children need, miss and must have. And so, the home is not just converted into the new office, it is also the new school, and even the new play place. 

With parents around, children want attention. And so every so often, they interrupt. When in the flow writing, or analyzing, or preparing a complicated report, splitting attention and concentration is not the ideal enabling environment. In fact, it can be a bit annoying and stressful.

One HR Professional I spoke to told me she has to start work at 10pm most days as that is when her kids are asleep, the house has less noise and distractions, and the internet is faster! She works up to 2:30ish am, before heading to bed.

Internet connectivity– even if affordable, presents a difficult challenge. Depending on where one lives, one might have good steady internet, or struggle with inconvenient blind spots. The signal might be stronger in the kitchen and weaker in the room. Even worse, the signal might be stronger on the back porch, or in the yard, and extremely weak throughout the house. Imagine trying to work at night using the internet, and battling mosquitoes (Liberia is in the tropics), or working from the most inconvenient space for work in the house!

It begs to mention again that the cost of the internet data is anything but cheap, and these numerous Zoom and Skype calls gulp up data like water poured on hot sand. 

One professional told me there are times he has to drive in his car on the road to take work calls as the network at his home is very bad and most times he is unable to participate in meetings. He also pointed to challenge of sending a simple file which he said takes up agonizing hours of waiting frustratingly to upload. Sometimes, uploading or downloading would come close to being completed after the long wait, and then, suddenly, the connection would be lost, and the process has to be restarted, from scratch!

Work-life balance: Another downside in working from home has been a reduction in work-life balance. You can no longer leave work, at work. Work is now at home – the office is the home. From across differing time zones, and trying to keep pace, we have had to take longer and longer zoom and skype calls, often at odd hours. And when videos are required, have to look your best when you’d rather be at rest. They are also time consuming and draining.

Be that as it may, it was interesting to observe that all 3 individuals interviewed for this article are in agreement that while the distractions at home have proven… well, distracting for work, they have enjoyed the reconnection with their families and children, and the family life and bonding they seemed to have forgotten, if not traded to office life in which the kids are sleeping by the time they get home from work. As one puts it, they seem to enjoy “judging complaints all day”, and just spending more time living in your home space. Often, between work and long commutes, except for off-days, many only use their homes to sleep, shower and change clothes. 

Having a semblance of control over one’s time has also been another advantage of working from home. One is able to space out work in a way that offers flexibility in and control over time. And one can dress, or be unmasked, as they would prefer, to work.

So what advice do we have to share as HR Professionals:

1. Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize. 

You have to know how to prioritize your tasks in order of importance so you know which ones need urgent attention or which can be pushed off to later. And no, checking your facebook status every 20 minutes is definitely not a priority. 

2. Make a Rolling List

Write the things you need to get done down. It helps you remember to keep track of what has been done, and what is outstanding. It is also a great way to just track how you are spending your working hours and being accountable to yourself, your professional requirement, and to your employer. This list will come really handy when it comes time to track achievements for performance evaluations. 

3. Structure Your Day 

Even if fluid, it is important to plan out your work day in a way that provides you a sense of order. It helps to keep you with a professional mindset and in work mode. This can take the form of logging in at 9am daily after you have had breakfast, breaking at 1 for lunch, or just allowing for a mental health break. Maintaining a sense of structure to the day helps keep the mental edge and professional instincts required to be productive.

4. Set Boundaries

Make sure members of your team understand that while you are working from home, 10pm work zoom calls are not optimal use of time. Be clear about when you will be available to respond to non-urgent tasks, avoid taking work calls or meetings at night, and show similar respect to others in managing when you call them. Unless it proves to be absolutely necessary, in which case, it should be made clear that it is an exception and not the rule, boundaries must be set.

The boundaries must also apply to family members. Inform of the times in the day that you cannot be disturbed except for emergencies. Of course kids, especially younger ones, enjoy absolute exceptions and hold priority, especially if you are a mother, and the nurse, if you have one, cannot come to work for safety reasons.

