Source: Daily Observer
Eight rural Liberian women, who left the country in September of 2011 for training in Solar Electrification at Barefoot College in Rajastah, India, returned home last Friday.

The women left under the Indian government’s International Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Scholarship, according to the Indian Consulate in Monrovia.

The director of Women’s Empowerment at the Ministry of Gender and Development told the Daily Observer that the women were meticulously selected for the training from four Liberian villages by a joint team of officials of the Ministry of Gender and the Director of Barefoot College. Two were selected from each of the four villages.

Director Parleh Harris said the selection committee did not choose lettered or younger people, “because they did not want them to leave their villages for greener pastures somewhere else.

“This is why we, along with the Barefoot College Director, chose these women, especially because they cannot read and write. They are grandmothers; they are going to stay in their villages and electrify them,” she further said.

She also stated that the committee anticipates the active involvement of the beneficiaries in the rural electrification process of Liberia.

“That is one of the reasons why we sent them,” the Ministry of Gender’s Women’s Empowerment Director added. The women, all nominated by the government of Liberia, are Bendu Sackie and Betty Cooper from Bahr Town in Todee District, Montserrado County; Maama Bawor and Massa Madave, from Bamballa Town, Grand Cape Mount County; Yassah Gbormelee and Garmai Yakpazou, from Salayea in Lofa County; and Marie Weeks and Musu Junius, from Juan Town, Grand Bassa County.

The women were observed in high spirits upon landing at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) Friday.

Musu Junius, the group’s spokeswoman, told journalists that she can now electrify a “whole house.” She also stated that she and her colleagues will begin electrifying their own villages, and will subsequently train more women in solar engineering.

Last year, when the women left, the Indian Consulate, in its release then, stated: “Towards this end, the Government of India, on bilateral basis, has offered the Government of Liberia, the establishment of five Barefoot Vocational Training Centers in Liberia for the purpose of training more Women Solar Engineers, using the already trained women as trainers and to assist the Government of Liberia in capacity building and skill development/upgrading and to scale up and solar electrify more villages, in support of the Liberian Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).”

Barefoot College is the Implementing Agency of the Government of India for the establishment of the Training Centers in Liberia, and is to do so through recognized indigenous organizations with track records in selected five counties of Liberia.

“The Indian Government’s offer to establish these Vocational Training Centers for training rural women in solar electrification is India’s contribution to the Liberia Government’s development agenda and efforts at the economic transformation of rural Liberia by developing and deploying modern and renewable technologies in rural communities in order to add value to their resources with high socio-economic impact at the local community and grassroots levels. Solar electrification is a Greenfield technology, which is environmentally friendly and cost effective.”

It further quoted the Indian Honorary Consul General, Upjit Singh Sachdeva (Jeety), of assuring Liberians that he would continue to seek more and more training opportunities from his Government for Liberians. Jeety said his Government is committed to assisting Liberia meet its pressing manpower needs, and as a means of supporting Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS). Several Liberians have benefited from the Indian Government Scholarships over the years.



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Flashback: Mr. Jeety along with the ladies before they left for India; and the ladies when they arrived at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County
Flashback: Mr. Jeety along with the ladies before they left for India; and the ladies when they arrived at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County

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