President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has expressed the hope that the US Peace Corps “are back” to Liberia “to stay, and that there will be no more interruptions”. She made the remarks when she cut the ribbon to the Peace Corps’ Headquarters in the Sinkor suburb of Monrovia Wednesday.
In July 2014, President Sirleaf recalled that the Peace Corps unfortunately announced the temporary removal of its volunteers from Liberia due to the rapid spread of the Ebola virus – prior to which 108 volunteers were already working in the areas of education.
When the Peace Corps earlier suspended its operations here as a result of the civil war in the 90s, President Sirleaf said, they re-entered Liberia with a team of 12 Center for Disease Control in October 2008 following a special request which has seen over 125 volunteers served throughout the country with focus on health and education.
The Liberian Leader said she also made a request that was also approved for Liberian college graduates to serve in the Peace Corps as national youth volunteers to be able to pair with the Peace Corps Volunteers in their assignments throughout the country.
Today, according to President Sirleaf, 300 young college graduates are beneficiaries, emphasizing that the volunteers have, [monitored] county health teams, facilitated Parents Teachers Associations, supported refugee relief efforts, help to build libraries, as well as train teachers in recent times to be better skilled, among others.
President Sirleaf acknowledged that the Peace Corps’ primary focus is primary education, with more volunteers serving in institutions teaching math, science and reading skills that are vitally needed in Liberia. She, however, expressed confidence that the opening of the Peace Corps Headquarters Wednesday was a clear indication that the Peace Corps were back, amid hands of applause from the audience.
“And though not present today in terms of volunteers present in terms of directors, staff, assistants … our hopes, our effort is that they are back to stay and that there will be no more interruptions,” she said. Earlier, US Ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac said she was thrilled by the building dedicated, expressing hope that “we will” have a large Peace Corps very soon.
Amb. Malac thanked President Sirleaf for the wonderful support received from her and the government, noting that the gathering was to celebrate the power of education which she considered as one thing, when taken seriously, which cannot be taken away by someone else.
The US Diplomat said the volunteers were helping students understand the value of education, while commending the great job that the Peace Corps staff have done in Liberia, working along with the Center for Disease Control and supporting the Liberian Government’s Incidence Management System during the course of the Ebola virus disease.
By Winston W. Parley – Edited by George Barpeen