On August 5, 2005, the organization RICCE was founded by development specialists, Engineers, health professionals, grassroots activists, and some professors at the University of Liberia who were alarmed by the exclusion of rural people especially women participation in decision making about national issues which have impacts on their lives. RICCE was established as a non- governmental, non-profit and non-political organization.
By C. Brewer
The Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment (RICCE) empowers rural communities to participate in decision-making in Liberia, with emphasis on issues that impact their lives and threaten community peace and security.
To do this, RICCE facilitates community-based peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes and works for the promotion of biodiversity and transparency in natural resource management.
RICCE was established by development specialists, engineers, health professionals, grassroots activists and professors at the University of Liberia who were alarmed by the conditions of rural residents in 2005. At the time it was observed that the rural people were neglected when it came to political decision-making, economic opportunities, better schools, hospitals and basic protection of fundamental human rights. These conditions still exist today, contributing to conflict in Liberia.
RICEE is also involved in advocating for women’s rights, promoting female empowerment through programmes that allow them to participate in leadership and decision making processes.
“Globally, an estimated 736 million women—almost 1 in 3—have been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life (30 percent of women aged 15 and older).” – UNWOMEN
RICCE implemented a project titled “Building Women Capacity to Facilitate Tribal Harmony and Peaceful co-existence between the Gio and Krahn Tribes”. The project provided peacebuilding skills to 40 rural women that facilitated dialogue between two opposing tribes with a long history of disunity in Nimba County.
The organization is working to strengthen community peace to enhance development in Doumpa and Zuaplay, Nimba County. Through this initiative, the facilitation of peaceful dialogue between these two towns with a long history of land conflict led to the settling of a dispute that had lasted for over thirty years.
As tension relating to concession agreements increases, RICCE is creating awareness and promoting the formulation of policies and laws governing forest resources in Liberia. The project provides information to affected communities in Nimba County on policies governing the forest sector and the social agreement with regard to benefit sharing.
For more insight on our work in rural Liberian communities, see our profile.