Leading Liberia with
Hope & Reform

Liberia is at a very critical crossroad today.When the guns went silent in 2003, following 14 years of brutal civil conflict, the people of Liberia, working alongside the international community, embraced the democratic system of governance as the best option in moving our country forward and addressing our leadership challenges.

Following two critically acclaimed national elections, the resilient people of this  nation will again be going to the polls in October 2017 to choose who will lead them on this critical journey towards the 21st Century. The outcome of the 2017 elections will  be a defining moment for Liberia and its citizens, both at home and in the Diaspora. The hard choices that we make will indicate whether or not this nation is prepared to move ahead or remain stuck in time, reliving the ugly past.

A decade of peace and quietude has allowed the current administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to work along with our citizens and the international community in moving Liberia from its past  state to a 21st Century nation that is edging towards middle income status in terms of growth and development. Our nation still grapples with huge challenges when it comes to education, healthcare, electricity, water, land reform, among several other socioeconomic gaps.

As a former refugee who fled the civil conflict from Monrovia to Danane, in La Cote d’Ivoire in the early 1990s; I was fortunate to gain entry into the United States of America where I obtained my higher education. We all know firsthand what our people endured in the remotest parts of Liberia. The sad part is that even today in most areas of our country particularly in the Southeast, our people remain stuck in a weird time warp, as if the war has not ended.

My decision to enter the 2017 presidential race today rests on the backbone of hope and reform. As a former refugee girl, I bear testimony to the fact that education remains the greatest equalizer for hope and reform. When used constructively, education can transform anybody into somebody.

While I would hasten to acknowledge the significant progress made by this government in terms of socioeconomic transformation; the task to improve the lives of our people is far from completion. And I remain confident that the change our people so desperately crave can only be realized when we ourselves are ready to change. A holistic economic transformation has to completely trickle down to the citizenry if they must feel the ripple effects of development.

And so, over the next couple of months, we will robustly engage our citizens across the length and breadth of the country, as well as in the Diaspora, on a soul-searching mission to listen, learn and document what works best for our country Liberia. Our approach to developmental problem solving will not be a “one-size-fits-all”. The development needs of our people in River-Gee, of course, will be different contextually from those in Gbarpolu County; as so it is with other counties.

As we embark on this arduous journey together, we enjoin all Liberians – wherever you find yourself – to understand and propagate the message of hope and reform.  We will forever ‘BE BETTER TOGETHER’.

Join me, and
let’s get to work

Distinctly qualified by both personal experience and professional passion, MacDella Cooper’s vision and convictions answer the call of a new generation of Liberians. Here’s how:

A Five-Star Platform of Hope & Reform

The Challenge:

Education progress in Liberia has suffered due to the civil conflict and the Ebola outbreak in 2014. The total adult literacy rate is 42.9% and the primary school net enrollment ratio is 41% – a significant barrier to the social well-being and economic competitiveness. Among youth (15-24 years) the literacy rate for boys is 63.5%, and it’s even lower for girls (37.2%). UNICEF

The Cooper Commitment:

To improve the quality of secondary education and teaching and learning conditions, Cooper will ensure free and compulsory education for every Liberian child by sourcing and ensuring adequate and accessible schools and supplies – and developing a workforce pipeline of qualified and fairly compensated teachers.

The Challenge:

Liberia faces widespread health problems, including Ebola-risk, endemic malaria, malnutrition, mental health issues and low public health awareness. In rural areas of a country the size of Tennessee, where 50% of the population resides, maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the sub-region. Upwards of 35% of healthcare costs are covered by patients themselves, a burden largely borne by the most vulnerable populations; and in 2015, Liberia faced a 77% stock-out of essential drugs at health facilities. Exacerbating the challenge is a severe shortage of health professionals. Teamwork Africa and World Health Organization

The Cooper Commitment:

Building on current President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s ambitious plan to introduce free healthcare for all, Cooper will ensure its financially sustainability; as well as implement equitable point-of-service, community-based and national policies that boost enrollment in universal health insurance.

The Challenge:

Less than 10% of Liberians have access to electricity, and the majority of electric energy services in Liberia is provided by small, privately-owned generators. At $0.54 per kWh, the electricity tariff in Liberia is among the highest in the world. Total installed capacity in 2013 was 20 MW, a sharp decline from a peak of 191 MW in 1989. World Bank and Energypedia

The Cooper Commitment:

Cooper will push toward more reliable and affordable connectivity and energy services. In particular, Cooper will expand access to electricity in remote areas that aren’t likely to be connected to the national grid in the foreseeable future, and promote nationwide use of renewable sources of energy away from more expensive imported fuel.

The Challenge:

Liberia has begun implementing a range of governance reform programs, among which decentralization is key. Despite consensus among stakeholders – politicians, government officials and civil society activists – on the need to decentralize governance and service delivery, there remain deep divides on the scope, nature and timing of decentralization reforms. Stability: International Journal of Security & Development

The Cooper Commitment:

To advance a system of democratic governance that accelerates socio-economic development, Cooper will promote political will in support of decentralization as an integral element of postwar governance reform – which has thus far been absent. Additionally, Cooper will ensure adequate financial and human resources to support the programs associated with the legalizing reforms, including civic education and research.

The Challenge:

While rich in natural resources, Liberia has an urban-based elite, the descendants of freed slaves from the United States and Caribbean. The majority of indigenous Africans live in rural areas, however, and the current land-tenure system reflects this division of the population. Policies that once recognized customary ownership as full ownership rights now recognize only usufruct rights of possession and use of undocumented customary claims. As a result, indigenous communities have lost their source of food and livelihood, and the crux of their cultural heritage. USAID

The Cooper Commitment:

As a child of American slaves, Cooper understands first-hand the divides of her country, and the plight of indigenous people. Cooper will advance their self-governance and legal recognition of customary rights. Through policy reforms, land dispute resolution and the promotion of community forestry development, Cooper will ensure fair distribution of land ownership.

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Email: info@macdellacooper.com
Phone: +231886632463