The Talking Bus project is an initiative of the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security.
It is a component of the overall Women’s Situation Room (WSR), which mobilizes, harnesses and taps on the expertise and experience of women to mitigate any potential act of violence that could emerge before, during and after elections. The Talking Bus brings on board, the participation of ordinary citizens to dialogue on a range of issues including infrastructure development, sensitization and public education about important local and national matters.
The objective of the project is to maintain peace and stability by engaging citizens to use dialogue to address problems confronting them rather than resulting to violence. The project also helps to create a platform that mobilizes women to speak out on issues affecting them, participate in decision making and contribute to national Development.
The Talking Bus project was first implemented with support from the United States Embassy near Monrovia under the theme “Making All Voices Count; increasing community participation in Liberia’s 2017 elections”. The project was executed in all fifteen counties of Liberia. It brought together diverse participants to discuss their development priority needs and proffer local solutions for those self-identified needs.
Some outcomes of the Talking Bus Initiative
The first Talking Bus project was successful in getting communities speak about their pressing development needs including but not limited to safe drinking water, roads, technical, vocation education, electricity, and security. The public conscioustized on their civic duty to turn out and vote peacefully.
Voters’ apathy changed and voters encouraged to turn out to vote in the runoff election. Communities are enlightened to dialogue peacefully regarding any elections and electoral dispute; and to encourage their political parties to take electoral disputes to the courts and not to put people on the street. Communities thought to be able to express themselves and speak out without fear.
Citizens sensitized to respect elected authorities
- Over ten thousand citizens sensitized to respect the decision of the voter and accept the outcome of the run-off election.
- Over ten thousand citizens conscientized to put aside the election campaign rivalry, reconcile their differences, support the new government and contribute to national development.
- Legal education provided to over ten thousand persons on various aspects of the rule of law including land ownership, rape, labour, domestic relations amongst others.
- Over ten thousand persons educated on the procedure to access the rule of law even without money.
- Communities taught to be able to express themselves and speak out without fear or favor.
- Contentious communities remain peaceful and all citizens embracing to work with the new government.