What Happened to the Kokoyah Millennium Village Dream?

first_imgOn Tuesday and Wednesday this week, our team of Investigative Reporters produced two stories detailing what now seems to have been a good pilot education project in rural Liberia which seem to be on the brink of failure.In those stories, we reported that due to the nonchalant disposition of stakeholders, a project designed to lift a whole community from the doldrums of poverty is floundering, to the great disappointment of the hapless and impoverished would be beneficiaries. The Millennium Village concept developed by former Harvard University don, Jeffrey Sachs, now Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, portends  methodologies to reduce by half  extreme poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as  providing universal primary education.When Professor Sachs came to Liberia in 2007, in the lead up to the launch of the Kokoya Millennium Village Project (KMVP) in Liberia, he said “The priority areas for investment in the project will be in the areas of agriculture, health, education and infrastructure.”On education, Sachs said, “Our commitment has to be that there are schools for the children to attend, teachers to teach and the books and supplies to learn from.” Under this component of the KMVP, four schools in Kokoya, Bong County were targeted: Wesseh Gardea, U-LAH and Quoikapor elementary and junior high schools in Botota and Quoikapor, respectively, and the Tugbahblee elementary schools.  These schools would each have a computer literacy program under an arrangement with the Sony- Erickson computer giant.Erickson, in collaboration with   a local communication provider, would have operated a Caller Users Group (CUG) program to aid health and community workers, teachers and Kokoya statutory authority in the discharge of their duties.According to Sachs, agriculture would have taken center stage  as investment in food  production and income earnings to lift communities in the district out of poverty.These priority areas were to be developed in the many Millennium Villages which were to be built across the country had the pilot project proved successful. The pilot project in Kokoyah and another  somewhere in River  Gee County were to be completed and unveiled in 2015, the cut off point of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) and the introduction of the Global Development Goals.These potentially great ideas projected in the KMVP, seem far from what is now obtaining in Kokoyah District five years after the project got started. A cross-section of the population, who spoke with our reporters in Kokoya, expressed their disappointment over what they invariably described as a project on the brink of failure.Documents in our possession suggest that the Norwegian Government, key donor to the KMVP, was not happy over the manner in which the project was been implemented. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), lead implementer of the KMVP, under its Direct Implementation Modalities (DIM), agreed with the Norwegian evaluation team findings but cited reasons for apparent failure in implementing the project according to the proposal.The UNDP unreservedly blamed partners, especially the Norwegian Government, for what it called “gaps in funding which made it difficult, if not impossible to implement any meaningful activities in the project area.” UNDP also blamed the project failure on the high turnover of government officials, which created an absence of leadership and guidance from government side.Be that as it may, our reporters established that the KMVP has now been put in the hands of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), under what is now being termed as the National Implementation Modalities (NIM).  This followed a series of meetings among stakeholders. Under NIM, the MIA, working with a paltry US$1.4 Million, is expected to roll out a small part of the infrastructure program of the original KMVP.This we find to be a disservice   to the people of Kokoyah District, after raising their hopes so high and even causing other NGOs not to intervene in Kokoyah. The joke is told how, when Kokoyah citizens approached other NGOs to make interventions in certain areas of rural development, they replied,  “But you have got the biggest NGO operating in your district.”Judging from the Daily Observer’s findings, we still believed it is not too late to rollout the KMVP and ensure that the lives of our people in the deep backwoods of the Kokoyah forest are transformed for the better and their  children remain healthy and enrolled in schools with trained teachers and a state of the art computer literacy program.We urge the Ministries of Education and Internal Affairs and the Office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to liaise with the other stakeholders, UNDP and the Norwegian Government, in an urgent and expeditious attempt to salvage this all important pilot project.  It is too critical to the educational, economic and technological future of rural Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


Mother Mary Brownell at 86: What Are We Remembering of Her?

