Monday, December 10, 2007

LEAD Spreads Out: 3 Counties Down, 12 to Go

By now most of you know that Renita's primary work in Liberia is to support and act as consultant and acting director for LEAD, inc. LEAD stands for Liberian Entrepreneurial and Asset Development, and offers a 36 hour business management course as well as a matching loan program to help small to medium sized business grow. Starting off in the capital, Monrovia, the plan is to become national, with branch offices addressing the needs in each of Liberia’s 15 counties. LEAD continues to garner attention as the "little NGO that could" from big organizations like the UN, the World Food Programme and the Liberian government. More to the point, LEAD has offered substantive business training to hundreds of Liberians, loaned tens of thousands of dollars to strengthen businesses and create new jobs.

In February 2007, LEAD opened a satellite office to the southeast, in the Grand Bassa County seat of Buchanan. The Buchanan branch is operating well, offering the same training and loans that the Monrovia office provides.

Now, Renita and the LEAD team is traveling back and forth to the Northeast, to the Bong County capital of Gbarnga (Bang-ga). Working closely with Liberian Senator Franklin Saikor, LEAD has secured an office and is in the process of hiring staff.

Getting oriented-- LEAD has offices in Monrovia and Buchanan-- Gbarnga (red arrow) is next.

The soon-to-be Gbarnga LEAD office. Not much too look at, but dig that ga-roovy rustique "tow truck" lawn ornament. Kewl!

Senator Saikor, lending his support to the efforts.

Meeting witha women's group in Gbarnga-- very excited about LEAD coming.

Weather: Hot and dry, with moderate levels of humidity. Little night time breezes, with light and variable easterly winds throughout the day. No rain in a week.