The Liberian Swedish Association in 2019

President of the Liberian Swedish Association David Ford

2019 was a successful year for the Liberian Swedish Association (LSA) says its president David Ford. Below, Mr. Ford reflects on the year in a conversation with Nordic Africa News.

What were the goals of the administration in your first year?

Upon taking over the leadership of the Liberian Swedish Association (LSA) on December 1, 2018, we came in with an agenda that consists of five key goals/projects, which we planned to achieve both within and outside of the LSA community. Out of these, we were delegated and able to achieve three of these key goals in the first year, and shed lights on the remaining two, which we have plans into place to achieve them in the second year of our leadership. Among those that we achieved are:

#1. To unite and strengthen the bond between Liberians living in Sweden

One important aspect of our agenda from the get-go was to unite Liberians in Sweden under one LSA, with the sole intention to bridge the gap between generations of Liberians living in Sweden, and to enhance the unification that Liberians has once enjoyed in the past (or not). Furthermore, to promote the act of belongingness, inclusiveness and the participation of all Liberians in Sweden under one LSA regardless of age and ethnic background.

As ways of achieving these, we setup a decentralized leadership structure, made-up of officials from different communities in Sweden; we worked tirelessly and ingeniously to establish close connections with most Liberians through LSA various sub-chapters: Stockholm, Goteborg, Malmö, and the LSA Norrland chapter, which was established during our administration to serve as an extension of LSA for Liberians residing in the north of Sweden – from Sundsvall to cities further north of Sweden; and we were also able to established close contacts with several Liberians residing outside of areas of the LSA various chapters, and some Liberians who have moved to Sweden to further their education studies. By so doing, we are proud to conclude that we have managed to eradicate or minimized the notion that LSA, or its leadership is made up of or belongs to one group of people from the same community or city in Sweden.

Being able to include the participation of many Liberians in LSA was a key aspect of our first-year agenda, which I believed we managed to achieve at greater level. All of these were made possible through our willingness to adopt a strategic decentralized leadership structure and several sub-committees. Through these committees we hosted a major Easter Fun Day Event for our community children to unify and teach the children the Liberian way (Culture); a mothers’ day program to honored 11 mothers from various LSA communities and other African communities in Sweden. In addition, through these committees, we were able to host an outstanding Liberia Independence Day celebration in Stockholm, Sweden, which brought together Liberians from various cities around Sweden and Scandinavia. Moreover, with the help of these committees we were also able to resolve some of the prevailing conflicts that were hurting our community.

#2. To Promote Awareness about LSA

Another vital element of our 1 st year agenda was to promote awareness and or rebrand the LSA. To achieve this, we implemented several key strategies, through the adequate used of numerous social media platforms. This was done in order to bring LSA to the general public, specifically our members, and supporters (Liberians living in Sweden). By such, we were able to keep Liberians in most parts of Sweden informed about ongoing and unfolding happenings around LSA and events in the LSA communities. To name a few, an LSA blog ( was created and launched upon taking over the leadership of LSA in December 2018. The blog is a way of dispensing necessary weekly and/or monthly information about ongoing and unfolding happenings in LSA community to members, supporters and other communities in Sweden and abroad. In addition, LSA official Facebook account and page (Lsa Sweden) was created, to be use alongside LSA previous Facebook page (liberians living in Sweden).

For the first time in LSA community, a LSA logo was created and launched to the public, to create an ease of identification with a unique symbol. We also revamped and made the LSA website ( contemporary in order to be up to date, and to meet the informational needs of LSA members and supporters in Sweden and abroad, and for newcomer Liberians to Sweden. LSA media team has been very instrumental in these areas – making sure that relevant contents are constantly created and put on these various platforms for the general public. Likewise, during our first-year, we were able to also partner and worked with the editor of and some Liberian-based newspapers to promote awareness about LSA and several on-going and upfolding activities in the LSA community.

#3. Work with other organizations:

As part of our first-year agenda, we were also able to work with other associations, both in Sweden and abroad. In this regard, we can proudly say that we worked meticulously and effectively with the European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA), as our predecessors (LSA previous leadership) did. Through this effort, we were able to connect LSA with other Liberian associations in Europe. Moreover, we also worked closely with other African and Swedish organizations both in Sweden and abroad to foster unification and meet common goals. Lastly, we managed to link LSA with the Liberians community in Denmark, Finland and Norway, to divulge the importance of being united as Liberians in Europe.

The challenges

The administrative goals that we set to achieve in the first year did not come without challenges. One of the major challenges was to reconcile the inherited internal conflicts that existed amongst members of LSA Malmö chapter. These problems were so huge and difficult to understand due to the magnitude and the culture of the Liberians in Malmö, which made it strategically challenging. Nonetheless with help and participation of several key stakeholders in Malmö, we were able to work out solutions to resolve the conflicts.

What are the goals of the second year?

