Pres. Sirleaf to Dedicate Chief Suah Koko Center

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expected to perform the dedicatory ceremony for Chief Suah Koko Center for Rural Women’s Empowerment on Monday, June 9, at the Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security.The ceremony is part of a number of activities commemorating the five-year anniversary of the ABIC.The event will take place at the newly constructed edifice of the Chief Suah Koko Center situated on the campus of Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County and will be graced by senior government officials, traditional leaders, local authorities, national and international partners including the Executive Director of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Dr. Theodosia Sowa. The Suah Koko Center will be ‘first-a-center’ that will provide for the exclusive training, development and empowerment of rural women in Liberia.  It is named in honor of Madam Suah Koko, a prominent and renowned Liberian female paramount chief in the 1800s.  She is known historically as a legendary peacemaker and stateswoman, when women were rarely seen and even more rarely heard.  Her diplomatic forays to get warring chiefs to join the Republic of Liberia and establish a strong nation is still unsurpassed.The completion of the physical structure of the Chief Suah Koko Center fulfills a promise by President Sirleaf at the launch of the Angie Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in Fendell during the International Women’s Colloquium on March 8, 2009.During that event, President Sirleaf praised women, whose contributions to Liberia remain of great historical significance, pinpointing Madam Suah Koko, as a national hero. The President stated that whereas, Angie Brooks was Liberia’s icon, admired and respected within the international circle, Madam Suah Koko was an emblem of peace and was hailed nationally for her numerous contributions to the Republic of Liberia. The Liberian leader noted that based on these contributions, a center specifically for the empowerment and capacity building of rural women would be constructed in honor of Madam Suah Koko.The Angie Brooks International Center then committed itself to secure funding for the construction of the Chief Suah Koko Center with the intent to create linkage between the two entities and to support the Liberian Government’s endeavor to empower women through the Ministry of Gender and Development. The project started since 2010 with support from national and international partners including the Government of Canada and ECOBank Liberia.  The government through the office of the President provided the remaining funding for the successful completion of the Center.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Good News in Ebola Fight: At least Five have ‘Successfully Recovered’

first_imgAuthorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) have told the Daily Observer that at least five persons who were tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD), have now successfully recovered and have tested ‘negative.’According to Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah, four of the five, who are in Lofa and one in Montserrado, have now been “reintegrated” back into their respective communities.“This is a good news in our fight against the disease,” Asst. Min. Nyenswah, a Public Health Expert, said. “I am told that one of the Lofa survivors is a member of the Voinjama AG Church. There was a big celebration by the church members for the recovery of their colleague,” he added.The Asst. Health Minister, who is also the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the nation, said the Government, through the Health Ministry wants to use those survivors as ambassadors to raise the hope of anyone contracting the disease that they, too, can survive. They would also tell the nation the kind of care they are given by health workers, some of whom are working 24/7 spreading health tips on the prevention of the disease.However, our Health Correspondent said it is a known fact that surviving the Ebola virus disease has to be by sheer miracle, as the disease has no known cure at the moment and it has a 90 percent case fatality rate. This means that nine out of 10 persons, who are confirmed positive with the virus die within two to 21 days. The five, whose names are yet undisclosed and were discharged Monday, July 7, had, upon arrival, tested positive but underwent treatment and laboratory results later showed negative.It can be recalled that in April a family, who had been quarantined following the death of one of their members, was reintegrated back into the community in Firestone, Margibi County after being tested negative, even though they had not been tested positive, initially.Forty-eight-year-old Fallah Taylor, head of a Foya Family, had had contact with his wife, who died after contracting the disease. Mr. Taylor was later declared free from the virus and reintegrated into the community by the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Bernice Dahn.Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has said that at least 41 persons have now been confirmed killed by the virus since the outbreak was reported in Liberia on March 22. However, the Ministry also said that 46 other deaths, have reported to be in the “probable” and “suspected” cases; this brings the total number of deaths to 87 in the “confirmed, probable and suspected” category.Of the number of deaths in all the cases, 47 are reported to have taken place in Lofa, five in Margibi and 35 in Montserrado. Among these deaths are 11 health workers.The Ministry further said it has so far confirmed 63 nationally to have contracted the virus and additional 38 and 30 fall within the probable and suspected cases, making it 131 cases in all the cases, including “probable, confirmed and suspected.”The Ministry further encourages the public to take the following precautionary measures during this Ebola emergency period, “not to eat dead bush animals. Be very careful in handling fresh bush meat; avoid bathing dead bodies of suspected patients; avoid eating plums/mangoes and other fruits partially eaten by bats; avoid eating monkeys, bats, and bamboos and prevent coming in direct contact with body fluids of infected persons or dead persons.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

After Ebola, What?

