Search and the UN Mission map out societal trends in Liberia

Behind every successful peacebuilding initiative, there’s a rigorous process of research. In Liberia, we are partnering with the local United Nations Mission (UNMIL) on a nation-wide assessment of the state of civil society. It comes at a critical time in the history of the country, months before the October 2017 elections.

To collect data, we are using the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index, also known as SCORE. It is a research and surveying tool to analyze societal trends and perceptions in the aftermath of violent conflict. It was developed in Cyprus and used in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nepal, and Ukraine. Our initiative with UNMIL is the first use of the SCORE Index in West Africa.

To undertake this vast survey, our team has trained twenty-two enumerators coming from different areas of Liberia. Some of them are from rural counties and had the opportunity to interview people with a similar background. The enumerators, divided in two groups, have collected data from close to 2300 people in all 15 Liberian regions.

The SCORE survey covered a wide range of topics, from how the government is perceived by communities, to the work of the police and international actors, the evolution of local identities, Liberia’s political future, and more. The interviewees shared how they feel about service delivery by the government, how they engage with the news, and the ongoing impact of the civil war. While the survey is completely anonymous, we are breaking down data by region and age groups, to better understand how trends change across the country and demographic groups.

With UNMIL, we expect to be able to share results early this year. We are confident that this project will help Liberians and international organizations build better development programs and ensure that the peace the country has enjoyed for 15 years continues far into the future.