Sinoe County – More than 350 children in Butaw and surrounding communities are enjoying a new High School and teachers’ residence with full sanitation facilities valued at USD$128,000.00 constructed and dedicated recently by oil palm company Golden Veroleum (Liberia) Inc. (‘GVL’).
The projects are in partial fulfillment of the many project commitments made to the people of Butaw in the Memorandum of Understanding Incorporating Social Agreement (MOU/SA) signed between GVL and Butaw District Communities on February 10, 2017. The construction of the High School in the area which is the first of its kind, now allows students to acquire high school education without travelling long distances.
Prior to the school dedication, the company provided 350 pieces of armchairs and several teaching and learning materials to support the school and relieves students from sitting on concrete blocks and baboon plated chairs.
Speaking at the dedication ceremony held on the school campus, GVL Vice President for Sustainability, Strategy, and Stakeholder engagement, Elvis G. Morris, lauded his team and the people of Butaw for the collaboration and said that the company is faced with many challenges but remains committed to fulfilling the promises made in the MOU/SA between the Butaw Community and Golden Veroleum (Liberia) Inc. “Thanks to those who made us to be here today to present valuable infrastructure that will bring life to our children for the future. The company will continue to work with local communities to improve social and economic opportunities,” said Mr. Morris.
Mr. Morris further disclosed that GVL has spent over US$290,000 this year to support schools in its concession areas in Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties under its GVL Educational Support (GES) program. The GES Program is intended to support the educational needs of both GVL employees’ dependents and pupils from the surrounding communities. He added that the program will run for three years beginning academic year 2020/2021.
Stressing the importance of education, the GVL Vice President for Sustainability, Strategy, and Stakeholder engagement called on the community to take advantage of the facility by encouraging their children to make use of the opportunity, as they are the future managers of the company. He then thanked the Ministry of Education for the support and collaboration.
For her part, the Regional Coordinator for Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education thanked GVL Management for constructing such a modern facility and the support to education. Madam Evelyna Kandakai who represented the Asst. Minister for Basic and Secondary Education said the decision by GVL to invest in education was never a mistake as education helps in the development of personalities, personal standards and transform the living standard of the life of every individual. “Your decision to invest in education was never a mistake” she stressed. Madam Kandakai called on the community to support the GVL investment in order to benefit from more developments and urged them to properly manage the school for its longevity.
Speaking in separate remarks, the Acting County Education Officer (CEO) of Sinoe County, Mr. Moses Tuwleh, and Butaw District Education Officer, Mr. Jarhwleh, praised GVL for the school project. He added that the construction of the school will boost the educational system in Butaw and surrounding districts and will also put an end to students travelling long distances to acquire high school education as was done in the past. “We are happy that GVL has put smiles on our faces, the construction of this school will boost education not only in Butaw but in Sinoe. It will put an end to long distance walking by students to acquire high school education.” they asserted.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Chairman of Butaw Abloteh Committee, Mr. Benedict Manawah and the Chairman of the Butaw Community Development Fund Committee, Mr. Doegmah Teah thanked the Management of GVL for being committed to the MOU signed with the community and acknowledged the many contributions GVL have made in Butaw, citing the construction of the Butaw seaside road, Ceedor Road as among the many development projects implemented by the company.” GVL is doing lot of good things here in Butaw and if anyone says GVL is doing nothing, that person is ungrateful” he lamented. Mr. Manawah further assured that the people of Butaw are willing to provide more land to the company for oil palm development as there has been peaceful co-existence between the two parties.
Receiving the keys to the facility, the principal of the Butaw School, Charles Tarpeh thanked GVL for the facility and pledged that the School will be properly managed and taken care of for the benefit of the communities’ children