Featuring former NED grantee
J. Aloysius Toe
Senior Policy Consultant, Founder and former Executive Director, Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FOHRD)
With comments by
National Endowment for Democracy
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After three years of democratically-elected government following 15 years of civil war, Liberia appears to be making steady progress in consolidating peace, restoring security and stability, rebuilding its infrastructure, reducing its debt, reviving the economy, and re-establishing the rule of law. The legislature is controlled by a loyal opposition, the courts are reasonably independent, the press is free, and civil society is robust. As Africa’s first elected female head of state, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has presided over a transformation of Liberia’s image in the international community, and her government’s reform policies have focused on a broad range of issues including international investment, support for trade unions, women’s rights, and primary education.
Despite these advancements, Liberia still faces many serious challenges building its democracy after a decade of civil war. Civil society is at the forefront of Liberia’s democratic movement, and has been an important driving force keeping the new government on track. NED partner FOHRD has played a pivotal role in educating and bringing awareness to issues of budget literacy and government fiscal accountability to community members across Liberia. To ensure that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf makes good on her promises of promoting good governance, FOHRD has strengthened the capacity of civil society organizations to monitor the new government’s compliance with international standards for transparency and human rights.
J. Aloysius Toe, former political prisoner and 2005 Reebok Human Rights awardee, is the former executive director and founder of the Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FOHRD). Founded in Monrovia in November 2003, FOHRD is a nongovernmental organization which seeks to spread democratic principles and promote respect for social and economic rights in Liberia. During the country’s civil war Mr. Toe led the Movement for the Defense of Human Rights. Toe now serves as FOHRD’s senior policy consultant while he pursues his graduate studies at Brandeis University in Boston, MA. He also currently serves on the Board of the International Human Rights Internship Program in Washington D.C. – which collaborates with NGOs on how to use budget analysis as a tool for human rights work.