The Liberia Country Officer of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, (OSIWA), Massa S. S. Crayton has assured One Moore Book, publishers of author Robtel Neajai Pailey’s children’s book GBAGBA of support to develop more educational materials that can fulfill its objective in making Liberia an open society for all citizens.
Ms. Crayton gave the assurance during the pilot launch of the children’s book GBAGBA last Saturday at the Monrovia City Hall before a crowd of more than 150 children, teachers and parents.
GBABA’s theme is about how corruption is endemic in the Liberian society and that the only means to eradicate it or let it become unpopular is through the eyes of children who see it in all its negative manifestations.
She said OSIWA’s sponsorship demonstrates its readiness to encourage talented Liberians to be able to contribute to the development of their country in their own way. She expressed appreciation to author Dr. Pailey, whose father Abraham Robert Pailey told the gathering about her deep love for Liberia.
Crayton said OSIWA’s responsibilities include helping Liberians to exercise their basic rights to education and to strengthen their resolve to fight against corruption that has become a cancer eating the fabric of the Liberian society.
“We share author Robtel Pailey’s vision that to be able to achieve success in the fight against corruption the young generation should be brought into the picture so that they can understand and know what to do from childhood in their homes and schools,” she said.
Though author Pailey was not present due to engagements in the United States, her father said his daughter has a deep love for Liberia, hence she used the word GBAGBA, which in Bassa means ‘doing the bad thing’ that resonates with the word corruption.
Mr. Pailey informed the children that “When your teacher asks you to give him money to help you in your exams, it is GBAGBA.
“When you spy in class during test, it is GBAGBA. When you steal meat from your sister or brother’s food, it is GBAGBA. When you are sent to do a particular work at home and you don’t do it, it is GBAGBA,” as the children cheered at the many forms that corruption manifests itself in the Liberian society and the easiest way toexplain it.
Assistant Minister for Basic & Secondary Education Felicia Sackey Doe-Sumah expressed the Ministry of Education’s appreciation to Dr.. Pailey and OSIWA and said the book GBAGBA is part of the ministry’s supplementary reading material.
In an effective way, Minister Doe-Sumah took the gathering into a lively demonstration of awareness that set the room alight with laughter.
She assured Liberians of the ministry’s commitment to provide the best education for the younger generation that would determine the future of Liberia. Teachers and Principals at the program narrated the effective use of the book and two pupils gave a brilliant demonstration of what they would do to expose GBAGBA in their homes and schools.
1,500 copies of GBAGBA are presently in Liberia for distribution to 10 pilot schools in Montserrado County. Students from the Sims Community School of Caldwell, the Johnsonville Public School and Spiritan Academy were part of the audience.
The launch was moderated by Madam Eva Flomo of UNMIL Radio and guests at the program included former Liberian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Nathaniel Barnes and his wife.