5. Keep Updated

Rules are changing as the virus change our lives. HR Professionals must keep updated with the latest pronouncements of the government especial the agency responsible for labor matters.

This can be done through direct contacts, or through constant engagements with other HR colleagues. It is also important to learn about how other organizations are adapting to the situation so as to keep abreast with the trend and be informed about new ways to approach the new challenges.

Admittedly, our lives have changed. So also is the way we have always known to work and interact. Now, we must adapt. We must change. And the change critically affects offices and homes, merging the spaces, behaviors, attitudes and timing into one.

In any case, with the crazy Monrovia traffic, its hard to tell if anyone misses the morning and evening commutes!

Originally published on FrontPage Africa- https://frontpageafricaonline.com/opinion/commentary/liberia-the-pros-cons-of-working-from-home-during-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR2cAiDWi3wBV8apoH4ze1jyFQNEXipEYV1RmvN5l3YcFZJhujjtCHOXgGM

The Silence Of The Church On Rape



Lately, I have been reading a lot of speeches and writings from the past. One was Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail.

The letter was in response to a group of other “men of God” who wrote chastising Dr. Kings’ role in the civil rights movement and protest in Birmingham, for which he was arrested and jailed.

Too many things stood out to me especially about leadership in times of need and difficulties. I will not be going into all of them here. What I want to draw attention to, in this piece, was his comment about his disappointment in the leaders of the church (white), and their general lack of action, “appalling silence”, as black brothers and sisters were engaged, beaten, jailed and even killed in the fight for equality, social justice, and civil rights.

As I read the letter, a long-held and nagging thought took even clearer and compelling shape in my mind. What has been the role of the church in Liberia as rape, sexual violence and abuse has continue rob many of Liberia’s women and children of innocence, dignity and even life itself?

Where is the Liberian Church? How can the church be so silent and turn away as babies become mothers and children know not whom to trust? How can the Liberian Church look away as the staggering statistics of deaths of infants and girls, on account of rape, continue to haunt the society with increasing impunity? How can this not be a concern of the Liberian Church?

All about us, I hear loud silence – the “appalling silence” of the Liberian Church!

Where is the voice of the Council of Churches on members of that body who have been accused of rape, or are victims of rape, sexual violence and abuse?

Where are the sermons condemning these dastardly acts against innocent women and children?

Where are the calls to action of our Pastors and Bishops – the supposed moral consciences of the society? Where are the mentoring sessions for boys and young men to teach positive behaviour?

How can our pastors and bishops claim to care about our souls and show no care about our agonizing and raped bodies housing our souls?

Why are the silence and lack of care for victims not supportive of the increasingly unpunished crime of rape? How can any “man of God” be quiet as the society lay blames on the victims “for the way they were dressed”, and excuse the rapist?

How can the Liberian Church conscionably preach the promise of heaven and ignore the raping hell of earth for women and children, including babies?

Indeed, pulpits are great spots to advice, stimulate conversations and counsel good behavior. They are, and must continue to be elevated places for the advocacy of social justice and change, like Jesus advocated!

And yes, rape and the sexual abuse and violence increasingly perpetrated against women, girls, boys, children and babies violate the sanctity of life and stands counter to the moral code. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ would condemn rape today, as he condemned social injustices yesterday.

And so, why is the Liberian Church silent? Why are the pulpits seemingly unconcerned and uncaring? How many more babies have to die for the Liberian Church to be awakened to the inhumanity and cruelty of rape?

I am not trying to condemn – although I am deeply disappointed. I am trying to understand.

No doubt, the Church has a role to play in our collective efforts to address violence and its causes and impacts on all of God’s children. It is long overdue that the Liberian Church is heard on the growing incidents of rape, sexual violence and abuse. And the voice of the Church cannot be ambivalent or uncertain. It must be loud enough to be heard, as it must be strong in condemnation.

