The Carter Center, with financial support from the European Union and other donors, has launched a certificate program to build the capacity of 90 government officials to implement the 2010 Freedom of Information Act.
In the first training session, held in Monrovia Nov. 15-16, participants represented more than eight government entities, including the Ministry of Justice, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Liberia National Police, and the Ministries of Education, Gender, Information, and Internal Affairs. The Carter Center has developed an implementation assessment tool, which helps government agencies assess how well they comply with freedom of information laws. Early this year, it used this tool with a number of Liberian agencies. The results showed that while some progress on implementation had been made, there remains a need for additional technical capacity. To help agencies provide the public with the best freedom of information service possible, the series of four training sessions cover topics critical for full and effective implementation, including records management, FOI procedures, proactive disclosure, assisting women and marginalized persons, disclosure exemptions, and appeals. Erik Kristensen, EU program manager for governance in Liberia, launched the training series. Laura Neuman, director of the Carter Center’s Global Access to Information Program, and Forkpa Kemah, director of the Center for National Documents and Records Agency’s library, co-facilitated the sessions. Additional trainings will be held in December 2016 and January 2017, followed by a final session in February 2017 and a formal certificate ceremony for participants who complete the 32 hours of FOI training. Since 2010, The Carter Center has helped key stakeholders in Liberia support passage, implementation, enforcement, and use of the FOI Act. With funding from the European Union, the Center currently works to enhance accountability and access to information in the security and justice sectors, including for women.