Thursday, 4 July 2019

On Bended Knees: OSH practice in the absence of National law/Enforcement

Diana-facilitating a
safe learning space.
One will expect the practice of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) to resonate with a workforce free form harm, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), workers must enjoy the rights to a decent workplace and this must be ensured by the employer prior to the commencement of work (ILO Conventions nos. 161 & 187). This is not just a common practice, but a concept deeply enshrined in the regulations of many nations. The United States of America’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) mandates the creation of a safe workplace by every employer through adequate Risk Management procedure; United Kingdom requires the implementation of measures which encompasses the conduct of adequate Risk assessment and the fullest implementation of mitigative measures to reduce identified risk to levels As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) prior to start of any work. These laws which of course began in majestic nations, radiated across and took hold of other countries which enacted laws to regulate work practices. OSH best practices spread across continents parallel to ones of previous colonial powers and many nations in Africa took the wave and lately began inculcating these policies into the labor structure and national frameworks such as their constitutions. As practical and straight forward as Health and Safety Regulations might seem, the rights of workers still lie at the foot-mercy of employers in many nations around the globe, Africa being a continent of focus. African nations struggling to bend the arms of corruption and mend her weakening economies quickly accept millions of dollars grants and so-called investments to boost economies and enhance infrastructural development, although some being politically motivated (An example is Government’s quest for reelection by the people compel her to take a pretensions developmental posture, leading to a flaccid display of pseudo-developmental initiative at detriment of the people). Most of these are dependent on donor funds. Some donor countries then dictate the rules and implementors are usually companies from these countries, making them infallible. Quite frequently, there are indications that some investments are not healthy, but governments make no effort to demand straighter deals for fear that economic instability could limit growth and have unpredictable consequences. In Liberia and other African nations, the situation is more pathetic, the lack of OSH laws, massive poverty and the lack of professionals continues to hold back the progress of OSH. Companies practicing OSH (e.g. in Liberia) usually conduct self-audit based on their so called best international practice which cannot be verified by any agency in the country. In fact, Liberia keeps no record of OSH violation nor are there OSH investigations carried out following incidents.

Liberia has for a long time had a poor economy and was rated one of the world’s poorest countries by the World bank (DATA); as the countries reeves slowly from its slumber, where nationalist and technocrats tried to steer the nation to the vibrant future the next generations belongs, it is prudent to develop and fully implement an OSH policy. Based on opinion, one would argue that two factors hold back the enactment of such law: the lack of professional and the unwillingness as it is not priority. To further discuss the latter, let’s digress a little and give an example, corruption cases lingered in some instances not because there is no evidence, but some decision makers feel that it is at a lower rung on the priority ladder and as such, more urgent issues must be firstly taken care of. Others would have varying arguments, but the overall fact remains that such hierarchical arrangement when it comes to policy implementation in Liberia sprawls beyond the urgency in the state’s moral obligation to preferential acceptance of logic. The practice of OSH remains cardinal and an integral part of human rights, the failure of nations investing in Liberia, Africa and the world at large to ensure that OSH is mandatory and is regulated remains inexcusable and baffling to many. “ONE” is too much and we as a people must ensure that everyone is accounted for at the end of each shift. There have been numerous internationally funded projects in Liberia and other nations which we all applaud, yet much needs to be done to ensure that those working on these projects return home at the end of each day; that children are with their parents (this is a fundamental right which you take away if you do not ensure those parents return home safety).

All is not lost, although Liberia did not out-rightly enact an OSH law, like the decent work law, the constitution laid the basis for one but until OSH law is enacted and fully implemented, we stay on bended knees, our fates in the hands of our employers

Donate to us HERE.

Stay safe…
Habib K.N Sheriff

Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Liberian wife: Widowed by a workplace Fatality.

