The USAID FED, in Collaboration with the Government of Liberia, has Inaugurated a Science Lab Facility at the Community College in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
The laboratory was inaugurated on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 by the Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development Mission to Liberia or USAID, Dr. Anthony S. Chan. Under an agreement with the Food and Enterprise Development Program of USAID, the Community College provided the building to house the facility, while USAID FED remodeled the building, purchased and installed state of the art laboratory equipment intended to aid the delivery of the National Diploma in Agriculture (NDA) and enhance practical learning.
The NDA program is Liberia’s recently unveiled market-driven 2-year vocational agriculture program, supported by USAID to prepare Liberia’s youth for careers in agriculture. The NDA offers core agriculture-related courses, including crop cultivation, irrigation, soil science and animal husbandry, as well as skills in entrepreneurship, leadership and communications. In addition to the Grand Bassa County Community College, the NDA will be offered at two other community colleges – the Nimba and Lofa Community Colleges plus the Booker Washington Institute or BWI. A Science Lab similar to the one at the Grand Bassa County Community College was recently dedicated at the BWI.
Others have also been established, while the dedication of the labs at the Nimba and Lofa Community Colleges will take place shortly. Speaking during the dedicatory ceremony, USAID Mission Director Chan said the US Government, through USAID FED, wa making major investments in building the capacity of BWI and the three community colleges, through the creation of Centers of Excellence or COE at each institution – equipped with the science and computer labs with internet connectivity.
Dr. Chan further indicated that the COE will also ensure the training of instructors, as well as the development of syllables and lesson plans used in the NDA, re-emphasizing the United States’ commitment to helping Liberia unlock the great potentials it has in the agricultural sector.
The Chief of Party of USAID FED, Agnes Luz, said the Lab was part of USAID FED’s broad plan to help develop Liberia’s agricultural workforce capacity and prepare young people for a future as successful farmers. Speaking on behalf of the Government of Liberia, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Moses Zinnah, thanked the United States Government for helping the Government of Liberia, through USAID FED, in its drive to stimulate agricultural production.
He urged the students to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by the NDA program. Speaking on behalf of the Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus, Senator Jonathan Kaipay, said elected Representatives of Grand Bassa County were doing everything in their power to cater to the needs of students at the County Community College, including the provision of a bus to transport the students to and from classes.
Following the dedicatory ceremony, students wore soil testing demonstration for guests using the new state of the art equipment in the Lab. In addition to providing practical training for the students, the Lab will also be used to provide soil testing services for farmers in surrounding communities, as well as other institutions for a fee to help sustain the facility.
The USAID FED Program aims to reduce hunger and promote food security for Liberians through increased agricultural productivity and profitability in rice, cassava, vegetable and goat value chains. It is implemented in six counties – Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado. It is Africa’s largest project under President Barack Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative, which promotes a move away from subsistence farming by working with public and private bodies, including the Government of Liberia, the private sector, local NGOs and other key stakeholders. -Press Release