Security, Environment and Opportunities in West Point – A Community-led Urban Early-Warning and Empowerment Project

Publication language
Date published
01 Jul 2012
Early Warning Early Response (EWER) Working Group
Programme/project reviews
Capacity development, Community-led, Disaster preparedness, resilience and risk reduction, Early warning, Disasters, Epidemics & pandemics, Urban

In the view of many Liberians, West Point does not have a good reputation in Liberia. Anecdotally, the members of the research team heard Monrovians refer to West Point as a criminal safe haven and a home to ‘bad people’. This contrasted greatly with the experiences of the research team when they visited the area, and the stigmatization did not seem to respond to any empirical knowledge. The findings of the report essentially paint the picture of a community suffering with the burdens of extreme poverty, overcrowding, lack of economic opportunity and the challenges that go with it. However, this is not the full picture. According to the data, the situation in West Point is improving, people are able to find work, and there is a high influx of people into the community due to its proximity to downtown Monrovia and the opportunity to live in the area regardless of your economic income. Whilst significant crime levels in the area must be acknowledged, these mostly appear to be economically motivated thefts and are understood in this context i.e. someone stealing goods due to lack of other income opportunities. Furthermore, the major concerns in the area relate to a lack of social services such as lack of employment opportunities for youth, healthcare, family planning and education rather than crime and violence. Whilst these are clearly pre-cursors for security problems and wider conflict issues, as an early warning document this report presents them as warning signs rather than existent conflicts.