BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa â€“ USAID has turned over a recently built laboratory to the administration of the Grand Bassa Community College.
The facility contains two science laboratories, classrooms, offices, bathrooms, and a library. The project took 18 months to construct.
The facility was dedicated on September 4 at the college campus. USAID Education Director Rasheena Reid presented the laboratories to the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Lawrence Bropleh; the college president, Samuel Monwell; Grand Bassaâ€™s assistance superintendent for development Flee Glay; and the staff and student body.
Reid said the annex is part of the USAIDâ€™s Sustainable High Impact Infrastructure for Education and Agriculture project, also known as SHINE.
Reid said the newly constructed annex will enhance the quality of education at the college, as it will allow for hands-on learning. As a result, she added that graduates from the college would be better prepared to work in and around Liberia.
â€œToday, we are proud to gather here to cut the ribbon, making the symbolic completion of this college annex in Grand Bassa County,â€ she noted. â€œWithout adequate access to infrastructure in rural areas, rural communities face far greater obstacles in obtaining proper health, education, and other social services.â€
Reid said the SHINE program is providing support to the agriculture, higher education, economic growth, governance, and natural resource management sectors of Liberia.
â€œThis is done through the construction of annexes and provision of up-to-date laboratories equipment and training to community colleges in Lofa, Nimba, and Grand Bassa Counties,â€ she noted. â€œUnder SHINE, a new multi-purpose classroom building for the Liberia Institute of Public Administration was constructed.â€
She also disclosed that the project had made possible five new staff housing units and an expanded library at Cuttington University, in addition to a renovation of the University of Liberiaâ€™s engineering building at the Fendell Campus. All these projects are worth US$8.5 million.
Bropleh, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, thanked the U.S. government for the assistance.
â€œWhen I think about the relationship between Liberia and the United States, I think about the ties that bind,â€ he said. â€œWhat you have done today have left an indelible footprint on the sands of our educational tide. â€œ
He added: â€œLiberia has got challenges. We have been told that our educational system has been messy. USAID did not complain â€“ you asked us, how can we fix it? Today, you have contributed to that fixing of our educational system, where young men and women like you and others who will come, will cherish these laboratories and will use it for the enhancement for your educational advancement.â€
Glay, the countyâ€™s assistant superintendent for development, thanked USAID for the project and many others it had contributed to in the county, including the rehabilitation of road connecting Compound One, Edina, Waka Town, and Johnny Tutu Town; and a boathouse recently constructed at the Port of Buchanan for the Liberian Coast Guard.
The collegeâ€™s president, Samuel Monwell, also thanked USAID for the support but appealed to the agency to assist in rebuilding the bridge connecting to the college.
â€œIt will improve the quality of science education program in the college, provide and produce more science students for the benefit of the society. It will be of benefit to educational institutions in and around Grand Bassa County as they are attracted to use the facility for research and lab demonstration.â€
He thanked USAID for the support to the college and also appealed to them to help construct a damaged a GBCC bridge.
In July 2018, heavy rains caused the bridge connecting to the collegeâ€™s main campus in the Payneburry community to collapse, forcing the college to relocate its activities to the Bassa High School Campus on Tubman Street in Buchanan. However, the college was forced to move back on its campus as Bassa High and other campuses in the area could not fully accommodate its classes. The condition of the bridge has made access to the campus more difficult.
Featured photo by Sampson David