Habib Sheriff, 2016 UK
Perch on the nominal edges of life’s charming branches, she is scold by a world which overburdens then neglects her, preying her to violations and the absurdities from a white hand which for years has suppressed its melanin by sitting in the shades of a black hand.  She lurks in a tapestry which wasn’t a choice she had to make but a fate she had to meet, accept or reject, she must live with it; a momentous failure of the capitalist which will keep her on the fringes of civility for eternity. Although this will be refuted by many who reaps the yolk of such hegemony, it remains that the nation and maybe many nations will for years feel the ripples of a man’s greed to amass wealth at the detriment of the people. She is a mother, she is a sister, she is a child, she is an aunt yet she has failed to see the pride in the great titles which should embodied and symbolized her, the natural place which holds her peers yet she sees a taboo. For years, she stood beside him, keeping afloat her hopes for a brighter day as they struggled, traversing groveling paths to survive with a family in a nation which commentators called wealthy yet a vicious filed of torment for the many who hardly afford a decent bed. Every night she wished for a better life, a day when she will wear a necklace and for once own a bed.On that mournful day, wearing a big smile, her husband will wave goodbye to his 3 years old daughter who is now his pet and he, her guardian angel; his two boys ages 10 and 15, all of whom has neither tasted chocolate, drank milk, seen a movie nor worn a perfectly fitting shirt, as he charged forward with joy obviously expressed and hugged his wife. She feels the warmth against her chest and her cheeks lights up, feeling innermost satisfaction that for once her dreams were coming through.  Her man has seen an opportunity as a casual laborer on a construction project and has placed his fate in the hands of his employer.Hopeful and courageous, he is determined to stay on the big project and sees his first day as an audition to secure a place on future projects, alluding to the rumors that millions of dollars have been awarded in grant projects, he must impress his boss. Without site safety induction and little technical knowledge, he will take the mortar weighting 25Kgs up the haphazardly- concocted and uncertified scaffold up to a total of 10meters without any harness nor a guardrail. He has no prior training, he has no supervision, he has only one thing for sure, the quest to change his people’s life- to give her (his wife) what he has promised, a better life. He is determined, so without a safe work system or work procedure, he has put himself at the foot mercy of his employers. Briskly he walked to a forming window to pass the mortar when suddenly a metal bar tumbles, in his earnest to impress someone, he attempted to catch a bar half his weight and falling at least four feet away from him, he must reach away from the platform to get the bar. Several meters in mid-air, this father, uncle, brother and son descended with a scream and quickly formed a lump encircled by a pool of his own blood. He is gasping for breath as blood ooze from his mouth nose and ears, tears filled his eyes as he whispers faintly “my wife oh… my children oh…” seconds later, his colleagues will watch the dreadful hands of death take him away. No attempt was made to rescue him, no one has planned for this despite several of these on the projects.
Liberian Widowed, today
She sits home as the day went bye, wishing to count the day’s earning as they have planned, to save out and purchase a plot of land, then built a house and annexed a shop to start a small business, educate their kids and grow out of poverty. The waiting gets longer and her anxiety grows, as the day darkens, she is emotional, she can’t wait to hear the great stories of how the day went, how his workmates are and what are his changes for the future. Finally, a man walked in and asked his pet-daughter, “can I see Mama?”, the little kid not seeing him clearly in the dark has called him daddy, accusing him of leaving her for the entire day. Her mom will come out quickly and say to her “go to the shower, daddy will be home soon” while the stranger gazing at his feet will quickly take rest upon a bench and keep quiet for a while. Then he asked her, “are you Ma. Lucy (Name changed for confidentiality)?”, his voice trembling, she is now panicking and can’t wait to get the rest of his words out. As he raised his head, tears roll down his check, he met her husband just once, he met the family just once but the memories will have fill his world forever. As the lady screams, the community sharing the solidarity of poverty quickly rally to her cry, echoing the wails across the distance waste land. She laments the future suffering of her children, she is now a widow, left in a world to fend for kids and herself without formal education or technical skills. Agony unleashed on a family and destroyed the hopes of children for a simple reason, the lack of Health and Safety Best Practices in the workplace. The story is not isolated, it is not far fetch in most societies where occupation injuries are credited to providence and fate but, mulling the abandonment of the rules of decent work to maximize profits or for unexplained reasons, it is evident that they have planned for these occupational incidents. The practice of OSH must be an integral part of businesses, if not for any reason but “MORALS”. Financial and Legal reasons will follow once those in charge have moral instincts for the subjects, as good OSH practice will unequivocally attract increase profits and reduce fines and penalties. Families are hurt by failures to conduct workplace risk assessment or invest in training for staff.  Therefore, businesses must invest in enforcing workplace OSH practices such as Workplace Risk Assessment and must also ensure staff have the knowledge skills and ability and additionally proper supervision before carrying on a task. It is such a pride if each worker can return home safely after each workday.
Everyone have a role to play in making this a reality, by reporting bad work practices, we can ensure that a father returns home each day and put a smile on the faces of his kids, a dream come through for his mother.

