Amb. Brown Challenges KEEP’s Project Beneficiaries

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Newly dedicated learning resource center in Cestos City, River Cess County.

– Dedicates US$88K facilities

Lewis G. Brown, former Liberian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), has called on beneficiaries of the Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) skills training program to adequately utilize skills they have obtained.

Brown made the remarks on Wednesday May 1, 2019 at the graduation ceremony of KEEP’s program in tailoring, computer skills and pastry-making.

The graduation ceremony also co-incided with the dedication of a learning resource center built and furnished by KEEP, which is expected to empower thousands residents in River Cess County with various skills, including tailoring, computer skills and pastry-making.

KEEP is a national non-governmental organization that seeks to promote social justice, development of vulnerable children and youth by strengthening their capacities.

The organization was established during the height of the Ebola outbreak in the country in 2014. It is supporting more than 7000 students across the country.

Mr. Brown recalled how KEEP’s executive director Brenda B. Moore, has redeemed many Liberians and national non-governmental organizations by properly utilizing the donor’s funds, some of which came from the Indian government through the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF).

“Take advantage of the skills and be more productive in society. Additionally, this is a small seed, but as you water it, please allow it to grow,” said Brown, who was instrumental in advocating for KEEP while serving as Liberia’s ambassador to UN.

Mr. Brown said when properly utilized, those skills will help to transform their lives and improve the status of the county, indicating that utilizing the new facility will help to multiply and bring more opportunities to the people of Cestos.

“God will help you whenever you ready to help yourself. Good things can actually come from River Cess, but invest and believe in yourself. Don’t fail yourself. Be your own light and know that you can be better,” Brown said.

Rukshan Ratnam, UNICEF Communication Specialist said UNICEF was pleased to support the center in the County, which will allow many people to benefit. According to him, about 300 students in Cestos are expected to benefit from training in reading that will improve their literacy skills.

Mr. Ratnam added that the empowerment of women and girls in sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) will help to alleviate associated cases in the county and Liberia at large.

“River Cess County has its first library, which brings joy and happiness to the people. Indirectly, this project will benefit students, community members, teachers and also neighboring counties. UNICEF believes in quality education, which prompted the organization to support the initiative,” he said.

Wellington Geevon Smith, a prominent citizen of River Cess County and former superintendent, who also delivered the keynote address, called on the citizens to utilize the skills acquired and be more productive in developing and improving their lives.

“We need to take advantage of the skills acquired, which will enable the people to provide more for us. This learning resource center indicates that someone is still thinking about us, especially empowerment. More importantly, this program will have a long positive impact in the county,” Mr. Smith told citizens of River Cess.

Graduates of the KEEP skills training program marching shortly before the kickoff of the program in Cestos City, River Cess County.

Mr. Smith further indicated that the graduation and dedication of the new facility was made possible through Ambassador Lewis G. Brown who was concerned about citizens of River Cess, while serving as Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN).

He further called on the citizens of River Cess to unite and help in transforming the county, stating, “this county needs everyone and we must continue to hold on together and let’s go our differences.”

Mr. Smith added that the success of the program rests on the shoulders of the county’s leadership as well as community residents and the beneficiaries. He also applauded KEEP and its partners for the level of support and empowerment, an initiative that stands to make the difference in the county.

The funding was provided by the Indian Government, with oversight supervision by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Mrs. Brenda Brewer Moore, KEEP’s executive director, has expressed gratitude to the Indian Government for bringing the program to reality. She also expressed gratitude to UNICEF.

“We have provided people with alternatives and some decided to do pastry, tailoring, and computers. After ten months, KEEP has exceeded the targeted numbers by training 196 women in various skills,” Mrs. Moore said.

Mrs. Moore further called on the county’s leadership and beneficiaries of the facility to properly manage the center and ensure that the equipment is maintained.

The Wednesday’s program brought together KEEP’s beneficiaries, partners and county’s officials.

River Cess County Superintendent J. Bismark Karbiah who is currently ill said he has not been able to implement development as plan since taking office in 2018. However, he was very instrumental in helping KEEP set up the resource center. Recounting the challenges encountered by KEEP to hire a computer literate individual to teach in Cestos City, River Cess County, the Superintendent noted that, “More good things will come in River Cess County, because the plan is to bring total transformation.”

He continued: “If the citizens of the county capacities are built, it will help River Cess. Only citizens of River Cess will help in building/transforming the county. Today, we are lobbying to ensure that the teachers’ quarter is built, because payment of rent by teachers who are making small money is challenging.”

Supt. Karbiah further said his administration remains grateful to KEEP and its partners for the level of support in building the capacity of the citizens in the county. He added that determination will help to transform the county to artificial beauty and empower the residents more.

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