The USAID/EHELD project despite the Ebola situation that has paralyzed nearly every sector of the Liberian society is still working and making frantic efforts geared at preparing for the return of students whenever the country is declared safe by international health experts for the re-opening of schools.
It can be recalled that the Government of Liberia as a result of the Ebola outbreak in the Country, ordered closure of schools and put in place measures that would prevent gathering in huge numbers to help prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus here.
Prior to these measures among others, the USAID/EHELD educational project has been engaged with students reading Engineering and Agriculture at the Universities of Liberia in Montserrado County and Cuttington in Bong County respectively.
During a recent visit on the Campus of the Cuttington University in Bong County, some senior teaching faculty members explained that the project was currently carrying on construction of fence on a large parcel of land in the Sustainable Development Institute that would be used by Agriculture students under the USAID/EHELD project upon their return on campus.
Speaking to journalists during a tour of the agriculture facilities on the CU campus, the acting dean of the department, Mr. Daniel Yarbah, said with the USAID/EHELD project a lot of progress has been made despite the Ebola outbreak.
Mr. Yarbah, also a senior lecturer, explained that though the Ebola situation is serious, the department is currently fencing the research field to ensure security and prevent intruders from tempering with research works that would be performed by students upon their return to school.
The CU Agriculture educator said that during this break works are being done under the USAID/EHELD project to place the department in a position to begin teaching students how to grow fish. He said under this arrangement, both fish and plants will be grown together since the idea is a new one that Liberian students need to improve on.
For Mr. Molley Massaquoi, he reaffirmed that USAID/EHELD activities were still on course even during this health crisis period, naming the natural resource area as one of the major concentration points while Liberians especially students await for Liberia to be declared free of the Ebola virus.
In addition to efforts being exerted to get prepare for the return of students, Mr. Lepolu Torlon another staff of the department said, staffers working with the USAID/EHELD project were also engaged in works in the Animals and Health, Natural Resource Management and the Plant and soil departments as areas with concentration ahead of the re-opening of schools in Liberia.
Mr. Torlon said such engagement within the department of agriculture was crucial in that students will only return to begin serious work since time has already being wasted.
For the University of Liberia, the Interim chair of the Electrical Engineering Department Adolphus Nippaye said, the department was now putting in place mechanism to utilize some modern books and electronic equipment and materials provided by the USAID/EHELD project that will put students in the position to face future challenges in their field of specialization.
Mr. Nippaye, who took journalists to the various departments under him in the engineering section said, preparations are also being made to put students in a better position upon the re-opening of schools.
The Electrical Engineering Interim Chairman said some staffers were working to install some of the modern state of the art equipment provided by the USAID/EHELD that would open the eyes of engineering students to the sort of equipment and technology being used in other parts of the world.
Mr. Nippaye, himself a graduate of the Engineering department wants Liberian students to take advantage of the USAID/EHELD opportunity since the sort of equipment and modern technology under this program will afford them the space to compete with any engineer(s) at their level.
The USAID/EHELD project is an effort by the American people to help Liberian students to study in the fields of Engineering and Agriculture at the Universities of Liberia and Cuttington thru scholarships to prepare them as future employers and entrepreneurs. Since it commencement in 2012, several beneficiaries of the project have graduated with some now doing foreign studies abroad.