Thirty-six (36) employees of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) will depart the country on Wednesday, September 20, to undergo an intensive empowerment training in Nigeria as part of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) plan for Liberia.
The West African Power Pool (WAPP) is a cooperation of the national electricity companies in Western Africa under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) working to establish a reliable power grid for the region and a common market for electricity.
Mamadou Alpha Sylla, coordinator for the Capacity Building Program at the WAPP who spoke with reporters over the weekend in Monrovia, said he was delighted to work with the LEC, especially in the area of building the capacity of its staff.
“The 36 staff will undergo intensive training in both Lagos and Abuja to ensure that they come back and are able to perform well. I think they have the potential to be trained and come back to deliver in their various departments,” he said.
According to Sylla, WAPP hopes that beneficiaries of the training will be able to train their workmates upon their return to Liberia, adding that “This is part of our program in terms of training Liberia’s technicians and ensuring that they are unified in the electricity market.”
For his part, Samuel M. Weedor, Sr., who works at the LEC’s transmission and distribution (T/D) of the substation, said he is excited for the opportunity the two-week training will afford him and his colleagues, adding, “I hope to see some of the substation equipment; looking at some of the challenges we face in Liberia. By seeing the equipment and practicing on them with expert instructors will help us to improve and be able to perform as well.
“We have worked with LEC for number of years and I think that no other institution in Liberia is prepared to employ hundreds of technicians. With LEC, thousands can still be employed.”
He noted that participating in the two-week training will be an added motivation for the employees and management to ensure that the work is done. Interestingly, Mr. Weedor said “We don’t have any school in Liberia that can teach you about substations and so it’s important that such training be organized for the staff.”
“We have all these equipment manufactured out of Liberia, and we have to only learn when the experts are installing them and doing other things on the machines or equipment. But that’s not enough to maintain the entire grid, because LEC is growing at a rapid speed,” he said.
He continued: “I hope that we will be learning something new looking at the various departments the selection was made from. I was selected from substation training and believe that the necessary skills and knowledge to improve will be acquired. We feel happy that the management can think about us and also ensuring that our capacities are built to carry on the work.”
LEC’s deputy managing director for the Rural Electrification Project, Zahnga E. Peabody, said he was excited to see 36 LEC staff leaving for Nigeria to participate in the two-week training. “We believe that this training will help to build the capacity where the gap is currently, and ensuring that our people get the power. We are seriously trying to develop our human capacity,” he said. “This is a USAID funded project. The 36 people were selected based on their competencies and commitment,” he added.
He said the LEC management is committed to empower its staff and ensure that they grow to help the institution provide service to the people. On power generation, Peabody said, “We have capacities, but the issue is manpower. We don’t have capacity in terms of distribution. We have the power available and need to get it to the consumers by building more poles and ensuring that the people get the power.”