ON THE GROUND IN LIBERIA

Transforming Liberia

Liberia, a country with a population of approximately five million on on Africa’s west coast situated between Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, is the continent’s oldest republic, and one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Founded by freed American slaves in 1847, its name and history represent hope and transformation, and yet over the last decades of the 20th century, fierce civil conflict and inter-ethnic war eviscerated the proud nation. More than 750,000 Liberians fled their homeland as refugees, hundreds of thousands were slain, and much of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed.

Although Liberia has emerged from conflict, the scars and destruction remain. The country lacks many of the fundamental tools and resources required to equip its youth and citizens to build a better future. The nation has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world and there is not a single fully functioning library. According to UNICEF, 70% of schools have been damaged or destroyed by conflict. Only 22% of public and community schools have seats an d a mere 30% of public schools have functioning latrines or toilets. Due to the severity of the infrastructure challenge and the inability to afford tuition, many Liberian youth do not attend school.

According to Liberia’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, about 80% of the population is estimated to be unemployed. However, there is thought to be even more hidden unemployment or underemployment. The majority of the working people of Liberia are operating in the informal sector. Vocational skills training systems have largely broken down and there is an urgent need for the development of accessible public infrastructure to offer skills training programs and create opportunities for poverty reduction and career development.

Transforming Liberia

Liberia, a country with a population of approximately five million on Africa’s west coast situated between Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, is the continent’s oldest republic, and one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Founded by freed American slaves in 1847, its name and history represent hope and transformation, and yet over the last decades of the 20th century, fierce civil conflict and inter-ethnic war eviscerated the proud nation. More than 750,000 Liberians fled their homeland as refugees, hundreds of thousands were slain, and much of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed.

Although Liberia has emerged from conflict, the scars and destruction remain. The country lacks many of the fundamental tools and resources required to equip its youth and citizens to build a better future. The nation has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world and there is not a single fully functioning library. According to UNICEF, 70% of schools have been damaged or destroyed by conflict. Only 22% of public and community schools have seats and a mere 30% of public schools have functioning latrines or toilets. Due to the severity of the infrastructure challenge and the inability to afford tuition, many Liberian youth do not attend school.

According to Liberia’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, about 80% of the population is estimated to be unemployed. However, there is thought to be even more hidden unemployment or underemployment. The majority of the working people of Liberia are operating in the informal sector. Vocational skills training systems have largely broken down and there is an urgent need for the development of accessible public infrastructure to offer skills training programs and create opportunities for poverty reduction and career development.

In Partnership with Paynesville

The Liberian Learning Center is being built on the grounds of Paynesville City Hall with the support of the Paynesville City Corporation, whose ongoing committment has been demonstrated by the fact that multiple administrations have carried this relationship forward.

Paynesville is located east of the capital city of Monrovia, and is considered part of the capital region. Notable for once hosting the OMEGA-radio navigation system, the largest architectural structure in Africa until 2011, Paynesville is a densely populated area with ambitious residents who are challenged by a lack of opportunities and investment. Current Mayor Pam Belcher-Taylor is firmly committed to the advancement of the city and is working to address issues such health and sanitation, economic development, and infrastructure development. She sees the Liberian Learning Center as a critical catalyst in Paynesville’s long-term transformational journey of building a prosperous country by and for the people of Liberia.

In Partnership with Paynesville

The Liberian Learning Center is being built on the grounds of Paynesville City Hall with the support of the Paynesville City Corporation, whose ongoing committment has been demonstrated by the fact that multiple administrations have carried this relationship forward.

Paynesville is located east of the capital city of Monrovia, and is considered part of the capital region. Notable for once hosting the OMEGA-radio navigation system, the largest architectural structure in Africa until 2011, Paynesville is a densely populated area with ambitious residents who are challenged by a lack of opportunities and investment. Current Mayor Pam Belcher-Taylor is firmly committed to the advancement of the city and is working to address issues such health and sanitation, economic development, and infrastructure development. She sees the Liberian Learning Center as a critical catalyst in Paynesville’s long-term transformational journey of building a prosperous country by and for the people of Liberia.

Official Groundbreaking Ceremony

On Monday, October 14, 2019, the official groundbreaking ceremony of the Liberian Learning Center was held on the grounds of Paynesville City Hall in Paynesville, Liberia. Guests attended from across the world, including global leaders from Rotary International, senior Liberian government officials, Her Excellency Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice-President of Liberia, Her Worship Pam Belcher-Taylor, Mayor of Paynesville, Empowerment Squared leaders Leo Lekpele Nupolu-Johnson and Mark John Stewart, Hamilton Public Library CEO Paul Takala, numerous dignitaries, and local community members.

BREAKING NEW GROUND

On November 7, 2019 a follow up event was held at the main branch of the Hamilton Public Library in Canada. Her Worship Pam Belcher-Taylor, Mayor of Paynesville, flew in for this special occasion and supporter Tony Anderson proudly announced a $100,000 donation to the Liberian Learning Center. Tony has cumulatively donated $400,000 to the project.

BREAKING NEW GROUND

On November 7, 2019 a follow up event was held at the main branch of the Hamilton Public Library in Canada. Her Worship Pam Belcher-Taylor, Mayor of Paynesville, flew in for this special occasion and supporter Tony Anderson proudly announced a $100,000 donation to the Liberian Learning Center. Tony has cumulatively donated $400,000 to the project.