With community members, leadership and GVL workers in attendance, GVL officially launched its first primary school in Sinoe County. Through the company's educational pillar, the GVL Butaw School #1 opened its doors.
As part of its commitment to quality education GVL will provide books and furniture and has already hired teachers in consultation with the Liberian Ministry of Education.
But that educational pillar extends beyond building and furnishing the school. GVL Managing Director, Matti Karinen, indicated during his speech that GVL is here in Liberia, not simply for business, but to bring prosperity to the people of Liberia.
"We want to use this primary school education to help Liberians become the managers of GVL and we want them to one day be able to go to other places with their expertise. I see one day Liberians going to Nigeria to teach Nigerians, I see Liberians going to Cameroon to teach Cameroonians. That will be a great day for Liberia."
Jean Hannah-Thompson, GVLs career and education programs manager called on teachers to prove that they are the best and bring up students who will contribute to the development of Liberia by building its agricultural and economic sectors.
While its long-term educational plan is to build out a complete school system, the company has already built a kindergarten and established scholarship programs for qualified university students. Additionally, it provides internship programs in which it sends young Liberian scholars to Indonesia for a year to further their skills and education.
Over time the company plans to add its first high school to it budding educational systems, thus completing an academic loop.
GVLs US$1.6 billion investment in Liberia is one of the largest in the history of the country and at full capacity will include the employment of approximately 40,000 citizens. "Our commitment is bringing real factories, real industries and real industrial jobs to Sinoe County," said Karinen. "Doing this will help establish the economic sector here in Sinoe and providing quality education is only the first step."
For his part, Sinoe County Education Officer, Harrison Jelleh, expressed gladness over the construction of an elementary school. Jelleh said this project is aiding in the fulfillment of Liberia's educational goal. The newly-hired GVL school principal, Mr. Benjamin Gewleh, said the school administration is fully ready to produce students who can be depended on by Liberia.
"With the dedication to conducive learning environment, Sinoe will produce the best students in Liberia in the next few years," Gewleh said.
Prior to the school opening, GVL Human Resources Director, Eric Goll, joined Karinen and Thompson in welcomed seven newly hired mechanical and civil engineers at the company's regional operation headquarters at its Butaw farm.
During introduction to the company, Goll urged the future society builders to exhibit good professional skills and to take in all the knowledge they will learn over the course of the next several months, as what they learn will be built upon and provide a significant portion of future GVL operations. At the same time Thompson challenged them to prove themselves to be the very best of the best.
The seven engineer cadets, currently in Butaw, were recruited to undergo 10 month training in Oil Palm farming and production, and subsequently serve in distinct areas, which will include mills, factories and refineries. Following a 17-day training period in Butaw the cadets will be among the first GVL recruits to travel to Indonesia.
The cadet beneficiaries include, Joseph Geliah Garwor, Theophilus A. T. Kambo, Edward J. Howard, Kokolu J. Kpanyanmu, S. Nyemah Kreejardiah, Aloysius Kpogbah and Armah P. Kimba.
When asked why they desired to be a part of the GVL program, they indicated that one day, "we want to see something that says made in Liberia, being a part of this program will help us achieve that because palm oil is somehow in nearly everything and we want to put our skills to use and see that one day," Garwor said.