first_imgBusiness philosopher, Kevin Kruse said, “Life is about making an impact, not making an income.”It is predicated upon this philosophy that when the name Mary Brownell sounds in their ears, former Chief Justice Henry Reed Cooper, former Central Bank Governor Elias  Seleeby, banker C.TO. King, and many other prominent Liberians, recall their early school days, when they often shouted out, “Teacher Mary! Teacher Mary!”When women in close age range with her hear the name, they are quickly reminded of her bold, forthright approach to public issues, and the popular name, Mary B spills out. Mother Brownell could have no other inscription on her comfortable jeep’s license plate besides “Mary B. 3.”Residents of Brewerville,  outside Monrovia upon hearing the name without any comment following, will tremble because the bearer of that name is the one who initiated a school built in that part of Montserrado to provide free education to children of impoverished parents.Politicians also remember the name Mary Brownell as one who worked for the National Elections Commission (NEC) and left with a clean record.Parents, on the other hand, will sit and wish that they had been as successful as she in raising her children, including the celebrated Liberian musician and social activist, Miatta Fahnbulleh, and her brother, Dr. H. Boimah Fahnbulleh, Jr.Miatta says Mother B’s glittering (impressive) record of achievements remains in the life of her children and those of their generation for whom Ma Mary Brownell is indeed an inspirational figure in Liberian history.Her fellow parishioners of St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Camp Johnson Road, Monrovia, upon hearing the name, often praise God for giving them such a mother who motivates them when they are depressed.Mother Brownell was born 86 years ago today March 12, 1929, in Cavalla, Maryland County.  At age five, she was brought to Monrovia to begin her education. Her educational sojourn began at the Suehn Baptist Mission in the then Bomi Territory, (now Bomi County) in 1937 when women were not yet in the mainstream of education. Following the completion of her primary education, she enrolled at the high school division of Liberia College known subsequently as Laboratory High School and Martha Tubman Academy, where she obtained her high school diploma.With a passion for teaching, she pursued studies in Education and first obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Teacher’s College, University of Liberia, and later a Master’s from San Francisco State College (now University).  She became a passionate and lifelong teacher.  She started at the St. Patricks School and later became principal of the Botswain School.She also served as an administrator in the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), the Catholic School System and the Bong Mines School in Bong County.Mother Brownell is now retired and is not too often seen in public gatherings. One of the major events Mother Brownell attended in recent years was the University of Liberia’s commencement convocation in December, 2013, where she served as Commencement Speaker.In spite of her age, Mother Mary Brownell’s intellect and voice are still sharp—so sharp that she can perform even the teaching role.Comparing her youthful days to that of today’s generation, she wonders what will become of young people of today and Liberia in general considering the poor orientation of today’s youth.“There are too many differences between your days and my days,” she told a duo of Daily Observer reporters.  “During our days, children, especially girls, could not stay outdoors after 6 p.m., and when any parent of a different family saw a neighbor’s child outside after 6 p.m., that parent would discipline the child and the child would not be a fool enough to complain to his or her parents, lest he or she receive double punishment.” “In our days no single parent disciplined or trained a child, but parents did it collectively.  No different parent will do it for another person’s child today because either the child insults that person or his/her parents take that person to court,” she said.Mother Brownell is of the strongest view that because female children at early ages are used as bread winners and are allowed to be exposed to the streets, cases of rape as well as unwanted pregnancy continue to rise as do children without responsible fathers, found daily on the streets.These circumstances, she said, will also increase poverty and crime in the country.She frowned at gender advocacy groups, including the Ministry of Gender and Child Protection, for doing little to initiate programs that will address the plight of street girls, noting, “They (advocacy groups) are only there to advocate for funds that will not be used to address the purposes for which they are intended.”Mother Brownell said her 86th birth anniversary will, for personal reasons, not be elaborately celebrated.Nevertheless, the invitation is still extended to friends, acquaintances, loved ones and well wishers to pass by and share the affection and joy of the day.For all that Mother Mary Brownell is remembered for in the Liberian society, all who have felt her impact, including the owner of this intellectual property, are eager to wish her a Happy 86th Birthday and 50 more robust years!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


