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Pres. Johnson-Sirleaf dedicates Kokoya Millennium Village

Jos Garneo Cephas (garneo69@gmail.com):886720434
President Sirleaf and Deputy  Internal Affairs Minister,  Varrney A. Sirleaf, during the commissioning of  Kokoya Millennium Village.(Pix: Jos Garneo Cephas)
President Sirleaf and Deputy Internal Affairs Minister, Varrney A. Sirleaf, during the commissioning of Kokoya Millennium Village.(Pix: Jos Garneo Cephas)

KOKOYA, BONG COUNTY-International donors and development partners in Liberia want Government address the provision of   infrastructure without trained professionals to make them functional.

The Second Secretary of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Accra, Ghana, Ingrit Buli, said: "I see people who are better and able to take charge of their own future when they are empowered,” if not, there would be no need to build schools, clinics and other facilities when there are no teachers and health workers to make them effective".  

H.E. Buli said: "The purpose of the Millennium Village is to help empower and improve the lives of people through the provision of schools, electricity, communication, better business opportunity and improved food security."

She made the statement Sunday, April 24, 2016 when she joined President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, government officials, the UNDP and local people to officially commission the Kokoya Millennium Village in Kokoya District, Bong County.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, receiving the key to the village, said: "I hope this village will remain unique under your ownership as we want to see Liberians invest in the village because it represents the lives of the people of Bong and Liberia".

The Liberian Leader cautioned her kinsmen to learn to listen and not to talk too much. "Come and say what we can do to make our village work,” President Sirleaf challenged the audience.

 
 The Chiefs and other residents in readiness to welcome President Sirleaf  for the dedication of the village.(pix: Jos GArneo Cephas)

To register his dissatisfaction over the implementation of the village, suspended Botota Commissioner, Morris Davies, spoke of lack of cooperation among local leaders.

He expressed disappointment over the alleged stealing of a generator and the looting of some existing public infrastructure in the village.      Besides the dedication of the village, President Johnson-Sirleaf drove through the villages for hours to commission individual and government projects, including school buildings and clinics.

Among them was a US$ 40,000 school project, community Hall and clinics built constructed by Bong County Representative, Prince Moye, of electorial District #2 in Jorquelleh, Kokoya District.

The President then acknowledged that there were challenges in spite of government’s development deliverables so far in that part of the county. "We stopped to talk with the people of Bong County about their challenges while we were on our way here."

The Village project will help improve access to school and health service facilitaties, provide improved access to the use of ICT and information and empower locals to improve their livelihood.

Partial  view of the Village and a newly dedicated Kokoya Public School campus. Attached is a Teacher Quarter

The Kokoya Millennium Village Project is estimated at US$5m and is the first of its kind and consists of about 18 infrastructure projects like schools, market buildings, health facilities, 29 streets and information center, among others for a population of over 23,000 inhabitants of that settlement outside Gbanrga, the provincial Capital of Bong County.

The UNDP turned the project over  to the Internal Affairs Ministry for implementation and it was realized through the partnership of Norway, UNDP and the Government of Liberia.

UNDP Deputy Country Director to Liberia, Cleophas Toroli, said he was grateful to the Liberian Government for its concern and said: "The story of Liberia shows that the implementation of the Millennium Village project needed to be contextualized. So we to tailored the project to suit Liberia.”

He lauded the government and the locals for being patient for seven years to have the project  realized. Mr. Toroli observed the increase  in student enrollment from 50 in 2013 to  about  300 in 2016, because of the availability of schools in the area.

He said: “Because of the improvement in health services, no one can be carried in hammocks in search of clinic, though some clinics and other health facilities are yet to be completed.”

Out of 29 streets cris-cutting the village, nine streets have been conditioned with seven solar panel, mounted on few light poles, providing electricity to most of the facilities, including the Botota Clinic.    

Bong County Representative, George Mulbah, praised the project, but said: “For the Bong County Legislative Caucasus, we had limited knowledge on the implementation of the Village”.

Representative Mulbah made an appealed to President saying: “We know because of the Ebola outbreak and the dropped in price of iron ore and other commodities, we want the suspended payment of cooperate and social responsibility of mining companies concerned to begin to help boost development in the county”.

Political leaders of Bong, the chiefs and people of Kokoya District in separate remarks expressed gratitude to Government for the development but pleaded for the total completion of the Village to reflect the standard of a Millennium Village.

 


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