Freedom of Information

Introduction to Freedom of Information

 What is FOI?[1]

Freedom of Information, or FOI,  is the basic human right to request and receive information from government ministries and agencies and any private groups that provide public services, receive public funds or benefits, and/or perform governmental duties.

FOI in Liberia[2]

Liberia’s FOI Act was signed into law on September 16, 2010, and it provides all persons the right to access public information. Freedom of information encourages trust between individuals and their government, it informs individuals of helpful services, and it helps citizens to exercise other fundamental rights, such as the right to education, health care, justice, clean water, and numerous others. Under the FOI Act, people can request information about:

  • Education
  • Land
  • Health
  • Justice
  • Safety
  • Human Rights
  • Poverty Reduction
  • Public policies
  • Countless others

Why Is FOI important for women?[1]

Freedom of information allows women to have more control over their own lives; having the support of the law behind them, FOI empowers women to ask questions and seek out information in their own interests on any issue, such as related to personal health, justice,  education, security, etc.

Freedom of information also:

  • Helps women with the exercise of other rights, such as the rights to information on the environment and taxation
  • Provides a clearer understanding of how the government works
  • Encourages women’s participation on many levels of Liberian society, not just in government
  • Ensures fairness in government processes

Current Obstacles to FOI for Women in Liberia[2]

The Ministry of Gender recognizes that women often face challenges in exercising their right to information like the lack of time and/or money to go to government offices, a lack of awareness of how to access information, and fears about visiting government offices and asking for information. To help with these issues, the Ministry of Gender is using this website, its Facebook page, and its local offices to provide information to women. The Ministry also encourages all ministries and agencies to ensure that they are providing information in ways that reach all citizens, especially women and marginalized groups.

Types of Information that Can Be Requested

Information in written, printed, audio, visual, and/or electronic forms can be requested from public agencies and private groups that accept public funding or provide public services. Examples of information that can be requested include[3]:

  • Laws, codes, statutes, and regulations
  • Administrative staff manuals
  • Statistical information
  • Agency policies
  • Information on agency actions, budgets, and expenditures (how money was received and spent)
  • Any much more!

How to File a Request for Information

If the desired information is not already available through online or physical publications, then a request for information can be filed in writing, by email, orally, or by any other similar means. These are the basic steps to take when filing a request for information:

  • Decide the information you want.
  • Identify which agency holds the information.
  • Ask if the information is already available (proactively published) without needing to make a request.
  • Mail, email, phone, or deliver your request in person. You do not need to give a reason for making the request.
  • Track your request by marking your calendar with the day you made the request.
  • The agency must respond within 30 days unless they transfer the request or show a reason why they cannot respond timely.

A sample request letter is available on page 17 of “A Citizens’ Guide to the 2010 Liberia Freedom of Information” by the Carter Center.

The Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection contact information

Ministerial Complex, Congo Town
Monrovia, Liberia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel. +231 77 780 8145       

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/MOGCSPLiberia/about/?ref=page_internal

The current Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection is Hon. Williametta Piso Saydee Tarr.

Guidance and Regulation

Liberian FOI Law

Reports from the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection
News and Publications will be subject to change

External Reports and Resources

Women and the Right of Access to Information in Libera Executive Summary (The Carter Center and WONGOSOL) 2014

Guides to Freedom of Information

[1] All information here paraphrased from https://www.cartercenter.org/peace/ati/women.html

[2] Information is taken from https://www.cartercenter.org/resources/pdfs/peace/ati/ati-recommendations-women-liberia-072214.pdf

[3] Information is taken from https://www.cartercenter.org/resources/pdfs/peace/ati/liberia/citizens-guide-to-foi-final.pdf

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://mogcsp.gov.lr/