There are those who know my personal life’s story and say “but your ma was reverend” and insinuate that because of that, I should not be questioning the silence of the church on rape.

I will say it BECAUSE of exactly that I am asking the Church to stand up against rape. The church has a role to play, and that it should wake up and play it’s role – loudly.

The rape of our girls needs to end, and the Church can help, as it has a duty to assist the society through moral challenges.

Rape is immoral. A survivor of sexual abuse, I know it defiled the body and blemishes the soul. It must end now!




Why? Oh Dear Liberian Men, Why?


She is still a baby
And forced to have a baby
Innocence stolen
Childhood forgotten

Whilst no fault of hers
She, is called “a liar”
By her mother
Defiled by her father
A child’s trust, and body, thrown asunder
Replaced by lifelong guilt and shame
To shield behind a veil
Of lasting disgrace
To deal with in a society
Judging so unfairly

How can our society be so accepting?!
Mothering a child at only 14
How can we call a baby “baby ma”
When a baby she truly only desires to be?

Wishing her parents would protect her rights to be
Wishing her society will guarantee her to be
Like all children deserve to be

When will we care
How many more babies must tell
The sad tales of their hell?

What does it say
When relatives prey
As opposed to protect along life’s way?
How can our society continue to fail
To protect against rape?

How many must die
To know each child raped
Is a child killed
And a life taken away?

What are our values
When a baby has a baby
And the daddy IS her daddy?

How can we lift our collective heads
When a child is raped
For trying to get paid?
Selling candy in her community
Only to hear the rapist Boldly, Shameslessly, Guiltlessly say
“she was already opened wide. We agreed to suck and fxxxk”

How can it be
That a rapist would come to think
It is his right
To take away dignity and life??

When will enough ever be enough
And our community of men and women come to decide
This is so wrong
To be permitted as the norm?

The statistics are chilling
Rape is increasing
Too many children are dying #weareunprotected

Too many babies and women #unprotected
Why must anyone continue to be?
Why must our daily reality
Be of distrust, rape, abuse and impunity?

And this is why, we continue to cry and shout and chant “#WeAreUnprotected

©Brenda Brewer Moore

Written in response to recent cases of rape in Liberia, particularly the rape and impregnation of a 14 year old girl by her step father (https://frontpageafricaonline.com/front-slider/liberia-senator-seeks-justice-for-15-year-old-raped-by-stepfather/) and the story of a 17 year old petty trader raped while out selling. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=269537097785219&id=2142675996017151

Rethinking Literacy- Keynote Address

Recently I was invited by the Ministry of Education to serve as Keynote Speaker at the International Literacy Day celebration.

As someone who is passionate about changing the narrative on education in Liberia and an education actor, I saw this as an opportunity to briefly share my thoughts on a few things regarding literacy in Liberia. Below is the text from my speech.

Please permit me to stand on the existing protocol in expressing how honored, and humbled I am by the invitation to speak on the occasion of the celebration of International Literacy Day. I will limit my remarks to three points drawn from the theme: Rethinking Literacy Development Through Multilingualism.

The first point is that being literate is being free and powerful.

One of the things I have learned in our work at KEEP as we strive to promote a culture of reading is the power of storytelling. So to make my first point, let me begin with a story.

Frederick Douglass was born in 1818.  He was a writer, orator and social reformer who has come to be so widely quoted. One of my favorite Douglass quotes is “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”. Before all of this tough, Douglass was a slave.

Over the protests of Douglass’ slaveholder, he would learned to read and write. The slaveholder said to Douglass that being literate would forever make Douglass unfit for the duties of a slave. He reasoned that learning would do a slave harm because “if you learn him how to read, he will want to know how to write; and this accomplished, a slave will be running away with himself.”

What this story of Douglass revealed, and the slaveholder knew as far back as in the 1800s, is that literacy was the key to freedom. It was the beginning of self-empowerment.

Literacy still has that power today.