Miller will leave empty-handed

first_imgAustria’s Mario Matt won the slalom in a combined time of 1 minute, 57.33 seconds. Italy’s Manfred Moelgg took the silver, and Jean-Baptiste Grange of France won the bronze. While Lindsey Kildow collected a pair of silver medals in the speed events and Julia Mancuso another in the combined – the U.S. men have been shut out. The last time the U.S. men failed to bring home a medal from the worlds was 1999. They’ll have one last shot in today’s team event, which Miller will skip because of fatigue and injury. Miller’s best result at the worlds was a sixth-place finish in the combined. He was seventh in the downhill, 15th in the giant slalom and 24th in the super-G. It’s a far cry from the last worlds in Bormio, Italy, in 2005, when Miller stunned the powerful Austrian Wunderteam by taking gold in both speed events – downhill and super-G. Later that season, Miller became the first American to take the coveted World Cup overall since Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney in 1983. “It’s an alarming trend for a guy that should be having big results,” U.S. men’s head coach Phil McNichol said. “He came up short again at a big championship. But I don’t think Torino and this event are a good comparison. “Bode came in here much more prepared than at the Olympics. He worked hard and we trained hard.” Despite his latest washout, Miller remains the only skier with four World Cup wins this season, two in downhill and two in super-G. “Bode’s been really pumped, really focused this season. He won the Lauberhorn in January, his first big downhill win in Europe,” McNichol said. “His attention span has gone further into the season.” It’s tough to pinpoint why he can’t pull it together at major championships. “I’m not going to tell you it’s easy to get into the head of Bode Miller,” McNichol said. Only one-third of the 74-man field completed both legs. Miller lasted longer than many of the favorites on the aggressive Olympia course before tweaking his knee and skiing off course, ending his lofty bid to become the first male skier with world titles in all five events. Miller has finished just one slalom in the past 13 months. Though Miller isn’t exactly over the hill at 29, he’s on the riper end of the spectrum when it comes to ski racing. It is generally the younger skiers – still lithe and agile – who excel in the technical events. “It definitely gets your attention if the kind of athlete that Bode is comes up dry for two championships in a row,” McNichol said. “I wouldn’t say he’s washed up, definitely not.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img ARE, Sweden – Bode Miller and the U.S. men’s ski team are left with a blank look at the world championships. After straining his knee during the first run of Saturday’s slalom, Miller will leave this frigid resort without a medal. He also failed to crack the top three at last year’s Turin Olympics. last_img read more


Champions League final: 30 years after Heysel, is destiny calling Juventus?

first_img4 Juventus recognise they are the outsiders in Saturday’s Champions League final against Barcelona, in the same way Atletico Madrid were last season, and Dortmund the year before. They acknowledge they have been fortunate like Chelsea were in 2012, although they’re a better team than that particular Blues vintage. But the stars are aligning.Juventus might not have Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez on their side, but maybe, just maybe, they are destiny’s team. This feature appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app from the Apple Newsstand, and follow on twitter @sportsmagukWords by James HorncastleIn the 39th minute of Juventus’ final game at the J Stadium this season, fans in the Curva Sud produced a moving choreography.It remembered the 39 supporters who went to the European Cup final in 1985 and never came back. Pieces of card were held aloft with the names of each and every victim of the Heysel disaster and an accompanying banner was unfurled. It read: “No one truly dies if they stay in the hearts of those who remain.” “To reach the Champions League final 30 years after Heysel is a coincidence that in some respects honours the memory of those who died,” explains Paolo Garimberti, the president of the J Museum. “So we’re proud to be in the final and each of us will of course remember the victims, especially because of this quite coincidental anniversary.” Juventus’ journey to Berlin is loaded with emotion. For captain Gigi Buffon, centre-back Andrea Barzagli and il Maestro Andrea Pirlo, the Olympiastadion was the setting of a World Cup triumph in 2006. No sooner did the round-of-16 draw pair Juventus with Borussia Dortmund than parallels were made with that summer in Germany nine years ago.  4 4 4 New generationThe adversity brought on by the Calciopoli scandal also represented an opportunity for young players to make names for themselves. Giorgio Chiellini had signed from Roma two years earlier and, at 22, was about to become a lynchpin of Juventus’ defence. Turin-born Claudio Marchisio, a product of the academy he had attended since the age of seven, also began to establish himself in midfield.“Success never gets boring,” Chiellini insisted before the Coppa Italia final in May. “Particularly for those of us who were there in Rimini, Crotone and Frosinone [in Serie B].” Juventus beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome (above) to do the double for the first time since 1995. The suffering and self-doubt the squad experienced in Serie B did not disappear immediately upon their return to the top division. Juve could finish only seventh in both 2010 and 2011, but these moments created an apparently inextinguishable source of inspiration and motivation for the dressing room core. And, after restoring the club’s name at home with a level of hegemony not seen by Juventus since the 1930s, doing so abroad has become more of a priority these last couple of years. Despite the common perception of disappointment and even ‘failure’ in Europe before this season, this group of players instead believe they have made progress in each of the previous two campaigns. Eliminated in the quarter-finals by a Bayern team that won the treble in 2013, a group stage exit last season was followed by an appearance in the Europa League semi-finals.Don’t underestimate just how valuable that experience was as a learning curve. Juventus have used it to hone their approach to knockout games and better understand what tweaks were needed in mentality and shifts made in system. If former manager Antonio Conte sewed the seeds, watered and grew the plants, his successor Max Allegri (below) has trimmed and refined them and overseen an ulterior blossoming. For the players, proving they could win without Conte – who was largely credited with Juventus’ success, as if it were almost exclusively down to him – was also a significant catalyst. It drove them not only to another Scudetto, but to overcome their complex in Europe and finally do themselves justice.  Back to Berlin“The road to Berlin goes through Dortmund,” Buffon reminded everyone. Just as it did when Italy met Germany in the semi-final in 2006 and became the first ever team to beat them in front of the daunting Gelbe Wand, or ‘Yellow Wall’. Ever since, Juventus fans have reprised the chant sung by a nation in the latter stages of that competition: “Andiamo a Berlino!” or ‘We’re going to Berlin!’For Pirlo, it could be a swansong. After winning five straight Scudetti (one with Milan and four in a row with Juventus) he has intimated that, should the Old Lady do the treble this season, “it could be the best way to close” this particular chapter of his career.Buffon has no intention of riding off into the sunset – even if this could represent the end of a long journey, his personal odyssey. The goalkeeper is the only member of this team to have played a Champions League final with Juventus. That was 12 years ago, when the Bianconeri knocked out holders Real Madrid in the semis – another deja vu for this season – only to lose to Pirlo’s Milan on penalties. Buffon never thought it would take more than a decade to get back. When he joined Juventus for a world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper in 2001, the club had reached three of the previous six Champions League finals. It remains the only major trophy missing from his collection. Buffon’s World Cup high, after which he was edged to the Ballon d’Or by former teammate Fabio Cannavaro, was followed by the low of relegation to Serie B in 2006 after ‘Calciopoli’ – an investigation into senior figures at several Serie A clubs, who were accused of attempting to influence referees.Buffon could have joined Pirlo at Milan and figured in their Champions League revenge over Liverpool in 2007. Instead, like Alessandro Del Piero, Pavel Nedved (now a member of Juventus’ board) and David Trezeguet, an ambassador for the club, he stayed loyal to the Old Lady when the likes of Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram and Zlatan Ibrahimovic abandoned ship.  Will Juventus be celebrating in Berlin on Saturday night? last_img read more


