Improving Lives with Local Resources
An Ultra-low-cost Eco-Village in Liberia
Groundwork is currently working with the Liberian government on a proposal to build a new community for approximately 500 families as a demonstration of environmentally healthy development and ultra-low-cost housing. The
proposal has support from Liberiaís President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a remarkable person and the first woman president in Africa.
Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world . More than 80% of the population lives on less than $1 per day . Life expectancy is 20 years less than in the U.S. . People live in poor conditions without clean water, sanitation and good quality shelter. They have been through 14 years of war. On our last trip to Liberia our driver, John, told us that 4 of his 11 children had been killed in the war, apparently when they asked for food. There is no electric grid. People who can afford it must rely on gasoline generators for electricity.
To see how most Liberians live we visited Johnís family at his house. They are 5 people living in 2 rooms with no kitchen, no bathroom, no sewage, no water, and no electricity. For that he pays $30/month, which is about 1/3 of his income.
What can Liberia do to improve the living conditions of the majority of its population? Looking to increase incomes by competing in international trade is a long hard road with not very promising prospects in the short term.
|1. [Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, DOE. China Country Analysis Brief July 2003. Chart of 2001 Energy Related Carbon Emissions.]|