Habib Sheriff

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Make Impact

In the 20th century, advances in knowledge about how best to protect the public’s health helped double life expectancy. In today’s interconnected world, our progress is under attack by four major threats that cause disease and death around Africa. We can reverse these threats by discovering new solutions to complex problems and acting upon our knowledge—changing policies, practices and personal behavior—to create a healthier world for all of us as African.With that you can work with us as a donor by donating to us HERE a useful amount to help educate communities and save lives of Africans-Liberians today.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Christmas Santa Give-Way

HO HO HO !!!
We at LERN Liberia are excited that you have decided to take the challenge in answering one of our question for a Santa Clues Hat. Our Santa here needed to go across Liberia this year, so he has provided a list of long free questions to answer for you winning a free Santa Clues Hat from his Santa stocking (bag) this year. As you have noticed, it's a GIVE-ALWAY plat, wherein we at LEARN Liberia want to celebrate the Christmas with you. Below are terms & conditions attach:

1.Each person is to answer one question.
2. Each person is to answer one question with one answer.
3.Your answer should be direct.
4. Miss spell words or words won't be accepted.
5.If you have won before, you're not allow to play.
6.Only for Liberians living or residing in Liberia.

Please do click here to view the simple of the Christmas Santa Hat on Instagram  


1. LEARN Liberia founded by two young personality and they're Liberian. Please give the full name of both of them ?

2. What's the full of InsightSTEM

3. What has mouth but don't talk and has bed but don't sleep ?

4. What's the smallest born in the human body ?

5. Who is Vivien Thomas & what is he noted for in the world of medicine ?

6. Who is the president of the University of Liberia presently ?


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Aiming Global Goals

Washing Hands During the Ebola Crisis

On 30th of March 2014, Liberia confirmed its first two cases of Ebola virus disease in the country. By the 23rd of April thirty-four cases and six deaths from Ebola in Liberia were recorded.  By 17th of June sixteen people had succumbed to the disease in the country. The initial cases were thought to be malaria, an extremely common disease in Liberia, and thus leading to doctors being infected with the virus. During the outbreak of this virus, Liberians were dedicated to washing their hands usually to prevent the disease, and now we at LEARN Liberia have created a forum to educate young people on the importance of hand washing on Global Hand Washing Day with the theme: "OUR HANDS, OUR FUTURE". This event was a one off event which was held in Monrovia at the United State Embassy. As you may know every year October 15th is Global Hand Washing Day, a day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases. We celebrated this day with powerful presenters
who were able to educate young people on issues relating to hand washing and hygiene. This is the first event of its kind to be held at the United States Embassy.

Dr. Mohammed K.T Wolli
Our first presenter at our forum was Dr. Mahammed K.T Wollie, BSc degree in Medicine and Surgery from the International University of African in Khartourm, Sudan. Surgical attachment at the Soba Teaching Hospital in Khartourm, Sudan. His presentation was basic on “HYGIENE” providing young people a gift of education with a 15mins insightful talk on how we can help save ourselves from simple diseases that can be prevented. He mentioned three common diseases that affect Liberians on a regular basis when they’re not washing their hands properly: Diarrhea, Eye Infection, and Respiratory Infections. “Diarrhea” for which washing hands lowers the risk of having infections, a benefit particularly for children… It is the leading disease that children under five die from throughout the world. He also mentioned the spread of bacterial infections, such as trachoma, which can also be reduced through regular hand washing. Washing hands also lowers the likelihood of contracting conjunctivitis which we called eyepolio in Liberia. He also stated that pathogens that cause respiratory complications are commonly found on surfaces and hands.

Dr. Richard J. Doe
Our next guest at the forum was Dr. Richard J. Doe, he earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree in Biology from the Mother Patern Collage of Health Sciences in 2011 and he is currently a candidate for a degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) come December (2017) from the A.M. Dogliotti Collage of Medicine. He is also currently pursuing a Master of Public Health Degree (MPH) from the Cuttington University Graduate School. He has also served as a guest speaker, motivational speaker and a Health Lecturer at various programs organized by the Progressive Youth Ministry Inc. 
Dr. Doe gave a 15mins presentation on the methods of hand washing: he educated young people at the forum by demonstrating the method of how participants could wash their hands properly using soap and water or sanitizer. He encouraged participants to use sanitizer as a fast means of keeping your hands clean usually when there is not much dirt and wash your hands with soap and water with dirty hands. His idea at the forum was very simple “wash or sanitize your hands to lower the RISK of the spread or contraction of Common Cold, Flu, Cholera, Diarrhea, Meningitis, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and Dysentery.” An ideology that was well noted.

