Bridging Capacity Gaps: GVL Sends Seven Liberians Abroad For Masters

Seven Liberian engineers have left the country for Jarkata, Indonesia, where they will take graduate studies in Mill Engineering under the full sponsorship of Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a giant oil palm company.

GVL entered a 65-year agreement with Government of Liberia in 2009 to develop approximately 500,000 acres of land in three counties—Sinoe, River Gee and Rivercess—into oil palm plantation. but there are huge capacity gaps in the with respect to experts who could make the company meet its goals.

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Recipients of the scholarship including Joseph Garwor S. Nyemah Kreejardiah, W. Aloysius Kpogbah, Kokulo G. Kpanyanwu, Theophilus T. K. Kambo and Edward Howard

The beneficiaries of the GVL international scholarship program are expected to return to Liberia in about two years to take up managerial positions at the company, construct and run mills, and contribute to the rebuilding of Liberia.
“We are very happy and we will not let you down; we will come back to make you and Liberia proud,” the spokesman of the scholarship beneficiaries Joseph Garwor, a mechanical engineer who and his six other colleagues will study Mill Engineering (for palm oil production), stated. “We will go out there and prove ourselves,” the elated Garwor asserted.

Those going along with him include S. Nyemah Kreejardiah, W. Aloysius Kpogbah, Kokulo G. Kpanyanwu, Theophilus T. K. Kambo and Edward Howard.

The beneficiaries were selected out of a poll of 64 applicants through a very competitive process including written and oral tests that started three years ago, Jean Hannah-Thompson, GVL Career Manager said.

Out of the 64 applications, 34 were civil engineer, eight electrical engineers, three mechanical engineers, four building construction, four electronics, one mathematics and one agriculture applicants, she disclosed.

“Today we are proud to say that we have three electrical engineers, three civil engineers and one mechanical engineer who will be going to Indonesia on tomorrow [ Oct. 30] representing Liberia,” she said.

Government officials including Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf and Senators Joseph Nagbe and Peter Coleman respectively of Sinoe and Grand Kru counties (where the company operates), among others, applauded the initiative and praised GVL for living up to promises it made to the people of Liberia.

“Golden Veroluem is doing well for Liberia; they’ve built modern housing units for Liberians who work there….Now, they are sending Liberians abroad for specialized training,” Varney Sirleaf said.

He hailed the beneficiaries of the scholarships and urged them to do better, noting, “Nobody will build this country better, except us, Liberians. Take advantage of this golden opportunity and come back to rebuild your country.”

Senator Nagbe said he had since been convinced that GVL was a serious company after he visited the company’s site in Indonesia. “We went; we saw and knew the commitment the GVL has to rebuild Liberia,” the Sinoe Lawmaker averred, before lambasting the public for what he called “undue criticisms” over the signing of concession agreements.

“When we pass laws we are criticized, when we don’t pass laws we are criticized….When we pass it quickly they accuse us of getting brown envelopes,” Nagbe asserted. He said the GVL deal was one of the best and Liberians are beginning to reap the benefits.

His Grand Kru Counterpart, Coleman, backed him on how GVL’s operation was changing lives in one of the country’s poorest regions where food insecurity stands at a whopping 65%, according the Ministry of Agriculture.

“GVL operations is driving poverty away….Our women are working, some taking home US$250 a month,” the medical doctor stated.

The two lawmakers advised the young engineers to go and come back with the knowledge. “Don’t make us shame because we are depending on you,” Coleman said.

Agriculture officials said GVL is one of the many concession companies living up to its agreement with the Liberian people.

The company, they said, has dished out at least US$300,000 in local scholarships during the last three years, and more are expected to come. Writes D Kaihenneh Sengbeh, dakasen1978@yahoo.com, +231886586531

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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