Such is the power of literacy that it unlocks not just the chains of slaves but also unchains our minds giving us clarity and understanding about ourselves, our community, our country and our world.

From being a slave, Douglass would go on not just to be free but also to become the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank. Can anyone therefore blame Douglass for saying, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free”?

My second point is that it is time to rethink literacy.

I agree with the Director General of UNESCO that literacy is the starting point for any form of quality inclusive education.  This is why we must rethink literacy.

Traditionally, we think of literacy as only the ability to read and write. Reading and writing are still very important components of literacy. But today, with the abundance of available information, the increasing influence of technology on our daily lives, and the need to communicate with varied audiences across the globe, literacy has come to mean more than just simply being able to  read a book or write a letter. It is expanding to mean being critical and ethical consumers of information as well as a communicator through varied means, and now in multiple languages.

With this rethink of literacy, each child is enabled to become a global citizen. Rather than only his country of birth, the larger  world  becomes a place he can seek to understand, live in, as well as interact and communicate with. Rethinking literacy is therefore a chance to cross boundaries, open vast spaces and unleash potentials.

Rethinking literacy means reading and writing are not only to be taught in Language Arts classrooms but by all educators, and teachers of every subject area. Every teacher must share in the responsibility to further develop, strengthen and enhance a student’s literacy in their specific subject area.

Rethinking literacy is understanding that from the moment a child is born, his or her literacy journey actually begins with parents, family and community all playing important roles. Like it is said, a love of reading is a great gift to pass on to a child. And so, every child we provide the best chance to be literate is an adult for whom we would not need “Adult Literacy Programs”.

At KEEP, we believe that the stronger a child’s foundation is in reading and writing, the easier it is to learn other life skills and professions. We know that being a doctor, engineer, lawyer or scientist does not begin in graduate school. It begins in pre-school, kindergarten and grade schools. This is why we are striving, all across the country, to cultivate that love and interest in reading as early as possible, through many strategies, be it storytelling, drawing, read aloud sessions, poetry, etc..

And rethinking literacy is actually getting libraries into every school and communities because to borrow from Walter Cronkite, “whatever the cost of libraries, the price is cheap compared to an ignorant nation”

My third and final point, on this International Literacy Day, is to again join the Ministry of Education in an appeal to the Legislature to increase the appropriation for education to at least 10% of the national budget.

The challenges in the educational sector are enormous. Of course, money is not the cure-all for all of our educational problems. But more than the current budget of 42m is needed to demonstrate how seriously we are prioritizing the need to improve the quality of education in the country.

For too long now our schools are failing and our children are failing. All Liberians should be concerned because each Liberian boy or girl who fails to be as educated as any child in the region or across the world is a dark spot on the collective bright future that we seek. We simply cannot ignore that too many of our children are either failing, barely passing, or graduating when they can barely read or write!

Liberian children are smart and ready to learn. And so, our children are not failing us. We are failing them.

We have called many things national emergencies in our country. The failings of the educational system is a real and serious emergency. It is time to treat it as such. Let us not just talk about it. Let us do something serious about it.

A good first and serious step would be to increase appropriations for education in the national budget.

I understand that we need to build roads, bridges and buildings. I know that they beautify the body of our country. But building the minds of our children is best because that way, we beautiful the soul of our nation, and that way also, we protect the future of our country.

We cannot afford to let the educational system become worse than it already is. If we do not invest in improving it, it will get worse.

This is why, I agree with President George Weah when he said, “Education is like a bicycle. You must pedal to keep moving forward.”

What is also true is that the Ministry of Education is the chain that connects the pedal of our national bicycle. And that chain feels slack, and is asking to be reconnected to the pedal so we can move ahead.

We are wise to listen.

May God bless us all. I thank you for you kind attention.

—- End Speech—

the story was also published in the Liberian Daily Observer Newspaper https://www.liberianobserver.com/news/its-time-to-rethink-literacy/