Chalaty A. Young
Our third guest was great “Chalaty A. Young” President of the Biological Sciences Students Association (BIOSSA) of the University of Liberia, and Founder of the National Scholastic Club of Liberia (NASCOL) and Current President President of Liberia Association of Volunteers (LAV). This topic was on the universal solvent (Water H2O), a polar compound he described. A compound he described as the most studied chemical compound and that covers over 71% of the Earth’s surface. To that, he also mentioned at the forum that on Earth, 96.5% of the planet’s surface water is found in the seas and oceans, 1.7% in groundwater, 1.7% in glaciers and the ice caps of the Antarctica and Greenland, a fraction in other large water bodies, 0.001% in the air as vapor.  It was clear not many high school students at the forum knew that, they were all able to get the insight behind water in our universe. The most interesting thing at the event was only 2.5% of the water is freshwater, of which we have 98.8% is in ice (excepting ice in clouds) and groundwater. 

If the total quantity of water on Earth is equivalent to just one gallon, the quantity that would be safe for human consumption will be just a spoon full!”

Mr. Jonathan G. Enders
Our last speaker for the day was Mr. Jonathan G. Enders of the Nation Public Health Institute of Liberia. An institute established after the Ebola crisis to control and manage outbreak of diseases in Liberia. Mr. Enders was excited to talk to students and young people at the global hand washing day forum at the United States Embassy in Monrovia about the work the Nation Public Health Institute of Liberia and how they are helping to control and manage Health issues. He also mentioned that LEARN Liberia should work hard in creating health events that will provide sanitizer to communities and people in the rural area. His words were inspiring to hear!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Breeding Community Health

I sat up wearing a big smile and thinking of writing a full proposal on LEARN Liberia; with that, I quickly rush on my computer with much excitement as the thought of development rattled through my head. I envisioned building a hub of volunteers, youth and professionals to educate communities on healthcare issues and how they can rekindle community and personal health from a different prospective and dimension void of orthodox ideas. I quickly pen down issues that were in my mind on a pad to include in the proposal… as I wrote, I could fell a blush of growing excitement that flow within me. After hours of typing ideas and calculating numbers, I came to a point where knowledge needed to be reviewed not just unilaterally, but from others, so I simply asked Habib Sheriff “The Addictive” two questions with one coming from community health, while the next was fully and directly proportional to his expectation-safety. 

“Who is charged with leading the collaboration process: the local clinic or the community health educator?”
“What applies to the safety of the people in preventive health?”

With these questions asked to a specialist, his advice was on point with my proposal and additional information was place noting that I’m working on my proposal. According to him, the two must have a prosperous marry; as any divorce will lead to a progression of delinquent juvenile (their kids). He explain himself as saying, health care workers who are basically into curative medicine serves as a buffer to the Community Health Educators who should be in the front-line of preventive health. However, it is very prudent to have clinicians with knowledge in health education and preventive medicine. This is because of the resonance of our society when it comes to health issues, the multitude of people never visit a clinic except where they are challenged with ailment. At this point, it is an opportunity to educate them on preventive health and if the clinician is not educated about this, it will be a lost opportunity. However, the educators and local clinics are working hard on health issues and with respect to that, we need to prioritize educating people in the communities on preventive health and how they should implement the slogan that says “Prevention Is Better Than Cure” in their dally activities.
His second answer was simple: any measure individually applied to alienate the contraction and spread of diseases. Such measure varies from simple personal hygiene to more complex measures aimed at coordinating personal health amongst people within a population, all these however with the ultimate goal of being free from harm, attaining and maintaining good physical and psychological health, such applies to and reflect the safety of people in preventive health.
With all of these, I get the feeling that our world is getting to a point wherein we are ready to save ourselves from the global trenches of bad health sector and disease out-break in Africa and the world at large. Let me say that our world needs us- human, we have the power to create a universe of self-control and not self-disorder which in our imaging experience should be a step forward to occurrence.

Johnnason L. Dvaid, Jr.
Founder & CEO
LEARN Liberia  

Friday, 19 May 2017

Women In The World Of Work.

