Labor-Based Public Works Project
- Reference: P-LR-IZ0-001
- Approval date: 18/12/2007
- Start date: 03/04/2009
- Appraisal Date: 10/08/2007
- Status: OngoingOnGo
- Implementing Agency: MINISTRY OF PUBLIC WORKS
- Location: COUNTRY-WIDE
This component will have three sub-components, namely: Fish Town - Harper Road Rehabilitation, Socio-Economic Infrastructure Rehabilitation, and Maintenance.
Sub-Component I - Fish Town - Harper Road Rehabilitation: Activities under this sub-component will include:
(i)Rehabilitation and/or construction of bridges;
(ii)Replacement of substandard water crossings by new culverts;
(iii)Cleaning and rehabilitation of roadside drains;
(iv)Pothole filling and resurfacing in critical areas;
(v)Road segments shaping to ensure adequate runoff of rainfall;
(vi)Drainage clearing and construction; and vii)Brushing to control roadside vegetation.
As explained earlier, emphasis will be put on the extensive use of skilled and unskilled labor employed from near-by communities along the roads. It is estimated that under this component about 125 km of Liberia's critical roads would be repaired, 229 drainage points constructed, and 4 river crossings/bridges installed. It is also envisaged that about 3,000 temporary jobs will be created under this sub-component.
Sub-Component II - Socio-Economic Infrastructure Rehabilitation: The project will also finance under this sub-component, the rehabilitation and expansion of damaged socio-economic infrastructure along the Fish Town - Harper Road corridor. The type of infrastructure expected to be financed under this sub-component include: basic social services (such as schools, health centres, doctors' houses, teachers' houses, markets, and vocational training centres). In addition to enhancing access to basic social services and economic activities, it is expected that several jobs will be created under this sub-component.
Sub-Component III - Community-Based Maintenance: Maintenance would be an integral part of the project. In addition to funding public awareness campaigns on preventive maintenance, the project will pilot a community-based maintenance scheme, which will be geared towards
(i) the establishment of maintenance committees within the project intervention areas,
(ii) the provision of basic maintenance equipment for the maintenance committees, and
(iii) the creation of a Maintenance Fund for each of the established maintenance committees.
Component II: - Capacity Building
This component will have two sub-components, namely: Skills Training, and Institutional Support.
Sub-Component I - Skills Training:This sub-component will be geared towards developing and enhancing the skills of local contractors in the following areas: contract management, project management, and use of labour-based methods. In addition, the sub-component will target the training of Maintenance Committees established in selected communities to carry out preventive maintenance within their communities, and also execute Road Maintenance Contracts as envisaged under the project. Each of the Maintenance Committees will also be trained on the production skills relevant to an income generating activity chosen for the sustainability of the Maintenance Fund under their control and management.
Sub-Component II - Institutional Support:This component will be geared towards enhancing the capacity of the MPW. In this regard, the project will provide office equipment, supplies, and logistical support to the MPW. In addition, technical advisors will be provided to enhance the MPW's capacity in engineering and the use of labour-based methods.
Component III:Project Management
This component would be geared towards the day-to-day management of the project using the existing SIU established by GOL with support from the World Bank. To maintain and improve the performance of key SIU staff, short-term project management training will be supported under the project. The SIU will be provided funds for communication, transport, and to purchase necessary office supplies and consumables in keeping with increased Operating Costs due to the project. A procurement officer will also be recruited or seconded from the MPW under the project.
The sector goal is the enhancement of national security and the promotion of socio-economic development. Specifically, the project would seek to
(i) enhance access to basic social services and economic activities,
(ii) create permanent and temporary job opportunities through the use of labour-based methods, and
(iii) increase the skills of workers and local communities. In this regard, the key performance indicators to be monitored include: "Number of skilled and unskilled laborers employed (number of man-months of employment); "Number of bridges and culverts installed; "Length of Fish Town - Harper road network that has been resurfaced (km); "Number of socio-economic facilities rehabilitated; "Number of people trained; Project Objective: To rehabilitate socioeconomic infrastructure and improve capacities for infrastructure maintenance.
