The man known among rural people as ‘poverty doctor,’ Dr. J. Mills Jones, told members of the Helping Hand & Unification Club in Baira, Bong County that only a “can-do-spirit” supported by few Liberian dollars can take Liberians out of poverty.
Speaking at an elaborate occasion marking the 3rd anniversary of the women’s organization, Dr. Jones said “Such a spirit when given a chance and supported with a few Liberian dollars, can transform the lives of many Liberians who are yet to have a foothold on the economic ladder.”
The Helping Hand & Unification Club (HHUC) is a network of 23 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) comprising 690 members, who all turned out in grand style to receive Dr. Jones on his way back from a weeklong visit to Nimba County.
The Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) standard bearer said that transformation would happen only with deliberate policy actions that would help more Liberians to be in the position to feed and send their children to school.
“It is not a hard thing to do with a little bit of imagination and with a little bit of common sense through which many of our people will rise from zero to hero,” Dr. Jones said.
He said public policy must ensure that poor Liberians are empowered as poor people cannot produce a rich nation “because Liberia’s development is the collective responsibility of all Liberians.”
Dr. Jones described the organization as a good example of the enterprising spirit of Liberians.
The HHUC is part of the VSLA program, which is a financial inclusion mechanism supported by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) during the tenure of Dr. Jones. It is directed at the rural poor, who could not get access to finance through the traditional banking system.
The MOVEE standard bearer was invited to see the progress the organization has made and to also thank him for his leadership in helping the poor.
Earlier, Madam Janet Sumo, who heads the club, attributed their accomplishments to Dr. Jones’ exemplary leadership as the then Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia.
Madam Sumo lauded Dr. Jones for his initiative to empower rural Liberian women and revealed that the network has grown beyond its capacity, which made it necessary to undertake a project to build a town hall.
“We do not want anyone to mislead us. We have decided to organize ourselves into a very strong network, which has grown into 23 member groups, with each group comprising of 30 members,” she said. “Today, our third anniversary celebration will witness a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a town hall that will provide a convenient meeting place for us to continue the work that has given us women of Liberia a better place and a voice in society. We owe our achievements as rural women to the empowerment program of our ‘Poverty Doctor,’ Dr. Joseph Mills Jones,” said Madam Sumo.