DOES DONEGAL FINE GAEL SUPPORT SCHOOL CUTS? ASKS SENATOR

first_imgFianna Fáil Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill is calling on the Donegal Fine Gael TDs Dinny McGinley and Joe McHugh to clarify their stance on the Education Minister’s attack on small rural schools.Senator Ó Domhnaill was speaking after Galway Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames described the policy as ‘social engineering of the worst kind’ and said Education Minister Ruairí Quinn is ‘ripping at the structures of rural life’.“It is a relief to hear that there are serious concerns within the Government about Minister Quinn’s attack on small rural and minority faith schools,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill. “Senator Healy Eames has described the policy as a ‘bolt out of the blue in Budget 2012’ and has condemned the fact that schools were given no notice whatsoever and were not consulted. “The question now is, do Senator Healy Eames’ colleagues in Co Donegal share her objections to this policy? Donegal is in a particularly bad position, with at least 16 posts to go at primary level in September and 101 primary schools in the county facing staff cuts over the next three years.“Minister McGinley and Deputy McHugh have seen thousands of parents and teachers taking to the streets of Letterkenny and Gweedore to protest against the cuts facing rural schools, Church of Ireland schools and Gaeltacht schools in Donegal. They must listen to the serious concerns of their constituents and recognise the extensive damage to a community of losing its local school.”The Gortahork senator added: “There is no doubt that Minister Quinn’s policy will force school amalgamations and closures in Co Donegal in the long-run.  I have had concerns for some time that the Minister is on a solo-run with this. I am appealing to the Minister McGinley and Deputy McHugh to stand up for the communities they represent and challenge Minister Quinn’s attack on rural schools.” DOES DONEGAL FINE GAEL SUPPORT SCHOOL CUTS? ASKS SENATOR was last modified: April 11th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DOES DONEGAL FINE GAEL SUPPORT SCHOOL CUTS? ASKS SENATORlast_img read more