#4. Initiate a proposal to establish Liberian embassy in Stockholm, Sweden for all Liberians living in the Scandinavian areas.

Our second-year administrative goal is to continue engaging and appealing to necessary stakeholders for a Liberian embassy or consulate to be established in Stockholm for Liberians living in Scandinavia. After witnessing and listening to several growing concerns from LSA members and Liberians residing in other Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, and Finland) of the difficulties they undergo to obtain the necessary governmental services (visa, renewing or obtaining Liberian passports, etc.) in the Scandinavian areas from the Government of Liberia (GOL). Therefore, in the second year of our leadership, we intend to work closely with other Liberian associations in Scandinavia to initiate a proposal to the Government of Liberia (GOL) to establish or foster the process of establishing a representation in Stockholm for Liberians residing in Scandinavia. We were able to put in motion efforts that are conceivable to make this possible. We have begun the conversation with some relevant stakeholders who are responsible for implementing or establishing such institutions. Though the anticipated outcomes did not yield in the first year of our administrative leadership, but we are determined to continue in this pursuit, to continuously engage our counterparts (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Liberia) and other key actors (government officials of Liberia) in 2020 to make this possibility. We are optimistic and strongly believe that the GOL will come to our plead and do what’s best for its citizens in Scandinavia. This is a major problem that needs immediate attention, in order to help alleviate the struggle that Liberians in Scandinavia undergo to enjoy the necessary services that should be provided by the Government of Liberia.

#5. Launch a humanitarian program to help underprivileged children residing in Liberia.

Another key aspect of our second-year administrative goal is to contribute to reducing the suffering of some underprivileged children in Liberia. Due to the dire needs of many children in Liberia as a result of the economic downturn, whereby many parents are without jobs and find it difficult to provide for their children, as part of our leadership goal, we intend to launch a campaign called “Let Liberians living in Sweden help underprivileged children in Liberia’’ to help improve the lives of some children living in unprivileged conditions in Liberia. However, due to the lack of the appropriate resources, and our exhaustive concentrations on uniting Liberians in Sweden, create awareness and rebrand LSA in the first year of our leadership, the “Let Liberians living in Sweden help underprivileged children in Liberia’’ project will be launch in 2020. Taking inspirations from other organization along the increased buzz that have been created about LSA in the first year of our leadership, we plan to lobby and/or form alliance with Swedish donor organizations, conduct fund raising events, and appeal to LSA members and supporters to support the initiative.

Any final word for Liberians in Sweden and in general (diaspora and at home)?

Final words to Liberians in Sweden and elsewhere in the diaspora and at home (Liberia) will be that we all have important roles to play, both at home and abroad in restoring our nation to its former glory and beyond. As Liberians, we need to put aside our differences, come together to rehabilitate our hurts, and amend the intense negative perceptions we have for each other as Liberians, towards upgrading our nation. Especially, we need to learn from our past mistakes, become more united than ever before, revamp how we perceive politics in modern day Liberia; strive for security transformation across the nation, and strive collectively to revitalise our economy in order to improve the livelihood of all Liberians. Besides, I think it’s about time we educate ourselves on how we perceive and define “governance and a nation” in today’s Liberia. Because most Liberians still look at these expressions through old lenses, wherein they blame all the nation’s problems on one branch of Government, the executive, instead of looking at governance through it entirety – we need to also consider the responsibilities of our judicial and legislative branches. Liberians need to get educated and smart about electing people into government offices, especially our direct representations, the senators and representatives. As Liberians we should be keen on electing senators and representatives that seek our welfare and protection to the fullest, without compromise. We need those that are waiting to coin laws that are needed and or vote only laws that are in the interest of their constituents and the nation; strive to eradicate or minimize corruption in our society; understand and are working towards repairing the struggle of their constituents and etc. Plus, Liberians at home and abroad need to understand that the development of a nation is not a one man task, every Liberian must get involved with a positive mindset without aiming for self-gratification and selfish interest at the expense of the masses. Liberia’s politics has for generations single-handedly created more diversion in Liberia than any other profession or phenomenon. Currently, this sphere is creating so much unrest for the entire citizenry both at home and abroad, and hurting the likelihood for direct potential investment(s) in the country. I strongly believe that without immediate collective revolutionary intervention from both Liberians at home and in the diaspora, there is a huge probability that the fragile peace that Liberians now enjoy can be dismantled into chaos, similar to that of the Liberian 15-year civil crisis. In ending, social media has become very powerful in it reach and range, therefore, I think it is time we start to use it wisely to market our nation Liberia to the outside world. Via social media, we can all contribute in a small way to uplift our country by posting positively contents out there. Furthermore, we can use social media as a space where Liberians in the diaspora and at home can create meaningful forums, where we can interact and workout strategies and form common ventures with common agenda to get Liberia out of impoverishment. Overall, we need to be good ambassadors of our nation on social media.