Department of Rural Development
Previously a Ministry on its own until 2007 when it was merged with the Ministry of Public of Works due to similar functions and complementary reasons, the Department of Rural of Development is tasked with the responsibility of developing and implementing appropriate strategies and programmes that aims to improve the living conditions of rural dwellers. Under the aegis of this department, issues relating to agrarian reforms including feeder road construction and rehabilitation as well as rural housing and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes are adequately addressed.
This department like its Administration and Technical Services counterparts is headed by a Deputy Minister who guides and directs strategy formulation, planning processes and supervises implementation.
Thus, the department objectives can be conceived through the following lenses:
- Improvement of service delivery to ensure quality of life in rural areas
- Implementation of a robust development programme to enhance rural transport through improved feeder and farm to market road network
- Support for non-farm economic activities
- Road maintenance skills development of local inhabitants
- Community Sensitization and Awareness activities
- Local technology Research and development on feeder roads maintenance
Structurally, the Department of Rural Development is divided into two key bureaus, namely: Community Services and Rural Development.
A) Bureau of Community Services:Is responsible for engendering integrated rural development processes including community awareness and sensitization activities around various kinds of projects including feeder roads construction, reconstruction and maintenance as well as water, sanitation and hygiene activities. The units under this bureau are:
Division of Community Services- Responsible for planning and executing appropriate public awareness and community sensitization activities with the objective of positively fostering citizens’ understanding, participation and ownership of MPW’s projects nationwide.
Division of Rural Water-As its name depicts, this division is charged with the responsibility of managing the Ministry’s rural water, sanitation and hygiene programme as well as working with WASH related non-governmental organizations partnering with the Ministry in its drive to adequately serve rural communities with clean and safe drinking water, better toilet facilities and proper hygiene education using various pedagogic methodologies and approaches.
Bureau of Rural Development:Is specifically responsible for the construction and maintenance of feeder and farm-to-market roads as well as the introduction of research activities aimed at the development of indigenous materials and methods of construction, which can become a vital tool for the application of appropriate technology to rural road construction and maintenance during this period and onwards. Summarily, the Bureau of Rural Development also known as the Bureau of Rural Roads is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the rural roads projects.
It has been construed that the term “rural roads” applies to roads located in the remote rural parts of the country where inhabitants are predominantly engaged in farming activities; hence, the responsibility of this bureau is limited to functions appertaining to the management of feeder and farm to market roads. Hence,the Rural Development bureau is similarly divided into the following units:
Division of Feeder Roads-Is tasked with ensuring that the country’s rural road network especially feeder and farm to market roads are well constructed and properly rehabilitated to increase year round access as well as promote agro-economic activities by enabling rural people; majority of whom are farmers to bring their produce to nearby markets for commercial purposes.
Division of Rural Housing-This division spearheads the Ministry’s desire to improve rural habitats as a means of improving the living conditions of agrarian communities and settings. It works with such national institutions as the National Housing Authority (NHA), National Housing and Saving Bank (NHSB) and other similar agencies to improve public infrastructures for the benefit of the country’s rural population. It is equally important to mention that the division also works with international organizations intervening in habitat activities such the UNHCR’s construction initiatives on behalf of refugees and at times host communities particularly as it relates to the durable solution seeking process for refugees wanting to become Liberians.
Each of these bureaus is headed by an Assistant Minister who is mandated to assist and support the Deputy Minister in strategically managing the Department of Rural Development.