Chelsea linked with Man City star

first_imgChelsea are being linked with Manchester City star Yaya Toure following comments attributed to his agent by the Spanish media.Dimitri Seluk is quoted as saying: “Toure has done all he can do at City and needs new motivations. He would like a new challenge. He would not cost much.“He could sign for many big clubs, like Chelsea or Bayern Munich. We would like to see Barcelona join the race.”Toure, a key player in City’s march to the Premier League title, is believed to be negotiating a new contract at Eastlands.This page is regularly updated.Click here for Thursday’s Chelsea quizSee also:Chelsea are not like Arsenal and shouldn’t leave Stamford BridgeA move to the ‘Battersea Bridge’ make sense for ChelseaFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more


Steve Kerr: Draymond Green will have to lead the defense with ‘more patience’

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Short on the premier defenders of past Warriors teams, Steve Kerr will rely even more on Draymond Green this season.“He’ll have to still captain the defense, but maybe from a different scheme. Maybe with a little more patience with the younger guys who he’s working with on the floor,” Kerr said before Wednesday’s preseason game against the Lakers at Staples Center.The Warriors lost Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston this offseason, and Klay Thompson won’t be in …last_img read more


Got a hot body? Now you can charge your device

first_imgOne of the biggest wearable bugbears, in my opinion, is the constant need to charge a smartwatch or fitness tracker every few days. Luckily, a new research project from North Carolina State University has shown a possible way to charge wearables without having to take them off everyday.The researchers, led by associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, Daryoosh Vashaee, developed a new design for harvesting body heat and converting it into electricity.See Also: Audi says relax: Wearables to make your drive calmer“Wearable thermoelectric generators (TEGs) generate electricity by making use of the temperature differential between your body and the ambient air,” said Vashaee. “Previous approaches either made use of heat sinks—which are heavy, stiff and bulky—or were able to generate only one microwatt or less of power per centimeter squared (µW/cm2). Our technology generates up to 20 µW/cm2 and doesn’t use a heat sink, making it lighter and much more comfortable.”NCSU integrated the technology into a t-shirt, which provide 16 µW/cm2 when the wearer is active. That could open the door to health tracking inside smart clothes, powered directly from a user’s activity.But really, is being hot enough?The power generation, while significant compared to past results, is still not enough for most devices. Some low-power sensors might be able to get by with the juice from a human body, but for wearables that track a multitude of things, there isn’t enough energy conversation available in the current design.The researchers believe the new technology can generate more electricity, if the size of the material is enlarged. Currently, the material is 1cm2, but a smart clothes manufacturer could potentially fit larger amounts of the material onto a t-shirt or jacket; the manufacturer might also make the material thicker to capture more heat.We are still far off a Matrix world where a human body can power a machine empire, but NCSU is taking the first steps to what could be a charge free world. Tags:#Internet of Things#IoT#NCSU#smart clothing#wearable David Curry Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Follow the Puck Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more


34 years on, compensation for Blue Star detainees

first_imgThe detainees who were arrested and kept in a Jodhpur prison following the Army operation to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in 1984 will finally get some relief with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh scheduled to hand over compensation money to them today, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday.The Chief Minister will distribute cheques totalling ₹4.5 crore to 40 of the detainees here at a programme in the presence of all members of his Cabinet, the spokesperson said.Capt. Singh had recently written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and also spoken to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on the matter. He had said if the Centre failed to pay its share of the compensation, then the State government will take over that liability too.300 people arrested Around 300 people were arrested and detained in the Jodhpur jail in June 1984 in the wake of Operation Blue Star, and were later released in three batches, between March 1989 and July 1991.Of these, 224 had appealed for compensation in the lower court, alleging wrongful detention and torture but they failed to get any relief from the court in 2011.However, 40 of the them went in appeal to the District and Sessions Court, Amritsar, and were awarded ₹4 lakh each as compensation with 6% interest (from the date of filing of the appeal to payment of compensation) in April last year.Appeal by CentreThe court had held the Union and the State governments jointly liable for payment of the compensation, and although the Punjab government had given an undertaking to the court to pay half the amount, the Centre had moved an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the order, the spokesperson said.Earlier, the Chief Minister had also met the Jodhpur detainees and assured them of his government’s full support.Strong reaction The detainees had been suffering for the past several years for no fault of theirs, the Capt. Singh had said, while pointing out that the Centre’s decision to go in appeal against the compensation award had evoked a strong reaction among the Sikh community and was further likely to lead to a sense of alienation and perceived injustice among the community.last_img read more