Riders Liberia in the mould of Riders The Gambia.
In 2015 Riders for Health responded to the Ebola outbreak with it the birth of ne Riders program. Riders Liberia has implemented a national fleet management and maintenance of 534 vehicular units to cover all the 15 Counties of Liberia. These are run and managed by 404 Liberian Nationals mostly drawn from MoH and GSA under supervision from Riders International replication team.
Other than Fleet Management Riders for Health Liberia runs a Sample transport management project with a staff component of 88 in partnership with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) transporting biological specimens from 15 Counties across Liberia. Riders Liberia has also built and equipped (with international standard tools from Snap-on) six maintenance hubs across the country. Using TOTAL fuel cards plus other fuel contracts with reputable service stations and in some instances sinking fuel dumps, Riders fuels all the vehicles in all Counties removing the need of vehicles coming to Monrovia for fuel as was the case before.
Over the 2 years Riders has brought professionalism in drivers and gave them reliable income. It is a known fact that accidents have largely decreased since the coming of Riders. Daniel Myers said “working for Riders has made me a man in my house for I can now come with reliable income for my family”. Morris Benson said “Riders has brought many positive changes and we pray always that they should continue to work in partnership with the MoH for a long time.”
The Riders for Health Liberia Country programme was set up and is being run like Riders for Health the Gambia Country program (RfHTG), which is a fellow West African Country, where a partnership with MoH has and is yielding a lot of health benefits for the past 14 years, since 2002. There are many similarities and parallels which gives confidence that as The Gambia is such a success, so will Riders Liberia’s partnership with MoH. The same team which helped set up the Gambia program is the same one that set up Liberia program.
If we consider the success of Riders in the first year, the response of MoH in trying to ensure continuity, the expected success in Liberia will be even greater. The Gambia partnership involved Riders taking over the management of the entire MoH Fleet and the entire MoH workforce. The workforce was trained by Riders Internationals (the same one ones currently training the Liberian team) to run the MoH fleet. The technical team in The Gambia before Riders were largely not competent, under resourced and mostly illiterate resulting in vehicles breaking down. After Riders intervention, the technicians have transformed over the years to be amongst the best in The Gambia. Riders the Gambia is currently partnering Ford Motor Company, who are assessing performance of their vehicles in a difficult environment. Such an assessment can only be done when there are reputable standards of vehicle maintenance as being done by Riders. Already Aeris M2M is partnering with Riders Liberia in the GPS technology side.
Given time, resources and suitable training Riders Liberia will be the same in being the best in Liberia as their Gambia counterparts. They are already doing a lot more and have shown a lot of progress over the past year which has also shamed some doubters, this include a maintenance consultancy we met in the early days. The Liberian technicians are now proud of their work and committed to working hard for their country.
This is an example of positive development for it has a multiplier effect because improved systems will naturally find their way in other sectors of the economy through benchmarking as no one will want to go to inferior systems after learning improved ones. Similar stories can be said about Riders in Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya. The maintenance system established by Riders works and is internationally recognised.