Foundation of Olusegun Obasanjo (OOF), former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Education (MOE). The purpose is to come up with and put into operation in Liberia, projects that will target and improve individuals in the areas of Health, Education, Finance and Economic Planning, Labor, and Youth and Sports.
The MOU is to serve as a means by which Liberia and the OOF might think and work together in areas of common interest.
One of the first things to be done would be to lay the groundwork for targeted activities and then map out approaches on how the two entities might proceed to operate together.
According to the MOU, the GOL and OOF would work in partnership in developing education program focusing on the Gender Responsive Accelerated Vocational Technical Program (GRAVTP); support will go to the GRAVTP program, the School Development Program, the support STEM Skills Acquisition Program as well as the Teacher Training Scheme and Community Awareness Program.
They would promote projects of an acceptable commercial nature in the areas of infrastructure and agriculture with the goal of increasing employment for the youth of Liberia. They would support programs that promote health awareness particularly concerning non-communicable diseases; and any other activities and program in areas of mutual interests which the Parties may jointly devise.
In regards to the scope of collaboration, the GOL shall develop and assist OOF to mobilize resources and develop strategic plans to generate funding from regional, bilateral, and multilateral agencies. It will develop, implement, and monitor a coherent mobilization effort through maintaining dialogue and strengthening relations with major donor agreements, expectations and expanding the donor base. It is hoped that the Ministries of Education, Gender and Development and other GOL agencies will be encouraged to advice on innovative fund raising strategies and identifying strategic development opportunities, among other things.
The duration of this MOU is for ten (10) years, from the date of the last signature; however, either Party may terminate the MOU by giving three months’ prior notice to the other.
The foundation is a charity organization dedicated to bringing human security to all people by partnering with and funding organizations across Africa that are working on the Foundation’s initiatives crucial to human security.
Though the beneficiaries of the MOU were not quantified, officials said that a substantial amount of girls and young women are targeted to benefit from the agreement and its planned activities.
Former president Obasanjo signed on behalf of his foundation, while Education Minister, Etmonia D. Tarpeh did the same on behalf of the government and her Ministry. The ceremony was witnessed by President Sirleaf and officials of OFF.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony on Sunday, April 13, at the Executive Mansion, former President Obasanjo said the issue of girls’ empowerment is a critical challenge in Africa. He said this problem has no boundaries as it is prevalent on the African continent, not to speak of Liberia that is just emerging from 14 years of civil-crisis.
He said his foundation has the vision to partner with organizations and governments and to serve as change agents across the Continent.
The concept of human security has been a long-standing commitment of President Obasanjo’s—to promote the initiatives that can dramatically change the lives of individuals and communities on the continent; and the Liberian project has been specifically designed to cater to the needs of girls, who according to former President Obasanjo, have been culturally deprived for ‘rock of ages.’
He apologized to President Sirleaf, for what he termed ‘interrupting her service time on this Palm Sunday; but serving humanity, the cause for which the MOU was being signed, is the same as serving God, he suggested.
President Sirleaf, in welcoming former president Obasanjo to Liberia, said the signing of the MOU, in part, is to support the education sector—especially the training of young women, particularly in technical fields, to enable them enhance their employment potential. “This is a big contribution to Liberia’s development effort,” she said.
President Sirleaf said, “We want to be grateful to President Obasanjo who continues to support Liberia education. I want to thankful to him for this new initiative to train young women especially in the technical areas. This is significant for us.”
“We have done a lot in capacitating our girls by providing them opportunities; but this MOU, when fully implemented, will help a lot of them with technical capacities to support themselves,” she added.
Education Minister Tarpeh called the signing of the MOU “a dream come true, because recently there was a discussion on what needs to be done with the youth of Liberia; that discussion led to a three-year Action Plan for the education sector. “What we have signed today is part of that activity and addresses the need of young people—especially girls,” she said.
Prior to the signing ceremony, Minister Tarpeh said that the MOU will be a great help for young women who will take advantage of the program. She lauded President Obasanjo for the initiative.