Overview: After the civil war in Liberia ended in 2003, the government started to bring back concessions to help the economy recover. Since this time, many foreign and national investors have taken advantage of the many resources the country has to offer. In 2011, Liberia joined the Open Government Partnership committing to a dialogue on land rights and mapping land concessions. Since this time, it has finished two action plans. The third one will begin after President Sirleaf or the incoming president signs it. Through ongoing collaborative efforts by civil society and the government, more and more communities are learning about their land and finding a voice in discussions and debates about how to best move forward.

Goal:  In 2013, The Land Rights Act was introduced. If passed, it would legally recognize communities’ rights to their land. It also establishes safeguards to reduce discrimination against women and other vulnerable groups – who are often disproportionately affected by social and cultural barriers to using and owning land. 

Our objective was to show how an open government helps provide communities with information they need in order to have a conversation about land rights.    

Challenges: The week we filmed ended up coinciding with the passing of Land Rights Act. Although the decision was postponed, many of the people who we would have liked to be featured in our film were busy working on getting the bill passed. This made it hard to secure interviews and additional b-roll. After reaching out to different organizations, we were put in touch with a SDI employee who had worked with the Jogbahn community. After contacting him, we found out that he would be visiting the area the next day. The timing worked to our advantage since one team member had to leave early for another assignment. We traveled that evening to stay overnight in Buchanan, an hour and a half away, and woke up the next morning before dawn to film members of the community. We finished in the afternoon, providing just enough time to get to the airport so the team member could travel to the next assignment.

Client: Open Government Partnership
Subject: Land Rights
Location: Liberia