LIBERIA: GVL Commits Ten Agriculture Scholarships to Tartweh-Drapoh Community in Sinoe

The Senior Vice President for Operations at Golden Veroleum Liberia, Vigy Ponnudurai, has committed 10 university scholarships to qualified high school graduates originating from the Tartweh-Drapoh community of Kpanyan Statutory District in Sinoe to attend the agriculture college of United Methodist University located in Gbason Town, Juarzon Statutory District, Sinoe County.

The scholarships donation seeks to train citizens from GVL partner communities to manage and operate large-scale agricultural project, thus reducing the dependency on expatriate workers. The undertaking is in fulfilling of a training commitment made to the citizens of Tartweh-Drapoh through the memorandum of understanding incorporating social agreement signed October 11th, 2014, with the Tartweh-Drapoh Community.

According to Ponnudurai beneficiaries of the scholarship are expected to gain skills and knowledge in agronomy and that immediately following the completion of their studies the graduates would be employed by GVL. Sinoe County Superintendent, Thomas Romeo Quioh, backed by youth, women, elders and traditional leaders of Tartweh-Drapoh thanked GVL for the scholarship. The citizens assured GVL that the community will identify qualified candidates and submit names to the company.

The move by GVL to follows its recent donation of 100,000 USD to the Ministry of Agriculture for qualified university-level students attending the University of Liberia, Cuttington University, Tubman University, Booker Washington Institute, and United Methodist. To date, GVL has donated 600,000 USD to the Ministry of Agriculture, resulting in the awarding of more than 1,400 individual scholarship packages.

The company currently employs approximately 3,700 Liberians, many of which are in key management positions. According to the company's spokesman, Steven Binda, “Liberians, including, Administration, Compliance, Environmental, Human Resources, Legal, Logistics and Procurement, currently run several GVL departments, and that the number was expected to grow.” Binda further went on to state that less than 1 percent of the company is comprised of foreigners.

Since 2013 GVL has run one of the largest schools in Sinoe County, the GVL Elementary School at it Butaw Estate. The school has approximately 650 students and is open to the children of GVL workers. Additionally, the company invests approximately one million USD per year, in salaries alone in Sinoe County and expects it employment numbers to grow to between 35,000 and 40,000 when fully operational.

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