Many years have passed since we first mounted the stage and elaborately proclaimed that women could ascend the pedestal, assume their natural places and harness great dreams. To the contrary, the roaring cacophony of gender discrimination within various segments of our society continues to soil our words and blanche our proclaimed ideas. Despite the passing of time, we are yet to make good of our promises as a decent people; be it at home or at work, discrimination continues to flourish in such a so-called modern era with some societies clinching to orthodox perception of gender balance in the workforce. The defensive posture purported is that females are not naturally oriented for certain task. What is it I hear them say? “…her physical ability is a limiting factor in accommodating her to the job…”. this I strongly believe is based on a misunderstanding of basic realities, and I hope my belief is right, or else it would be ridiculous to know that discrimination is willful in this age of our human existence. I have had the opportunity to study human and work sciences in many great institutions to include Biology at Liberia’s highest institution of learning- the University of Liberia and Occupational Safety and Health at the International Training Center of the ILO (ITCILO) and the Turin School of Development. During these years of studies, I have found baseless the argument that a female’s physical ability limits her performance of certain job. No sooner have the debate started, those engaged in it quickly abandoned the ideas once the clarity had been presented and their once cherished misconception plunged. My basic argument to them is that years ago- era of the great Paul Bunyan (American folklore) and others, men cut trees using axe and logging could not be dreamed of as a flourishing activity as it is today.  Not all men could do what Paul did. We were all unfit for the works we do today. But my studies in the mentioned sciences have brought me to understand that work and systems of work must be adapted to suit the person doing the work and not the other way around- i.e adjusting a person to the work and work systems. In order to achieve this, we mechanized activities and improved work patterns to ensure that our task were well suited for us. Even today, we continue to improve these machines and our work processes. This in all fairness could be done to enhance the fullest participation of all genders at no extra cost and without a hassle. And this again proves wrong the idea that certain tasks are not suited for women. As we sought continuous improvement and adaptation of our work through mechanization, it is only logical to adjust tasks to as well suit woman thus creating the much needed gender balance.

The struggle for gender balance was not started during our time, people have struggled long before us and therefore as we strive to promulgate processes our predecessors started, gender equality is as important as continuing the creation of the atomized world they so much desired and started but, we project a diametrically opposite and contradictory idea when we are gender bias because they (our predecessors) also toiled for gender equality.

The importance of this day is not opaque and therefore cannot be overstated. We can all agree that women were important actors in carving the society we boast of and even today, remain important in steering the future. Despite orthodox ides of gender equality within some areas, women has for centuries transcended heights and achieve great success.This was not unique to one continent nor gender, from the days of Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, up to our time of Malala yousafzai and Leymah Gbowee, most of whom were from different countries and continents, women had and continue to play crucial roles in the world we occupy today. Despite years of imbalance and in extreme cases oppression and alienation, they have strived for the freedom and progress of humanity.

March 8 each year is marked by more than 100 countries around the globe as International Women’s Day. Some believe that this day began in the United States of America whilst others believe in varying origin. Despite history being occluded with disparities in the origin of this day, I see it as a unique opportunity for all of us to listen, not just listen but learn, not just learn but dream, not just dream but plan, not just plan but implement plans and realize our dreams. The commitment to realize one’s dreams starts with the setting of realistic objectives and walking through these objectives each day. Dream is like an empty basket and plans are like fruits to fill this basket, grasping onto smaller end goals and putting them in your basket. You wouldn’t realize how much you have achieved until they start to fall out of the basket and someone watching calls out to you saying “hey, you dropped something” then you stop, look at your success and go to bed feeling achieved. Our predecessors have done this, they enacted national and international instruments to defend the right of every gender walking this earth, and they were wise to realize that there is one soul which animates all men. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights is a classic example of their achievement. Unfortunately, our generation have miserably failed to implement these instruments to the fullest. We have limited time now and our pace is slow, we need to awaken to the call in all spheres of our society. We need to accommodate women and give them the much needed chance.

Today, I wish we reflect and pay respect to women of yesterday, whom despite trying times stood against the wind to rewrite history. For the courage that toiled the course of freedom, sovereignty is the price they sought, though liberation was not a crown they wore, their progeny owe to them commendation and we are as ignorant as the oppressor if we attenuate this.

Thank for the audience, I hope you fill your basket with fruits of gender equality, have a good day.

Habib Sheriff