Beneficiaries happy with Japan’s assistance in building their capacity for sustainability; JICA new assistance under review
The Japanese government’s assistance to Liberia has been welcomed by those who have benefited from them and they want that to continue. Also, Japan’s first secretary at Japan’s Embassy to Liberia, located in Ghana, Yasunori Nakamura says his country’s taxpayers money is being used for the intended purpose, which is a win-win situation.
This followed a one-day tour of several projects being undertaken by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, which is responsible to oversee projects under the sponsorship of the Government of Japan.
Yasunori Nakamura, the first secretary at the Japanese Embassy, located in Ghana, visited several projects site in Monrovia on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
The areas visited included the Montserrado County Health Team on Duport Road; the LEC Bushrod Island site where JICA has completed a 10-megawatt (mw) Thermal Power Plant; the site of the second phase of the Somalia Drive road project; and a furniture project building that works alongside with the Liberia Carpenters’ Union under UNIDO, led by Mr. Eduardo Moreira, the project’s technical advisor.
Montserrado County Health Team Officer, Dr. Yatta S. Wapoe, accompanied by a team of journalists, said the sponsorship of JICA for the last two years of their assistance made a significant impact on the progress of her outfit.
Wapoe said JICA strengthened their managerial ability through demand-driven training that sent her to train in Japan, while others went to another JICA training facility in Ghana.
“JICA has supported us to develop effective management of our health system. They helped us to focus on planning and monitoring and we have had a joint integrated supportive supervision,” she said.
Dr. Wapoe added that JICA introduced a ‘seed money program’ that provided micro-grants to selected activities proposed by her outfit and district health teams.
“We were able to send our members to community health teams so that they can see exchange ideas and finally some of our staff visited Ghana in an international exchange program,” Dr. Wapoe said.
She added that for the last two years JICA provided the capacity to strengthen their managerial skills, which led their members to perform in accordance with national guidelines as well as implementing community health services through the dissemination of established policy.
Dr. Wapoe said the end of JICA’s support to her outfit has created huge challenges and meanwhile hoped that Mr. Nakamura will see the dire need for the continuation of JICA’s assistance to her outfit.
At the 10mw Thermal Power Plant on Bushrod Island, Billy Richardson, executive director for generation at the LEC, took the team through the positive impact that the plant will offer Monrovia and its environs in the dry season when the water level at the Hydro Plant is normally low.
He spoke gratefully of the support of JICA with its basic intent to alleviate Monrovia from periodic power outages in the dry season. The JICA project installed 2 x 5mw heavy fuel oil (HFO) fired medium speed diesel generator, switch-gears, spare parts, and maintenance tools and constructed a new house with fuel transfer pump house. The project cost 2.237 billion Japanese Yen (approximately US$22 million).
JICA said it built the 10mw Thermal Power Plant to the Liberian government against the high demand of electricity, based on the rapid economic growth, supply-side that has not been able to provide enough power during the dry season.
The third visit was to the Somalia Drive road reconstruction, where nearly 2,000 Liberians are being empowered with the knowledge and skills on road work, who, in the future may likely be absorbed by the Ministry of Public Works.
The total amount of US$50.6 million is the grant aid from the Japanese government to complete the four-lane road by May 2021. Among other things, Masahiro Umehara, project manager, said they are building the capacity of Liberians who are working with them to be useful in the road construction industry for the future.
“They are eager to learn,” Umehara said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nakumura said he is happy that money spent as grants to Liberia are being used to benefit the people. “We are operating with the Chinese maxim that says if you want one year of prosperity, grow grain, if you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees and if you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people,” he said.
He assured Liberia that JICA will continue its assistance to Liberia, as a contribution to the improvement in the socioeconomic condition in Liberia, together with the people and the government of Liberia.