Ravaged by years of civil wars, and recently scortched by the Ebola virus outbreak, Liberia is a small country located on western coast of Africa. Poor, illiterate children that live in Liberian inner cities and remote villages were the ones preyed on, AND recruited by warlords to fight as child soldiers during Liberia's 14-year-conflicts. Some of the parents of children currently living in cities and rural areas were direct victims of Liberia's 14-year civil wars, which ended in 2003 with the departure of President Charles Taylor. Most households in rural Liberia were displaced during the civil wars, and although some have returned and resettled, many residents of Morweh District (Rivercess County) contend with basic services that are woefully inadequate and infrastructures that are crumbling or nonexistent. Roads are abysmal, and the major sources of drinking water are oxygen-starved rivers which are often loaded with bacteria. As the standard of living for families within the County continues to decline, many of the school-age children are required to work on small-scale family farms in order to provide additional income for the family.
Below: Old school building
Below: Proposed building under construction
Below: students in front of old school building
Below: Students cramped up in old classroom
Below: Old classroom, opened to the elements
Below: Old classroom, opened to the elements
Where schooling is available, only a small number of children and youth successfully make the transition from primary to secondary education due to lack of adequate school facilities. Unwanted pregnancy, as well as traditional early marriage of teenage girls contributes to the gender gap in education. Literacy rate for women in rural areas is as low as 26%, compared to 61% for urban women and 60% to 86% for rural and urban men, respectively. The gender gap in secondary school attendance is particularly high in the rural areas with a low 6% net attendance ratio for females and 13% for males. In urban areas this gap is much smaller (29% and 32%), respectively. School facilities are disproportionately located out of reach for some regions. The major township and villages in Morweh average roughly 10 to 30 miles apart, and within this region few schools exist. Existing facilities are dilapidated and lack educational materials and equipment. Those families that are able to purse high school education for their children must arrange to send their kids away from families and communities and move to the urban areas to attend school. The people in this region of Liberia will greatly benefit from an educational infrastructure in their community.
The United Nations (UN) reports that the illiteracy rate among rural Liberians is more than 60%, with only 31% of the entire Liberian population having access to education. The illiteracy rate is higher when you factor in children between ages 5 to 10 because according to the report, up to 86% of children in this age group aren't in school. The Morweh Educational Development Foundation founder Daniel Menyon, falls into this group, having started school at age 10. MEDF endeavors to reduce the alarming illiteracy rate in rural Liberia (which is more than 90% in some regions of Morweh District) down to a national average of about 41%. To reach this “illiteracy-reduction” goal, MEDF seek to construct and fully equip modern school facilities in Morweh, hire trained and qualified teaching staff to provide quality education to village children.
Above & Below: Village children of Morweh
The project comprises of two phases: Phase I is the construction of a four-classroom, 1,300 square footage building currently being used to educate 100 students until completion of construction works on the second phase. Designed to educate about 500 students per year as well as impacting the lives of more than 70,000 families in Rivercess County, Phase II is a 12-classroom concrete structure, comprising of enough space to meet educational specifications for both instructional and non-instructional activities.
Above & Below: Phase I temporary school building
Below: Temporary classroom
The building is designed to provide spaces for Primary (Pre-K, Kindergarten), Elementary, Secondary and Senior High School educational activities. The main structure has two stories, comprising of the following spaces to meet educational activities: Elementary, Secondary and High School Classrooms; Pre-K & Kindergarten programs; Adult Education; Vocational Education; Regional office space; Book Store; Library; Computer and Science labs; Cafeteria Hall; Separate boys, girls, men & women restrooms; Principal’s office, Teacher’s lounge; 200-capacity auditorium. The campus will have space for playgrounds and outdoor sports, including basketball, soccer, and baseball.
The proposed structure will cost $75,000 to complete. MEDF have raised and expended $35,000 of this amount to complete the foundation on June 15, 2016. The $75,000 total construction cost includes works for Foundation; Exterior & Interior Walls; Roofing; Flooring; Windows & Doors; Furniture & Fixtures; Utility Infrastructures for pipe-borne water, sewage, plumbing, electrical & information systems; Classroom Chairs & Desks. Target date for completion is December 2016.
The following photos are construction works
Below: Volunteered village workers
Location and Targeted Population:
The proposed project is about located 176 miles from Monrovia, capital city of Liberia on a 100-acre site in Morweh District, Rivercess County. This region of rural Liberia was selected because for several decades, there was little or no major public educational complex. The only operational high school is located in Cestos City, some 100 miles away from the location of this project. Students graduating from primary school have had to either travel to Cestos City, Buchanan (88 miles away) or Monrovia (176 miles away) to get secondary and high school education. MEDF educational program will not only provide education to 500-on-campus students, but also to more than 5,000 students in the region via e-learning where connectivity is available. The program will provide educational opportunities to poor, disadvantaged and underprivileged village children living in surrounding villages, including Gozohn Township, Nagbo Town, Zeegai Town, Sayon Town, Gbarseleh Town, Sweet Mother Town, Kporkon Town, and Boegeezay Town. This campus will have direct impact on more than 20,000 people, and will provide educational opportunities for Rivercess County’s 71,000 residents.
Since 2010 MEDF have obtained IRS 501c3 status, California Tax Exempt status as well as NGO registry in Liberia (West Africa). MEDF purchased 10 manually operated brick-making machines which were used to make bricks for constructing the newly completed four-classroom structures currently being used to educate 100 students. MEDF secured 100-acres of land from local village elders, and 6 acres have been cleared constructing the campus. With the completion of Phase I, MEDF workers have manually produced more than 15,000 concrete/cement bricks for main structure. Workers from nearby villages helped clear construction site, extracted sand from nearby creeks to be used in making concrete bricks, cracked several loads of gravels for concrete making, and are actively involved with sawing lumbers for the project. Elders and villagers also expressed their supports by donating 100 acres of land to MEDF for the project. MEDF completed entire foundation works on June 15, 2016
Above images: Steel-benders working on steel rods, lumberjacks and workers unload sand for making bricks. Manually-crushed gravel for making concrete and hand-made concrete blocks.
Employment Opportunities and Sustainability:
MEDF endeavors to construct and operate its school campus while creating job for local Liberians in the process. Towards this end, MEDF have partnered with local manufacturers in Liberia. All sliding glass windows for the campus as well as doors, construction works, furniture and pupil armed-chairs are being manufactured locally by Liberian workers. More than 15,000 hand-made concrete blocks were produced by Liberian laborers. All carpentry, woodworks and steel-bending works were also done by local Liberians. Other construction materials such as crush rocks/gravels, sand and lumbers are being produced by Liberians. MEDF will create self-sustaining mechanism to fund the annual operations of its educational programs. However, for the first three years of operation, MEDF intends on requesting direct funding from the Government of Liberia to cover operational costs.
MEDF propose a Morweh Agricultural Cooperative (MAC) Project that will cultivate Coffee Liberica (known as Liberian Coffee). This specie of coffee originates from Liberia and is easy to cultivate and produce in Liberia. It is exported directly out of Liberia to Denmark, Norway and other Scandinavian countries. Proceeds from sales of coffee beans out of Morweh will be used to fund and self-sustain the school operations. MEDF will grow its own crops, including cassava, rice, cattle and fisheries to feed students and staff. The MAC project is currently in formation. MEDF is requesting you to join us in making this dream a reality by making a donation towards the project.
For More Information:
Morweh Educational Development Foundation
10 Skylark Drive, #71
Larkspur, CA 94939
Telephone: (619) [phone redacted]
IRS Nonprofit Tax ID # and/or IRS 990 Tax Returns
Available upon request
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