first_imgThe Ebola scourge will wane and it will eventually go away. When it does, and even before it does, we should ask ourselves these two crucial questions: what lessons have we learned from this ferocious attack and what do we do, moving forward, so that we are no longer crippled by events like this and as the Prophet Joel said, make sure that the damages the locusts had caused are restored?I will try to present my views in a plain ordinary manner without all the academic jargon and nuances of language and logic. I submit to you that what we need now is plain ordinary language that all can speak, hear and understand and help to solve problems for now and for the future.It is disheartening that while Liberia is asking for international help of money, materials and personnel, some Liberians, in high administrative positions, who should be home heavily and deeply involved in solution strategies and helping to formulate and implement policies to combat this ugly scourge, have left (some say, fled) the country. They expect an American, a European, a Ugandan or an Asian to come and help while they are securely ensconced in a safe, far away, country. It is a shame and it will be a real test of leadership how the President deals with such unpatriotic and recalcitrant persons. I was one of those excited about the President’s election. Dr. Amos Sawyer had sent me an urgent note about the election and we were both utterly elated and excited about it and the possibilities of the new era that was dawning. I am still excited but still anxiously waiting for the deliverance of the goods. I am not unaware that development takes time, long time sometimes, and that there is a process of accretion involved, but it seems time is running out in Liberia. If the goods are not delivered in a timely and an even and fair manner, and when the cost of the delivered service far exceeds its true cost because of the “middle-man” siphoning effect, even what is delivered is not appreciated and a negative perception of what is delivered and what can be delivered in the long run, sets in. And that is not good for confidence in government and in governance.Liberia is blessed with enormous human and natural resources and even excellent soil for agriculture. One lesson we should learn, I suggest, is that if we do not effectively and honestly husband these resources in developing the infrastructure and our country, issues like Ebola and other catastrophes can always debilitate, if not ruin us completely. To me the infrastructure involves intense focus on education, health, entrepreneurship and roads and communication. We should learn from this Ebola trauma that developing our health, education and road infrastructures, using the enormous resources with which we are blessed, should be of utmost priority.But we have not been able to do those things properly, consistently, diligently and well because of the crippling and demoralizing effects of the big elephant in the room, CORRUPTION. It is my humble and considered opinion that until we can curb and abate the corrosive, demoralizing and debilitating effects of CORRUPTION, we cannot see or go the way forward. There will be little or no development and we may even see ourselves going backwards or retrogressing. And that is not good.CORRUPTION is the enemy we should look for first and fight and defeat. But WE are the enemy we are looking for. WE, collectively, are the cause of CORRUPTION. My good friend and colleague, Dr. W. Penn Handwerker, once started his article on corruption with an apt fable. I will summarize and abbreviate it here in my own words:  Once upon a time there were three brothers from a small village in a big county in a small country. They were all working for the government. The first son got tons of money from corruption but spent all of it on himself with wine, women, fine clothes and stuff like that. He never did anything for his extended family or his village and people. He wanted to be chief but his people turned him down and when he died, none of them came for his funeral. The second son was very honest. He refused every bribe and was not involved in any corruption. He managed well what the government paid him and was frugal and took care of his immediate family by loving his wife and parents and making sure that his children are well educated. Because he lived a Spartan life, he was not able to help his extended family, village of people as they wanted him to do and even refused to help some get scholarships that they were not qualified for. When he died, no one attended his funeral except his immediate family and some friends who thought of him as an honest saint. The third son was the epitome of corruption. There was no bribe too small or too big for him to turn down. He was a wheeler and dealer and was known all around town. He sent tons of money to his village and people; he gave lucrative contracts to his immediate and extended families; built schools and gave scholarships to many young people whether they deserved it or not; he built roads and brought power to his people; he gave huge sums of money to churches and mosques and the pastors and priests and imams all knew how he made his money. Everybody honored and looked up to him, sought his help and wanted to be related to him. Everybody knew how he made his money. His village and county begged him to become a chief or senator and when he died, his whole village, his whole county and the country came to his funeral and he was given several honors.The point Dr. Handwerker was making is that we are the real ENABLERS of corrupt people and CORRUPTION. We adore them and we go to them for help. We give them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Once this happens, it becomes a self-feeding process. We go to them to meet our needs illicitly and they feel good for how important they now are or have become, and they do for us what we want and we feel good and go to them and so on and so on. We are truly the enemy we are looking for to eradicate. As we blame those who are corrupt we should also blame ourselves as enablers of CORRUPTION. My corrupt official is really not corrupt. It is the other official who is lining her/his pockets and those close to her/him who are corrupt. We accept the corruption of our woman or man and reject and condemn the corruption of the other person’s woman or man. We are the real enablers. We are, indeed, the enemy we are condemning. We should recognize it and try to rid ourselves of it.We have attempted to identify two of the three legs of corruption. We who, in order to meet our needs illicitly, look up to and feed the ego of the corrupt official and the corrupt official whose ego, now being fed, continues the corrupt practices. The third leg is the international community. The developed countries know how and where those ill-gotten and stolen monies are used and kept. They recently helped Nigeria, even in the smallest of amounts, with the stolen monies of President Abacha. They can help Liberia enormously in our development efforts by exposing and repatriating some of those monies and ill-gotten goods that have left the shores and development of Liberia to their shores and their development. As an aside, I may also suggest that they help us out as we wrestle with issue of dual-citizenship. They know which Liberian is also a citizen of their country. They can either identify them for us or make it possible for us to find the way to identify them. I am cognizant of diplomatic nuances but when countries they want to help are facing real and possibly destabilizing issues and issues related to their health, growth and development, they have the moral and philanthropic obligation to help.I submit to you that if we restrain ourselves from enabling the corrupt officials and the international entities help us to expose and repatriate their stolen monies, we will be on our way to true, vibrant and enduring development. Liberia will be an oasis of health, wealth and development: the Switzerland of Africa with every mouth fed, every body clothed and every individual with excellent healthcare.  Finally, I will recommend to you the recent Commencement address at Cuttington University given by the respected journalist and the doyen of journalism in Liberia, Kenneth Y. Best. It truly explores and recommends that one of the significant ways forward for Liberia is by educating ourselves, learning to manage our resources and not selling them, our lands and even ourselves, to outsiders and foreigners. It is a seminal presentation that should make us wake up and do the right thing for ourselves and for our country. It should be required reading for all.Liberia is enormously blessed. It is the management of the resources that is at stake. With our abundant resources and a population of our size, less than four million, we should be the Switzerland of Africa where there is enough for everyone and not all for a few and none for the rest of the people. If our resources are canalized, corralled and husbanded well, we should truly be a rich, prosperous and thriving country to the honor and glory of the Creator who endowed and blessed us with such abundant land, human and natural resources. We owe it to ourselves and, especially, to the generations to come to be true, productive and honest custodians of our resources, like the seed that fell on fertile soil, producing multiple harvests for now and for the future.Dr. Igolima T. D. Amachree is a retired professor of Sociology and former head of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, USA, and also a former professor and head of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Liberia in Monrovia, Liberia. You can reach him at it-amachree@wiu.edu.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘God Does Not Ask Our Opinion’