Despite the continued increase of the GDP growth in 2006, the economy recovery process has been quite slow and improvements in living standards and job creation have not been significant. A significant portion of the country's physical infrastructure has not been repaired and the provision of public services continues to be erratic. Road transport which is the dominant mode in the country accounting for over 85% of the total internal traffic flow has not been fully restored. Some roads are still in poor state, resulting in total isolation of some communities from the interior. Moreover, the unemployment rate has remained persistently high (85%). In recognition to the correlation between youth unemployment and security, there is an urgent need for job creation, and labour based works in road rehabilitation is one of the key tools in this regard. As mentioned in the recent Economic Commission for Africa report on "Meeting the Employment Challenge in Africa" which was endorsed by the African Ministers of Finance, labour based road construction and rehabilitation programs are quick ways to promote employment in the short-term because these programs have low requirements in terms of capital but high return in terms of labour employed.
The proposed project supports GOL's NPWP within the LEAP framework developed with support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In this regard, the proposed project seeks to support two initiatives of LEAP - Key Initiative 1 - Boosting employment in public works investments and Key Initiative 2 - Skills Training. Moreover, the project seeks to complement the road rehabilitation works which are being undertaken by other donors. It will contribute to the upgrading of the road network to functional level and allow for accessibility to the country's interior. In order to harmonize the donor interventions in the sector, the project intends to use the existing Special Implementation Unit (SIU) which has been jointly established by the MPW and the World Bank.
Lessons learned in the implementation of previously completed labor intensive projects, as well as in the activities of other partners in Liberia have been fully reflected in the project design. During the last two years, much of the work carried out has been of emergency nature. Now that refugees are returning to their communities, there is a need to re-establish basic infrastructure and rebuild social capital on a sustainable basis. This means enhancing the participation of local communities in the entire development process taking place. In this regard, the project would seek to build on the existing local structures with a view to optimising their participation in both the envisaged rehabilitation and maintenance of the road and related socio-economic infrastructure. To this effect, the use of this approach is expected to:
(i) enhance community ownership and commitment to the upkeep of the road;
(ii) generate employment and income for the rural poor through contracts for minor repairs and maintenance of rural roads;
(iii) provide sustainable access to education, health, markets, and regional economic centers.
In order not to compromise the quality of the works, labour substitution for machinery will be applied only where it is technically and economically feasible to do so. In this regard, the proposed project has been designed to include an appropriate mix of labour and equipment.
The mission observed that the conflict had a very negative effect on the prevailing capacity environment in Liberia. Institutional capacity has been destroyed and most ministries including MPW lost their ability to effectively manage their respective functions. The lack of vital equipment, years of skills atrophy and very little training, limits the capacity of the MPW to carry out most of the tasks associated with reconstruction efforts. The private sector has also been impacted by the brain drain, disinvestment, and destruction of infrastructure as the result of the conflict. While some level of technical capacity still exists in the infrastructure field, it remains limited. The project seeks to contribute to the rebuilding the capacity of not only MPW but also of national contractors. The project will include institutional capacity building for MPW as well as skills training development of national contractors and local communities to manage and execute on a sustainable basis the construction, maintenance and minor repair of rural roads and related socio-economic infrastructure.
"Increased mobility and access to socio-economic activities for the target beneficiaries "Improved skills and job opportunities for the target population. "Improved capacities of communities in conceptualising, planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating their own project activities thereby enhancing their effective participation in the development process and the building of social capital which is essential in a post-conflict situation. "Improved capacity of the Ministry of Public Works and local Contractors "Increased awareness and receptivity on crosscutting issues such as the environment, gender, child labour, HIV/AIDS, etc.
BESONG Raymond Eyoh - OSHD1