In the pursuit of its mission and vision, CENSSAD works along the trajectory of the following thematic areas:
A. SECURITY & JUSTICE
CENSSAD believes there is a co-terminus relationship between security, justice and development will stress the need for the consolidation of peace in Liberia and the Mano River Union basin through the institutionalization of conflict mediation, mitigation mechanisms, the rule of law and access to justice. Our interventions into security and justice issues are primarily in the form of programs that contribute to security sector governance and policies, Civil-Military Relations, Democratic Governance, Access to justice, peace and security, as well as the development of early warning signals. CENSSAD will also conduct policy debates by engaging policy makers, security sector institutions and other civil society organizations in constructive dialogues. In our quest to debunk the stereotypes on security and the security sector and enhance effective citizens’ participation, we organize a number of round table discussions, student debates and other forums on peace, security and development.
B. ADCOCACY / AWARENESS BUILDING
CENSSAD strongly believes that information is power and key to understanding and participating in the democratic process. The Center undertakes the process of constructing a consistent forum for national dialogues and debates and will carve a niche by advocating engagement with the security sector and other societal actors through round table discussions, student debates, and panel discussions. An appropriate dissemination will be a regular Peace. Security and Development Update.
C. CONFLICT & PEACE BUILDING
The development process in Liberia and the Mano River sub-region generally is replete with interventions in the areas of conflict resolution and peace building. The emphasis is now on addressing the root causes of conflict so as to prevent a relapse. Various peace building institutions/processes have been established in the wake of the end of conflict in Liberia, including transitional justice mechanisms, reintegration programmes, security sector reforms, and the conduct of peaceful, free and fair elections.
CENSSAD will contribute to the realization of peace building initiatives by exploring conflict management strategies, reviewing traditional and non-traditional peace building initiatives, analyzing reconciliation and nonviolence conflict resolution initiatives and engaging key actors, including women and young people.
D. HUMAN RIGHTS & DEVELOPMENT
Human Rights and Development are critical components of sustainable development and lasting peace. Development can foster stability and help prevent crisis and conflict. CENSSAD believes that human rights are inalienable rights to which every person is inherently entitled. It will therefore seek to integrate these democratic tendencies through a programmatic approach focusing on strengthening and promoting human rights, accountable and transparent governance by engaging the state, policy makers and international partners through a constructive process of dialogues, meetings and forums.
A. SECURITY SECTOR GOVERNANCE
Security Sector Governance (SSG)) refers to the process by which accountable security institutions supply security through established transparent policies and practices. Accountability of security institutions is affected by democratic oversight performed by a wide range of stakeholders, including democratic institutions, government civil society and the media. Towards this end, CENSSAD has over the year organized a number of training sessions and dialogue forums across the country for key actors to strengthen state and non-state actors as a means of enhancing an effective and efficient security sector which is accountable to the people.
From 2016-2018, CENSSAD worked with the United Nations Mission in Liberia to strengthen security sector governance at the local level by working to enhance the County Security Team and promoting linkage between civil society and security institutions. In 2019, CENSSAD worked with the Geneva’s Centre for Democratic Governance (DCAF) in designing programs to help strengthen their oversight function of the National Legislature.
B. CROSS BORDER PEACE & SECURITY
An efficient cross border management program is critical to ensuring the safety and security of citizens and at the same time promoting stability and facilitating free movement of people, regional stability, trade and development. Accordingly, CENSSAD’s Border Peace and Security Program focusses on transnational crime, drugs and human trafficking, organized crime, violence and regional peace and security. In 2016, CENSSAD undertook a cross border training workshop on peace and security in Bo-Waterside at the Liberia-Sierra Leone border. The workshop brought together key actors from both countries, including representatives of the security sector, women group, local authorities, youth groups, religious and traditional leaders.
C. PROMOTING PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN COMMERCIAL MOTORCYCLISTS & SECURITY PERSONNEL
In March 2016, CENSSAD convened a special dialogue forum for commercial motorcyclists in Montserrado County. The forum came against the backdrop of prevailing tension between commercial motorcyclists and law enforcement officers, tensions which have often degenerated into mob violence, resulting in the massive loss of lives and properties. Owing largely to the recommendations adopted at that forum, CENSSAD has worked with a number of partners to organize training workshops and dialogues for commercial motorcyclists and security personnel across the country. In 2017, during the Presidential Elections in Liberia, CENSSAD also worked with UNMIL to organize programs designed to mobilize commercial motorcyclists across the country to promote free and fair elections.
D. LOCAL COMMUNTIES-SECURITY DIALOGUES
When tension erupts in any society, the roots of the turmoil often must be found and healed at the community level. In such localities, local officials, security personnel and community residents are likely to mistrust each other. The breakdown in relations opens space for threat to local peace and security. Accordingly, CENSSAD has been working in major communities across Liberia to promote local partnership between security institutions and local communities. These dialogues lead the community toward practical, concrete solutions to the security problem that trouble the daily lives of community members. The dialogue process achieves not only those immediate solutions, it builds a lasting foundation for trust and future cooperation among citizens, security personnel and other state institutions.
E. INITIATIVE ON SEXUAL & GENDER BASED VIOLENCE (SGBV)
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is significant in Liberia and pervades every class, ethnicity, religion, geographical location and age group and remains among the most serious threats to the safety of vulnerable groups in Liberia. Despite the existence of a strong legal framework for responding to the threat and incidence of gender based violence, the country is characterized by high levels of violence against women. Improving the capacities of and forging linkages between institutional stakeholders, civil society actors and local communities will enable the rule of law system to become more equitable and accountable to the rights of women and children. At the community level, CENNSAD is working with key stakeholders to improve and provide legal aid and social services for survivors of SGBV and address impunity for sexual and gender-based violence by ensuring that cases are prosecuted. The overall objective of the program is to make a contribution towards improving access to justice for victims of SGBV and to further empower women and key community actors in building resilient communities while improving mechanisms for inclusive dialogue platforms responsive to SGBV, peace building, human rights and COVID 19.