A consortium of EI member organisations was created in order to assist the newly-formed National Teachers' Association of Liberia (NTAL) in its consolidation work after the merger last year.
The new NTAL was established in May 2007 as a result of the merger of the country's two biggest teacher unions - the National Teachers' Association of Liberia (NTAL) and the Liberia National Educational Workers Union (LINEWU).
The name of the former was kept, as the title was officially recognised by an Act of Parliament and thus afforded greater legal protection.
Plans to integrate the two organisations date from 2000, but the process was slowed down by both the civil war which ended in 2003 and the lack of resources.
The merger finally took place in a convention held from 18-22 May 2007 in the capital, Monrovia. Key educational challenges were identified by the convention as the priority focal areas of the new NTAL:
- Quality in education
- Teachers’ morale and motivation
- Quality teacher training
- HIV and AIDS
- Violence against girls and gender equity in education
- Privatisation and commercialisation of education
- The union's capacity to influence policy dialogue
To assist the NTAL in its post-merger work and to meet these challenges, EI organised a consortium of co-operating partners consisting of CTF (Canada), DLF (Denmark), NEA (United States), Utdanningsforbundet (Norway) and Lärarförbundet (Sweden). Under the aegis of EI, the consortium supports the new NTAL in its efforts to reorganise its branches and empower its national secretariat so as to serve its members better.
The first meeting between the NTAL and the EI consortium took place from 14-19 Jan. It set priorities in the development of the organisation, and provided an opportunity to design both short- and long-term developmental activities.
To kickstart the process, a council composed of NTAL members representing all the counties was formed to identify different areas of interest. The outcome of this council was then used by the NTAL Executive Board and Secretariat staff to design a viable plan of action.
For short-term activities, a programme funded by the consortium will be implemented by May 2009. It will focus on membership recruitment, the production of publications for the membership, the organisation of orientation and planning meetings, and administrative support to the secretariat.
Long-term activities will only be discussed with the leadership that emerges after the 2009 national congress. The EI regional office will continue to play a co-ordinating role and is represented by EI Africa Regional Coordinator, Emanuel Fatoma. The delegates of the consortium are Alex Davidson (CTF), Tore Assmussen (DLF) and Arhlin Anders (representing both Lärarförbundet and Utdanningsforbundet).