As a way of supporting local organizations in strengthening their capacities for better services to the Liberian people and beyond, the management of NOBEL Liberia in honour of its founding President, the late Tarnue Abraham presented a check of US$1,500 to the management team of the Monrovia Football Academy.
This recent presentation to the Monrovia Football Academy by NOBEL Liberia is one of the many initiatives being undertaken by this Liberian financial institution, aimed are helping to empower Liberians.
Early this year NOBEL Liberia Ltd., one of Liberia’s reliable financial institutions as a way of its corporate social responsibility, aimed at empowering young Liberian women and the youth in general, signed a ‘New Brand Ambassador’ partnership with the 2017 Miss Liberia, Ms Wokie Dolo.
Prior to the presentation of the amount to the management of Monrovia Football Academy headed by a 25-year old American, Mr. William Smith, the President of NOBEL Liberia Ltd, Mr. Jallah Kesselly said his institution’s quest to supporting such Liberian initiatives is at the backdrop of helping them instead of depending on handouts.
Mr. Kesselly noted that his decision to empower Liberian initiatives is to encourage them to be good citizens by doing away with those things that will plunge their nation backward, adding, “Don’t always look for handouts, but rather do something to help yourself and your country.”
Quoting his institution’s motto, “Helping Liberia Rise Again”, Mr. Kesselly echoing the role of Liberians, especially the young people, said young people should learn to understand that they too have the responsibility for the growth and development of their country. He further expressed his thanks and appreciation to the founder of Monrovia Football Academy for encouraging young kids from Monrovia’s slum communities and to make them useful citizens in the sporting arena.
For his part, Mr. Smith expressed appreciation to NOBEL Liberia for the gesture, and ensured the management of his organization’s fullest support to the utilisation of the funds to help the academy’s goal provide life skills, education and sports to the kids.
Mr. Smith said his institution opened its door in October 2015 as the first school in Liberia to combine high-quality education with professional sport training. “We use soccer as a positive-incentive mechanism to improve academic performance, break down gender barriers, and prepare our students to lead positive change in Liberia,” he said.
“At Monrovia Football Academy we tap into young Liberians’ passion and energy for soccer and transfer that into the classroom. In the 2017-18 school year, we have 43 boys and 30 girls, ages 8-13, in grades 3-6. Our students are with us from 8:30am-6pm, Monday-Friday, with breakfast, life skills lessons, and football training in the morning, lunch at noon, and academic classes in the afternoon.
“Our academic program is unique in Liberia. We use a refined version of the Ministry of Education’s curriculum for our four core courses, and we add two classes per week on Leadership, Health Science, and Music. Each one of our teachers has a bachelor’s degree, our pupil-teacher ratio is 14:1, and we are one of the only schools in Liberia with more teachers (five) than grades (four), allowing us to create personalized lesson plans for struggling students. We will introduce a STEM course and a blended learning platform in 2018,” Smith said.
Monrovia Football Academy is operating amidst Liberia’s highly ambitious education reform. Seven private providers of education – Bridge International Academies, Omega Schools, BRAC, Street Child, More Than Me, Liberian Youth Network, and Stella Maris – have partnered with the Ministry of Education to revamp the failing education system and raise Liberia’s general academic standard. Monrovia Football Academy has been asked (twice) by Minister of Education, George Werner, to join the Partnership Schools for Liberia public-private partnership but Smith said “Both times we have politely declined.”
“Our approach is vastly different from the private providers of education engaged in Partnership Schools. We do not aim to provide basic education for thousands of Liberians. Rather, our goal is to be the flagship school in Liberia. We provide a set of programs – high-quality education, professional soccer training, good nutrition, healthcare, life skills – that transform the lives of Liberia’s most talented boys and girls and give them the skills they need to become leaders in society. That separates us from any other youth development organization in Liberia,” Smith said.
He said between 2018 and 2020, Monrovia Football Academy will expand its reach into at least five of Liberia’s 15 counties and grow to 110 students, ages 8-15, in grades 3-8. During the 2019-20 school year, “we will build our own facilities, enabling expansion to 200 students, ages 8-18, from all 15 counties of Liberia.”
At capacity, he said “the Academy will impact more than 3,500 lives through our students, graduates, families, and staff members. More importantly, we will produce graduates who enter into leadership roles across Liberia’s political economy, enabling the Academy to impact thousands – potentially hundreds of thousands – of additional lives.
“As we scale Monrovia Football Academy, we are developing a sustainable funding model that relies less on international donors and more on earned revenue, Liberian corporations, and Liberian individuals. By diversifying our funding streams and identifying Liberian sources, we will ensure the Academy’s long-term sustainable.”