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Services and Living Conditions

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Liberians’ priorities may be impacted by their access to services and their living conditions. To understand adult Liberians’ perceptions of their situations, they were asked to rank a series of issues from very good to very bad, thereby indicating the participant’s view of his or her conditions and access to basic services.

Table 7: Services and Living Conditions

Table 7 - Services and Living Conditions

Employment and road conditions emerged as the most widespread issues of concern. The population most frequently said that their opportunities to find work (79%) and the road conditions (82%) were bad or very bad. Residents of the southeastern counties as well as of Lofa county almost unanimously ranked road conditions bad or very bad

Figure 8: Perception of Services (% bad-very bad)

 Perception of Services (% bad-very bad)

In respect to services, about two-thirds of the population ranked their access to information on government programs (67%), access to health care (64%), and access to schools (62%) as being bad or very bad. However, less than half ranked negatively their access to land (47%), access to water (47%), access to food (43%), and housing (having shelter) (39%). Access to land was perceived as bad or very bad by over half the population in Monrovia, Rural Montserrado, Margibi, and Maryland. Land issues are discussed in detail in the subsequent chapters.

The survey also found that many people do not believe they are receiving outside help to improve their standard of living. Asked who, in their opinion, helped improve living conditions in their community, almost half said nobody (42%), and a third said people in the community themselves (33%). Less than one in five surveyed adult Liberians mentioned NGOs (18%), local leaders (17%) and the central government (16%). NGOs and local and central governments got better reports than the average in two counties: Lofa and Nimba. This reflects the government and aid community’s current geographic priorities for providing peacebuilding and reconstruction assistance. Inversely, the counties in which people felt the most isolated from services and assistance programs, in that they reported nobody was working to improve lives, were Rivercess (62%), Grand Cape Mount (57%), Sinoe (54%), and Maryland (54%). Among other sources of support, the rubber and private companies were frequently mentioned in Grand Cape Mount (13%).

In addition to the above services, respondents were asked to rank the central government’s performance in reducing poverty, creating jobs, building peace, reducing crimes, and bringing unity.

Respondents’ rankings on government’s achievements in poverty reduction and job creation were mixed: about half of them ranked the government’s performance in these areas as being bad or very bad (respectively 49% and 50%). In the areas of peacebuilding and security, however, less than one in five respondents ranked the performance poorly, including reducing crimes (20%), bringing unity (7%), and maintaining peace (5%). These results suggest that some progress toward peace and security has been made, but more progress is needed on social and economic reconstruction.