The Liberian government, through its line ministries and agencies, is now taking giant steps toward revamping the nation’s meteorological sector.
Those government entities, including the Ministries of Transport, Lands, Mines and Energy, Agriculture and Liberia Airport Authority (LAA) have now sent 27 of their “best staffers” to Nigeria for short-term meteorological (met) courses, which range from three months to one year. The 27 are set to depart Liberia today, Friday, September 2.
Before Transport Minister Bush, whose Ministry is the lead government entity for the Met sector, bade farewell to the trainees, she told the audience, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), that the Liberian government was doing all to now revamp its Met sector.
Minister Bush said donor agencies gave the government US$6 million for the project and the money is being managed by the UNDP.
“One of the things that would be done with this money is to setup Met centers around the country and these smaller centers will feed information to the main center, which is now being constructed on a piece of land that was provided by LAA,” she stated.
The Transport Minister also disclosed that as a part of the project, they were using US$200,000 of the US$6M to send the 27 persons, including two females, to Nigeria for the training.
“We are building your capacities so that you can come back and help your country,” she urged them.
Speaking on behalf of the donors, UNDP Country Director, Dr. Kamil Kayode Kamaluddeen said the UN was pleased to be a part of the project.
Speaking directly to the 27 persons, Dr. Kamaluddeen said I have three main things to tell you: “You weren’t just picked; you were thoroughly vetted and screened and found qualified for this exercise. You are going as ambassadors for your country. You are going there not just as students. You need to fully appreciate the weight going to represent this country. Go and make the most of the training.” Lastly he told them: “You are breaking new ground. Once you have gone and come back, we won’t need to go back there again. You will transfer the skills you have; you will grow in it.”
He stated that the UNDP was supporting this process in order to deepen the capacity that Liberia requires to manage its own development.
“Every country that has made progress in this world, in history, is able to master the environment. The farmer masters the land that is why he knows how and when to grow corn, maize or palm. When we master weather, we will be able to improve aviation traffic and safety. We will be able to advise our farmers when floods and heavy rains will come,” he stated.
For his part, Mr. Ben Karmo, a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admonished the 27 men and women to take their training seriously as he himself had lived and studied in Nigeria. Mr. Karmo said the EPA was glad that what they started in 2004 had now come to fruition.
Speaking on behalf of himself and his colleagues, Mr. Amos G. Yloe, who is a staff in the Division of Met within the Transport Ministry, thanked the Liberian government through his ministry and others for affording them the opportunity to go and advance their education. He urged his colleagues to be good ambassadors for Liberia.
Seven of the 27 are enrolled in a six-month course in Agro Met; seven will attend a four-month study in Data Processing. Six of them will stay for four months training in Aviation Met, while three will train in Conventional Met Instrument Course for three months and the last two will stay for one year in Nigeria studying Medium Met Technician Course.