…Hails them for ‘invaluable services’
Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has praised members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Volunteer Program assigned to Liberia for their ‘invaluable services’ to the country, a release from the VP office has said.
The ECOWAS National Office, in partnership with the ECOWAS Volunteers Program, in February 2018 inducted 20 volunteers from Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone and Nigeria at a welcoming and induction ceremony held in Monrovia.
The volunteers are mainly young specialists in various fields of human endeavors, supporting a regional initiative to strengthen peace-building, national reconstruction and enhance development in Liberia.
According to the release, the VP Taylor spoke on Monday, September 30, 2019, when ECOWAS Ambassador Tunde Ajisomo and a group of volunteers hosted an hour-long interactive dialogue on the activities of the ECOWAS Volunteers Program held in the Capitol Building office of the vice president.
VP Taylor said the assignment of the volunteers, especially in various public schools, was significantly contributing to the student based performance in the country.
“We are grateful to the team for the life-long impact you are making on our students,” she told the volunteers.
VP Taylor added, “Even though we are still confronted with capacity issues, many of our teachers have been trained and deployed across the country, and your inclusion into our school system is an opportunity for all of us. Therefore, we encourage our teachers to closely work with you all to further build their capacity.”
She underscored the need for robust measures to address the challenges confronting Liberia, and also expressed gratitude that the young professionals have voluntarily signed up to assist the country through the ECOWAS framework, utilizing their professional skills and competencies.
“I think as volunteers, your selection process was vigorous. I, therefore, have no doubt that the crew we have here is the best. You are not only volunteers but mentors. So your task is huge. We have lots of challenges and you are here to help us fix those challenges,’’ she told the volunteers.
She continued, “As the government and people of Liberia, we hold all 20 volunteers to your oath to support and help us fix those challenges both in the urban and rural area of Liberia.”
Vice President Taylor pledged her office’s commitment to closely coordinate with the National Office of ECOWAS in supporting the Volunteer Program in the country.
After carefully listening to presentations from individual ECOWAS Volunteers on successes and challenges in their various places of assignment, Vice President Taylor provided two brand new desktop computers to the Paynesville Central High School where two of the volunteers are assigned, promising to make a subsequent intervention at other institutions.
Earlier, Amb Ajisomo lauded the volunteers and encouraged them to continue utilizing the opportunity to impart knowledge and skills to other colleagues in different sectors.
In line with its Vision 2020, Ajisomo said ECOWAS has set up the Volunteer Program, which cuts across all areas/sectors of activities of the ECOWAS Commission and other Community institutions, to serve the needs of member states.
Amb. Ajisomo said that the program seeks to consolidate peace, recovery, national reconciliation and rehabilitation in crisis-affected communities, with the volunteer corps strengthening the capacities of local organizations by assisting them in the development and implementation of core projects and program.
He added, “Other key roles of the ECOWAS Volunteers include promoting a culture of peace and gender equality in their host communities, establishing and supporting partnerships between communities, linking up communities with technical and financial support services and networking and collaborating with development partners.”
According to Amb. Ajisomo, the volunteers from the sub-region are supporting in the areas of agriculture, education, health, youth and sports, gender, social and children’s protection.
“Working towards ECOWAS’ goal requires making members of the public understand the workings of the organization and taking ownership of it. That is why we are not only gathering here to explain the significance of the ECOWAS Volunteers Program to the vice president but also to the Liberian people,” Amb. Ajisomo said.