first_img“When God is about to do something great, a miracle, he does not ask whether we are ready; He makes a move without asking for our intervention.”  These were the words of Rev. Sando E. Townsend, moderator of the Presbytery of Liberia, delivering the funeral discourse over remains of the late ruling elder Daniel Webster Urey V on Saturday.  He explained that something had happened that changed the status quo and there is a need to return to the former glory.The death of a loved one or family member, he said, is an obstruction in the status quo which is a difficult to accept, bringing about pain, distress and, most of all, separation.“For you and me to be able to appreciate the Almighty God, there has to be hard and troubling days, tough times and difficult situations. There has to be a little rain in our sunshine if we are to give God the glory. If there were no difficult days, we would not appreciate God,” he noted.“Had David not faced the giant Goliath,” said Rev. Townsend, “David would not have known the power and goodness of God.  Had Moses and the people of Israel not faced the Red Sea, they would not have appreciated all that God did to bring them out of slavery in Egypt into the Promised Land.”According to him, death or any other serious challenge in life is a compelling reality which we are forced to face because it is part of the circle of life. In the case of death, he explained, “when the breath leaves the body, the spirit returns to the supreme Being.”But the moderator, who is also pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia, reassured the bereaved family and Careysburg’s crowded First Presbyterian Church by quoting St. Paul: “All things work together for the good of them that love God.”Rev.Townsend described the late ruling elder D. Webster Urey, V as a man who loved his country, his church, his family and people in general.Many tributes were paid to the late Mr. Urey by individuals and institutions, including the mayor of the City of Careysburg, Madam Anna Phillips, the Ministry of National Security, Lonestar Cell MTN, the Presbyterian Todee Mission’s Ophelia Johnson and the Presbyterian Churches of Monrovia and Careysburg.Also paying tributes were the family, including, the Boyce Family of Bensonville, from which the mother D. Webster V and his siblings hailed; and children, represented by their eldest sister, Ms. Emma Sofia Urey.Emma, named after her grandmother, Mrs. Emma Boyce Urey, tearfully underscored her father’s contributions to the family both in Liberia and the United States.Their father, who was a graduate of Cuttington (now Cuttington University), said he insisted upon them all remaining in school to ensure themselves a sound education.  He also urged them throughout their lives to be respectful children both at home and outside.  “We will miss our father in every way,” she said.In is tribute, Mr. Benoni Urey, younger brother of D. Webster V, acknowledged a steadfast relationship with his brother over the years, from the time he (Ben) got to know himself.Benoni explained that his brother was everything to him, including brother, father, strength, political advisor.  Ben believes that his brother blesses him even now, wherever he is.“It is difficult to say goodbye to someone you love; it is difficult to say bye to someone you think would never die.”Ben recalled how when his brother D. Webster was imprisoned at the Post Stocade following the coup in 1980, he (Benoni) had to find a Chemistry teaching job at Zion Academy on Benson Street because he heard that many members of the People’sRedemption Council (PRC), who staged the coup, attended there.  It was through this way that he was able to befriend one of the PRC people and have his brother freed.In paying tribute, the First Presbyterian Church of Careysburg described ruling elder D. Webster, V as the bridge used to bring three groups of people, including the poor and the rich.The Daily Observer was informed that the Ureys came to Liberia in 1856 from Kentucky in the United States.  They were led by several women, including their leader, Ms. Phoebe Urey.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more