19 October 2016

Liberia: Akon to Launch #LightToLearn in Liberia

Photo: Akon
Akon.

Akon Lighting Africa, To and Bridge Partnership Schools for Liberia are excited to announce a new partnership that will bring "Light To Learn" to the country's various communities...

On the Thursday, October 20, and Friday, 21st, international music icon and entrepreneur - Akon - will join forces with To: (Tikkun Olam) and Bridge Partnership Schools for Liberia for an event that will launch the Light To Learn initiative.

Akon will personally light up the communities around two Bridge Partnership Schools including the ones at the J.W. Pearson Elementary School in Monrovia and Zuluyee Public School in the Ganta District in Nimba County using solar-generated lighting technology.

"Light To Learn is an initiative that highlights the positive impacts of investment in Africa's sustainable power and education, and the importance of developing both sectors as they propel Liberia and the continent towards a better and brighter future," a Bridge statement has said.

While 80 percent of the world's population has access to electricity, only 30 percent of the African population enjoys this benefit. Today, almost 600 million inhabitants live without electricity, particularly in rural areas. In countries such as Liberia, there is virtually no access to electricity except by petrol generators.

The Light to Learn initiative, the release said, aims to bring clean, affordable and endless energy that will in turn bring about beneficial changes such as empowering schools to use technology to support teachers in lesson preparation and classroom management; making use of digital libraries with access to hundreds of books at a child's fingertips possible, even in remote communities. It also hopes to provide light to business owners such as shopkeepers, tradesmen and cooks to work and expand their activities and revenues; make roads safer and improve the structure of public places. Other benefits are helping to guarantee the continuity of healthcare services as doctors are able to examine patients at night or when it is dark; improving health within homes and communities, who will be saved from using pollutant, toxic and costly domestic fuels such as kerosene.

"Before, our teachers didn't feel confident teaching, because without electricity and few materials we were unable to prepare for lessons," said Cathrine Jrikan, Vice Principal for Instruction at J. W. Pearson, one of Bridge's Partnership Schools.

"This initiative means that my school has the power it needs to enable the use of modern technology, has tablets for every teacher, with the materials needed for lessons and tools for managing class, and a digital library for the children. It has completely changed their education for the better."

"This year, we come to school and stay longer because the lessons are good," said Patricia Davis, an 18 year old girl in the 6th grade at Bridge Partnership School Kpakolokoyata. "People in town encourage us to learn now."

"This is part of our plan for fostering harmony where we create lasting change on the ground," added Nachson Mimran of To: "Studies show that the greatest developmental impact comes from investing in education and power. In this instance, we accomplish both."

Speaking ahead of the event, Akon commented "To be able to facilitate the needs of millions of people in Africa has always been a dream of mine. Our main goal is to bring light to Africa through public-private partnerships and the ripple effect of this is job creation, safety, commerce and supporting African children in furthering their education."

Light To Learn is building a brighter Liberia. Members of the press are invited to join the Light To Learn initiative at its launch and celebrate sustainable and innovative solutions that are contributing to solving the current energy and education crises. There are plans to bring the

Light To Learn movement to other countries in Africa.

Special invited guest, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, students of the Bridge Partnership Schools for Liberia, teaching staff, parents, government officials and VIPs are expected to be in attendance. A special Light To Learn Talent Show Competition featuring Bridge Partnership

School students from all over the country has been organized showcasing an array of talent. The finalists will be judged by a panel featuring Akon and leading Liberian artists.

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