you may turn your papers over now!
Sean McFate has an interesting piece about organising the army of post-Charles Taylor Liberia in Foreign Policy. Here’s a quote:
We formed investigative teams composed of one international and one Liberian investigator. Together they handled individual cases, traveling to a recruit’s home village to verify data and garner character references. We compiled and assessed existing public records for accuracy and volume and ran candidates’ names through the limited records that we found credible. To our surprise, some of the best records came not from the government but from local NGOs such as the West African Examination Council, which had administered and kept records of high school achievement tests for decades.
The Examination Council. There was a functioning exam board in 90s Liberia; that’s absurd and heroic all at once.