LIBERIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (LEDI) AT A GLANCE
The Liberia Economic Development Initiative (LEDI) is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt non-profit with an international focus, founded in October 2007 to reduce poverty and increase the economic capacity of the often marginalized and disadvantaged people of the world with specific focus on Liberia, West Africa. LEDI’s primary objectives are to reduce poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, diseases, and underdevelopment in Liberia through a comprehensive approach by providing:
1. Microfinance: Microloans, business development, and training
2. Education: Scholarships, school supplies, teacher stipends
3. Healthcare: Medical supplies, patient and healthcare workers subsidies
4. Infrastructure: Build modern libraries, schools, clinics, wells, latrines, roads
5. Youth Development: Leadership development and sports training camps
6. Sisterly Institutions: Develop sisterly relationships among institutions
Education and literacy are the bedrocks of economic development. Therefore, LEDI's motto is to "reduce poverty and change lives" one child at a time, one book at a time, one library at a time. Whether empowering youth, providing small business loans, promoting health and safety, building infrastructure, or alleviating the sufferings of rural and urban poor and low-income households, LEDI’s central focus remains to reduce poverty, thereby positively changing the lives of members of the nearly two-third Liberian population living in abject poverty.
With no public library in Liberia, LEDI is raising funds to build modern public libraries and technology center in the country to enrich local communities, starting with our current project in Gbarnga, Bong County, Liberia. Once built, LEDI will forge an ongoing partnership between libraries and technology centers in Liberia and US-based library systems, starting with the Cleveland Public Library System.
To learn more about our organization and life changing initiatives, visit http://www.ledinow.org.
Liberia’s History and Key Facts:
o Liberia, which means “land of the free,” is Africa’s first republic, founded in 1847 by the American Colonization Society to settle approximately 12,000 freed American slaves in West Africa.
o Liberia is a West Africa country bordering the Atlanta Ocean, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Guinea of 43,000 square miles or slightly larger than Tennessee.
o Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia, was named in honor of U.S. president James Monroe.
o Liberia’s government, constitution, flag, and currency were modeled after the United States.
o Liberia is an English speaking country, with a population of 4.2 million people composed of 16 different ethnic groups, including a 5% Americo-Liberian population (descendants of former American slaves).
o Liberia’s devastating 15 year civil crisis, which was fought by warring factions, enlisted over 15,000 child soldiers, killed over 250,000 people and displaced a half million, and decimated the country.
o Today, Liberia is the 4th poorest nation in the world with a literacy rate of 60.8% (188 out of 194 African nations), 84% unemployment rate and median age of 18 years old.
o Of the 2400 schools that existed prior to the 15 year civil crisis, 80 % are nonoperational and the majority of the operating schools are in subpar condition, lacking electricity, running water, books, computers, and libraries.