The Forest Training Institute (FTI), located in Tubmanburg, Bomi County is reportedly straddling (on both sides of) the line between the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), a component of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), and the Ministry of Education (MOE), making it difficult for the entity’s true identity, allegiances and affiliations to emerge.
According to the National Consultant of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Project in Liberia, Dr. Wollor Topor, “At one point the FTI would run to the MOE when the going gets rough; and at other times, it would claim to be under the umbrella of the FDA.”
Dr. Topor argued that a clear definition and direction was needed for the institute, during his presentation on “Strategic Documentation on Forest Education and Financial Options” last Wednesday at the FDA Compound in Whenin Town, outside Monrovia.
The report on the way forward and transformation of the FTI was featured during the ITTO Project Validation workshop. Other topics discussed were legality framework strategy; administration and financial strategy; teaching approach; and strategy regarding forest and environmental organization.
Dr. Topor also underscored the importance of the FTI in the production of middle level forest managers and called on the FDA management to pay special attention to the FTI in terms of instructional staff, among other things.
Earlier in his opening statement, FDA Managing Director, Harrison S. Karnwea Sr., appealed for international assistance toward the sustainability of the ITTO as it strives to upgrade the status of the FTI.
Mr. Karnwea thanked FDA partners including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UK-Aid and European Union (EU) for revamping the war-ravished central offices which he said has restored the lost image of the entity.
For his part, FTI Executive Director, Jeremiah F. Karmo, recounted the relevance of the institute and prayed for more support to take it to the next level.
The objective of the one day validation, according to Mr. Karmo, was to among other things establish a small-scale forest-based industry to specifically create business for forest-based products and to mobilize forest resources small nature-based enterprise, as well.
Participants were drawn from various sectors including FDA senior staff, representatives from the academia, the FTI Board, and donor partners.