Liberia -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Habitat for Humanity Liberia – Closed Program
From 1989 to 1995, Liberia was embroiled in civil war which was caused by an oppressive regime. In 1999, fighting broke out again in Northern Liberia. Peace was only achieved in 2003. The then President, Charles Taylor was also accused of backing rebels in the bloody conflict which was underway in the neighboring country Sierra Leone, - Taylor subsequently bowed to international pressure and resigned. A transitional government was later sworn in which paved the way for democratic elections which led to the election of Africa’s first female Head of State, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, in 2005. Although the political crisis has diminished, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) maintains a strong presence in the country, due to the potentially volatile security situation.
The years of conflict left Liberia’s infrastructure and economy in ruins. Progress has been slow, partly due to heavy international debts. The capital city, Monrovia, is still without running water or mains electricity. Illiteracy is high and 85% of the population is unemployed. As a result of this, an estimated 80% of Liberians live below the poverty line, and the average life expectancy is just 41 years.
During the civil war of 1989-1995, approximately 250,000 people were killed. Hundreds of thousands of people fled from the fighting, and many refugees who fled to neighboring countries have yet to return. Others who stayed were forced to live in substandard housing conditions.
Habitat for Humanity worked in Liberia from 2000 – 2004 and constructed 98 houses in nine affiliates until the political and civil unrest made it impossible to continue operations. One of the Program’s highlights was participating in the Jimmy Carter Work Project of 2002.
Location: West coast of Africa, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone
Population: 3.6 million
Economy: Main exports include diamonds, iron ore, rubber, timber, coffee and cocoa
Religions: Indigenous beliefs, Christianity, Islam
Languages: English and more than 20 local dialects