President Sirleaf makes special remarks during the dedication of the Peace Corps - Liberia headquaters
Liberian Leader Dedicates New Peace Corps-Liberia Office
MONROVIA, September 10 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described the dedication of the headquarters of Peace Corps – Liberia as a clear indication that the Peace Corps are back.
“The opening of your office is a clear indication that the Peace Corps are back and have come to stay,” she said, noting that the scale of their interventions has made them a household name in Liberia.
The Liberian leader thanked the United States Ambassador Deborah Malac and the people of the United States who continue to remain a true ally.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian Chief Executive made the remarks at the dedication of the new headquarters of Peace Corps-Liberia on 11th Street, Sinkor on Wednesday, September 9.
She said Government waits anxiously for their return to take up their assignments in various parts of the country as this will open a new chapter aimed at the cross-pollination of skills and knowledge.
“We encourage you to move fast so that we can resume such golden opportunity,” she stressed.
On July 30, 2014 the Peace Corps temporarily removed its Volunteers from Liberia, due to the increasing spread of the Ebola Virus Disease.
There were 108 volunteers working in the area of education prior to the outbreak.
Peace Corps has a remarkable history in Liberia.
More than 3,800 Peace Corps Volunteers served in Liberia between 1962 and 1990, at times with as many as 350 Volunteers serving concurrently.
During those years, they supported Liberia’s development efforts with emphasis on education, agriculture, rural development, and health education. Although the program closed in 1990 with the outbreak of the civil war, the Peace Corps were always fondly remembered in Liberia.
Since their return to Liberia in October 2008, upon the special request of President Sirleaf, a cadre of Liberian college graduates of the National Youth Volunteer Program paired with Peace Corps through mentorship.
“To date 300 young college graduates are beneficiaries of skills transfer,” the Liberian leader disclosed, emphasizing that volunteers have mentored county health teams, facilitated parent/teacher associations, supported refugee relief efforts, built libraries and upcountry learning resource centers, trained teachers, and taught at nursing schools.
She indicated that the Peace Corps have enjoyed close and supportive relationships with both the Ministries of Health and Education to ensure that its efforts are aligned with national strategic priorities.
Currently, the Liberian leader noted that Peace Corps’ primary focus is in secondary education with most Volunteers serving as math, science and language arts teachers at public junior and senior high schools and is motivated to assist the country in creating its next generation of leaders.
President Sirleaf also expressed gratitude to the Peace Corps for their support in conducting meaningful programs during the vacation aimed at building capacity. They trained 126 school administrators – nine of which were females; representing 63 schools from 14 of the 15 counties. “We owe the Peace Corps a debt of gratitude for starting to focus on literacy and for working on food security,” the Liberian leader acknowledged.
She also, in a special way, recognized the efforts and sacrifices of the local Liberian staff that have been working along with the Peace Corps Volunteers who worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Ebola outbreak educating communities on Ebola prevention and sensitization.