PAYNESVILLE, Montserrado – Mercy Corps has graduated 169 students from its Light Up Liberia program in collaboration with GIZ EnDev, a four-month technical and vocational training program in renewable energies. These 169 students comprise of students from the Monrovia vocational training center, Booker Washington Institute, and Stella Maris Polytechnic which is apart of the four TVETS for the pilot phase of the curriculum development component of  Light up Liberia.

 Serving as the guest on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center, the assistant Minister for science and technology at the Ministry of Education, Saku Dukuly, said the ministry will do all it can to incorporate such training into the national curriculum.

He noted that the ministry would train some of the graduates to serves as trainers in those technical and vocational institutes across the country.

“The reason why foreigners have taken over our economy is that they say we Liberians don’t have the skills to do things they are doing,” he said. “We should take charge of our economy by doing what the foreigners are doing; you should use the resources you have now to your advantage.”

He encouraged the graduates to use the skills learned from the training to improve the lives of other Liberians. “You can make a difference by going out there to put into effect what you have acquired from the training.”

At the same time, Orlando S. Kanswen, the acting program manager for Light Up Liberia, said the program is intended to give the Liberian youth the skills necessary to work within the renewable energy sector.

He indicated that the program has equipped graduates with skills on how to install and maintain renewable energy technologies.

He explained that the program is focused on increasing access to modern, affordable, and sustainable energy service in rural parts of Liberia, access to financial services in targeted communities, and to promote economic opportunity and reduce scarcity within those communities.

Solomon Klee, one of the graduates, said he learned how the solar panels work together with the battery, wire, and inverter to provide energy to a home.

He said the curriculum trained him and other students as electricians and emphasized the importance of solar energy to Liberia, with key topics emphasized being “what solar modules are made from, what kind of batteries are appropriate for use in the system, how connections are made, and many more.”

“We believe that this curriculum can and will be used in technical schools and universities in the country for the development of solar power,” he said.

Light Up Liberia is a three-year European Union-funded program implemented by Mercy Corps. The program seeks to electrify 3,000 households in seven counties, including rural Montserrado, Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Margibi, Gbarpolu, and Grand Bassa.