-Urges locals to take ownership of the facilities
By Alvin Worzi and Ishmael F. Menkor
The United States Government through its Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with implementing partner JLN-B360/USAID Shine Project, dedicated and turned over two modern Laboratory Science Complexes to the administrations of two Community Colleges in Lofa and Nimba Counties. The facilities will be used by students studying the sciences, including Agriculture and Engineering.
The two Science Complexes are part of the USAID Shine Project, which are contracted by JLN-B360. The projects will benefit Nimba County Community College (NCCC), Lofa County Community College (LCCC), Grand Bassa Community College (BGCCC), University of Liberia, Cuttington University, and Liberia Institute for Public Administration.
Since the end of the Liberian war (1989-2003), the U.S. Government has been instrumental in rebuilding the country’s decimated infrastructure. While the economy has achieved a foundation for stability, the need for improved infrastructure will continue for facilities and institutions that support higher education, especially in Agriculture, Science, and Engineering, Natural Resource Management, Vocational Education and Agricultural Decentralization.
In an effort to provide support for these needs in the educational sector, the U.S. Government through USAID awarded JLN-B360 Joint Venture and the Sustainable High Impact Infrastructure for Education and Agriculture (SHINE) Project Contract No. AID-669-C-17-0000. The goal is to rebuild damaged infrastructure, expand existing infrastructure and construct new vertical structures.
SHINE will focus geographically in the six highly populated counties that surround the country’s key development corridors, including Bong, Grand Bassa, Lofa, Margibi, Montserrado and Nimba. This contract will run from February 7, 2017 – February 6, 2020.
The modern laboratory facilities, with another currently under construction at the Grand Bassa County Community College (GBCCC), are expected to be shortly dedicated and turned over.
The cost of the construction of the complexes is put at a little over US$1.3 million.
At a brief dedicatory ceremony held at LCCC on Thursday, April 4, 2019 in Voinjama City, JLN-B360/USAID SHINE Project, Chief of Party Jacob M. Fayad, described the complexes as a “Goodwill” gesture from the American Government to the people of Liberia. As such, he said, the beneficiary institutions must exert all efforts to ensure that the buildings are properly maintained and sustained.
According to Mr. Fayad, a Liberian, anticipates that the modern science laboratory complexes will serve their purpose by enhancing the education of Liberians, especially those of rural communities.
The complexes in both Lofa contain four labs and two classrooms with four staff offices. The Nimba facility contains two science labs, each with a library, staff office, bathrooms with some chemical substances to jump-start the practical aspect of lessons being taught in the classroom.
The JLN-B360/USAID SHINE PROJECT chief of party told media practitioners in Voinjama and Sanniquellie that the construction of a specific laboratory complex was a result of request from each school administration.
A representative who spoke on behalf of USAID expressed the United States’ Government excitement in working with the government and people of Liberia to provide basic social services to its citizens.
In a separate remark, LCCC President, Dr. Samuel K. Ngaima, expressed gratitude to the US government for the facility, nothing that the people of Lofa will continuously remain grateful to the American people for the building.
According to Dr. Ngaima, the turning-over of the facility has enhanced the institution’s dream of elevating the college to a four-year degree granting institution.
He disclosed that with efforts from employees of LCCC, a nursing department comprising four classrooms is currently under construction with another commitment from Lofaians residing in the Americas to construct a modern facility for Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET), which he said is cardinal to the growth of any nation.
In a related development, the President of the Nimba County Community College (NCCC), Edward Lama Wonkeryor, said the dedication of the complex signifies the US Government’s commitment to enhance the country’s educational system, especially in the areas of the sciences and technology.
Wonkeryor said as in Lofa, NCCC is currently working with the National Commission on Higher Education to elevate the College to a full degree granting institution. As such, he wants for USAID to provide the students and staffs of NCCC internet facilities for two years. This, he said, will enhance the learning abilities of both the students and the lecturers.
The two dedicatory ceremonies were attended by Dr. Maurice Ogutu, USAID Deputy Director for Economic Growth, who proxied for USAID Head of Mission, Dr. Anthony Chan.