The “Talking Bus” project is one of the latest innovative initiatives of the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) for Women’s empowerment, leadership development, International Peace and Security, as one of the components of the overall Women’s Situation Room (WSR).
The project uses a physical Bus that brings on board, the participation of ordinary citizens to dialogue on a range of issues affecting the society, including, but not limited to infrastructure development, education, and gender equality, rule of law as well as peace and security. The Bus for the project was donated by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
The Primary objective of the project is to maintain peace and stability by engaging ordinary and prominent citizens in the use of dialogue to address problems confronting them rather than resorting to violence. The project also helps to create a platform that sensitizes and mobilizes women and the public at large to speak out on issues affecting women’s participation in decision making and contribution to National Development.
In 2017, the project was executed twice- before and after the October 2017 elections; it was instrumental to the peaceful conduct of the elections. The project was first implemented with a support from the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy in Monrovia under the theme “Making All Voices Count; increasing community participation in Liberia’s 2017 election”. The project was executed in all fifteen counties of Liberia from May 15 2017 to September 30 2017, bringing together diverse participant to discuss their development priority needs and proffer local solutions for those self-identified needs.
It was successful in getting communities to speak about their pressing development needs including, but not limited to safe drinking water, roads, technical & vocational education, electricity, and security. These discussions prepared citizens ahead of the election to engage aspirants on sustainable development initiatives and sensitized the public to vote for candidate that would address their development needs.