LIBERIA: 3 Don Bosco Training Centers in Liberia install solar energy systems
(MissionNewswire) Three Don Bosco Training Centers in Liberia have installed solar energy systems to address the country’s expensive and often unreliable electricity supply. The project was made possible thanks to the support of the Don Bosco Jugendhilfe Weltweit, in collaboration with various Swiss foundations and the EKI Fundación in Spain, which provided technical and logistical support.
The new solar energy systems have been installed at the Don Bosco Technical School in Monrovia, the Salesian school and youth center in New Matadi, and the Don Bosco Center in Tappita. Electrical course trainees at the Don Bosco Technical High School in Monrovia were able to gain first-hand practical experience by assisting in the installation work at all three sites.
Salesian missionaries developed an occupational standard for electricians in Liberia, developed modular curriculum, produced a pedagogical and material organization guide, set up the workshops, created a two-pathway training for students and workers in the informal sector, and determined an evaluation standard and a certification.
The electrotechnician training initiative aims to respond to the needs of the labor market while ensuring youth have access to vocational and technical training that aids them in finding long-term stable work. The electrotechnician course is opened each year to 90 high school students and 30 uncertified electricians. Recently, the school also started a training course for photovoltaic systems and their maintenance.
“Salesian missionaries in Liberia have had to overcome many challenges including high rates of poverty that continue to leave many children and families in need,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Education is always the primary focus of Salesian programs. Since Salesian missionaries live and work in the communities they serve, they are able to recognize local needs and customize programs and services to meet those specific needs, greatly impacting local youth. This new training program is meeting a need in Liberia’s current workforce while helping youth tap into an industry sector in need of skilled, certified workers.”
Liberia is still recovering from civil war and the deadly Ebola epidemic that affected 10,678 people with 4,810 reported deaths, according to the World Health Organization. An estimated 64 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line and 1.3 million live in extreme poverty, out of a population of 4.6 million, according to the World Food Programme. Food security is also affecting 41 percent of the population and making chronic malnutrition high.
Whether working to rehabilitate former child soldiers or assist young women in overcoming barriers to education, Salesian programs in Liberia are providing opportunities for youth to live up to their potential through both academic and social programs. Salesian volunteer programs and Catholic schools have helped more than 2,300 students and their families.
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Salesian Missions – Liberia
World Bank – Liberia