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Improving Lives: An Eco-Village In Liberia

Local Resources. Liberia has good local resources. Although one of the first tasks of the project is to research and identify local material and human resources, some of the resources that we have already seen are the land, which is strikingly beautiful; water, which is plentiful and nurtures the luxuriant landscape; timber, bamboo and palm; and laterite soil which can make excellent earth building materials.

 

John's family in front of their house.

The People. The peopleís participation in the process is as important as the raw materials. We found a lot of enthusiasm in people and a lot of potential for making things better. We met informally with people in Johnís neighborhood and discussed their ideas and ours about how to improve their housing and community. One of Johnís sons is studying sociology at the University of Liberia. He said he would like to do a case study for us of how people in his neighborhood like to interact with each other and how this affects the physical design of a new or improved community. The neighbors participated with animation in our conversations. There is a will and energy to get things done. We asked the National Housing Authority to see if there were people interested in working on building their homes. The response was overwhelming. For the purposes of exploring this idea further we selected 4 families with different economic situations and then interviewed each at their current dwelling about their needs, what problems they faced with their current situation, what was good and should be preserved in their current situation, what were their capabilities and interest in working on building housing. The higher income families could afford to pay others to work on construction. The lower income families could provide their own labor.

 

Our program is organized to do more than just provide housing. Key results of the project include education, job training and development of local businesses and industry.

 

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