ICI Collaborates on Community-based Rehabilitation Training in Liberia

Wed Jul 11 2018
Left to right: Samuel Fahnbulleh (project's in-country coordinator, Liberian Archbishop Lewis Zeigler, and Macdonald Metzger.

ICI travels to Liberia later this fall to collaborate with African partners on a project in Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) for people with disabilities, their family members, and community volunteers. ICI's Liberian-born Macdonald Metzger (pictured at right), Zambian home-based education expert Mikala Mukongolwa, the Catholic Diocese of Monrovia and Gbarnga in Liberia, and Liberian Archbishop Lewis Zeigler (center) will combine resources to present two-day trainings in November-December that teach individuals with disabilities, family members, and community volunteers about CBR methods and the rights of people with disabilities in Liberia. 

The World Health Organization and UNESCO recognize CBR as a model for community rehabilitation and provision of therapeutic supports to people with disabilities in remote and rural indigenous communities. "Supports in Liberia are centralized, obligating family caregivers to travel long distances—often on foot—to rural health centers," says Metzger. "But CBR builds local volunteer networks to support people with disabilities in their own communities. This means services and supports that improve their overall functioning and quality of life in things like mobility, special education, and employment. CBR promotes equal opportunity and the social inclusion of people with disabilities." 

In many African countries, the Catholic Church is an important provider of social services, and in Liberia, Metzger has support from the top. Archbishop Zeigler leads the Catholic Church in Liberia, which is providing a hall for the trainings along with logistical support, such as transportation and lodging at Catholic hostels. Samuel Fahnbulleh (pictured at left) is the project's in-country coordinator.

This project, "Community-based Rehabilitation Approaches for Family Caregivers and People Who Support Adults and Children with Disabilities," builds on connections and experiences developed by ICI staff through earlier work in Zambia doing CBR training with people with disabilities, family members, community leaders, and people from faith-based organizations. The goal is to seek additional funding and be able to replicate the work ICI has done in Zambia using the CBR or home-based education model in Liberia. This latest project is funded by a $4,200 Global Signature Grant from the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development.