A four member delegation from the Sinoe County Association in the Americas, Ambassador Enterprise and Innovative Education Liberia recently ended a multi-day visit to Liberia, including a day trip to Golden Veroleum’s Wakefield Nursery in Sinoe County.
According to Professor Gary Friesen, who leads Ambassador’s educational technology programs, the visit was part of a long-term plan to help improve the educational system in Liberia. Under the Ambassador proposal, the potential for the program could positively impact in the Liberian Southeast.
The pilot program will focus on students in grades 5-12, providing access to critical skills while improving mathematics using laptops, tablets and other digital resources. Running from 2015-2016 academic year, Ambassador and IEL will partner with five schools in Sinoe, including the Golden Veroleum School System, to benefit more than 600 students and 20 teachers, while an independent evaluation will provide a proof-of-impact and allow for program refinement for greater impact during the scale up phase.
When the program is expected to be completed in 2020 nearly 120,000 students are expected to have passed through the program, which is projected to be in 700 Liberian schools and trained by 2,800 teachers.
The success of the program depends on partnerships with the Liberian government and partner commercial organizations. Last year the Ambassador team, along with members of the Sinoe County Association of America visited Golden Veroleum and conducted a weeklong mathematics workshop for the 600 plus student population. During the trip students from Taylor University helped preside over the training.
According to Stephen Binda, GVL spokesman, the partnership with SCAA and Ambassador Enterprises is greatly supported by Golden Veroleum, “We are pleased to have our partners here on the ground with us and we look forward to continuing it into the future,” said Binda. “At our school system we have more than 600 students who will grow with this program and one day they may very well be the next generation of leaders not just for GVL but for Liberia. So the impact of our partnership is not something for the short-term, but for the long-term. We may very well be producing thanks to this program Liberian managers who may take their skills to all corners of Liberia and beyond.”
During SCAA’s last years’ visit to the GVL School the team shared the story of Samuel Morris, born Prince Kaboo of the Kru tribe, who when he was 14 years old was captured and held for ransom by a neighboring tribe. Escaping years later into the jungle Morris made his way to the United States, where he enrolled into Taylor University, which at the times was on the brink of bankruptcy. According to legend Prince Kaboo’s life story and religious conversion inspired a rejuvenation of the school. As a result the school recovered and years later the Samuel Morris Scholarship was established there.
In 1893 Morris died after contracting a severe cold. His death inspired his fellow students to serve as missionaries to Africa on his behalf, fulfilling his dream of one day returning to minister to his own people.