The Legislative Engagement Guide (LEG) is strived to promote transparency in public policy formulation and ensure engagement of civil society organizations and citizens in the legislative process in the country.
The development of this Guide, according to NAYMOTE Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo, is inspired by NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development decade-long advocacy to promote democratic accountability and transparency in Liberia’s governance processes as well as increasing legislators’ responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of the people who elected them.
“The guide is keen on practical experiences, best practices and strategies that have proven to be successful and effective during legislative advocacies and civic engagements,” Mr. Jarwolo said.
He explained that the guide is a practical tool that can be used to engage the Liberian Legislature as the fulcrum of Liberia’s democracy because of its constitutional responsibilities to enact laws, represent citizens’ interests and oversee executive policy implementation and performance.
He further explained hat it is also intended to improve citizens’ skills to engage in constructive legislative advocacy and monitoring from an informed perspective, being knowledgeable of its structures and functions as well as strategies to get the Legislature working in the interest of the people.
“This Legislative Engagement Guide provides an in-depth analysis of legislative advocacy highlighting the steps and tools to be used when advocating for the passage of a bill or legislation or to influence a legislative action,” Mr. Jarwolo asserted.
Releasing the Guide Handbook Monday at the NAYMOTE, Head Offices in Paynesville on Monrovia – Robertsfield Highway, he narrated that the Guide also comes in handy when engaging lawmakers to deliver on their campaign promises after being elected which they rarely do, especially in African nations of which Liberia is no exception.
To fast track the process, Mr. Jarwolo disclosed that the institution is expected to use the guide in creating awareness about the workings of the Legislature across the 15 counties in Liberia, with the printing of the first 1000 copies of the guide, which has been produced in collaboration with the Legislative Information Service and will be shared among community based and civil society organizations to support grassroot advocacy and community organizing, among others.
He further stressed that, “It is the entity ardent hope that development partners as well as ordinary Liberian citizens, especially the youth, women and other marginalized groups will use the information contained herein and advocate for a people-centered governance process in Liberia by fostering legislative openness, transparency, accessibility, accountability, and responsiveness.”
There are several chapters and sub-chapters enclosed in the Legislative Engagement Guide that include: Know your Legislature, Lawmaking, Representation and Oversight. Others are: How does a Bill become a Law?
How many votes are needed to pass a Bill into law? How does Legislative Committee work or function? What does Legislative Break mean? Writing effective Letters, Effective telephone calls, The Legislative Budget Office (LBO).
Other components of the Guide are: What is a Special Session? How Does the Legislature Track Its Voting Records? What are the House of Representatives’ Standing Rules? and How does a Bill become a Law?
The Legislative Engagement Guide also displays the elected officials (the Lawmakers), their county or district, committees they are serving on, phone numbers as well as email addresses.