Monrovia – It means more to a school when it wins an inter high school debate, least to mention walking away with a cash prize of US$2,000 just like that.
That was exactly the case of the Isaac A. David Memorial High School in Paynesville outside Monrovia when they were recently crowned champions of the prestigious competition.
“In a way it is a form of motivation for young people to show to them that if they are focused on their education, good things can come out of it,” Cummings Africa Foundation’s Country Director Fatu Gbedema told FrontPageAfrica after presenting the purse to the students on the margins of an innovation and entrepreneurship bazaar the Foundation held recently.
The Foundation awarded the Sammie Dukuly High School US$1,000 as the second place winner of the debate as part of its sponsorship of this year’s showdown.
The donations are strictly for the use of the schools’ administrations, not the students. Each winning school submitted a project proposal for the expenditure of the money.
Isaac A. David is going to equip its reading room, while Sammie Dukuley is improving its computer laboratory, Gbedema said.
“We are giving them this money not necessary for them to spend. We feel that the schools built them up, prepared them.”
“The teachers are well part of the process and so the money goes to the schools,” she noted, adding that the Foundation wanted to refute the notion of free donation and solicitation of handout.
The awarding of cash prizes to schools falls under the education pillar of the Cummings Africa Foundation. The Foundation also works in its targeted other areas—health, agriculture and development.
The Foundation recently set up a computer laboratory at the Fendell campus of the University of Liberia and before then at the St. Clements University College.
It also recently donated high quality yearbook over the first graduation exercises of the Nimba County Community College (NCCC).
It paid for the WAEC exam fees of 2, 322 students across 21 schools in 15 counties. She said that also include a number of students who missed the previous year’s WAEC exams due to Ebola.
“We think that supporting these schools—infrastructural development, for instance—the students will be more encouraged participating because you have amenities in the school that will promote critical thinking skills for young people in the country,” Gbedema explained.
“We have come through conflict and we don’t have strong institutions, so you will notice that people take a lot for granted but once you start building critical thinking skills then you get people thinking on their feet and asking questions.
Though founded by presidential aspirant Alexander Cummings, the Cummings Africa Foundation says it is a separate institution committed to its mission of bridging the gap between local and international nongovernmental organizations in the areas of education and development, health, and agriculture.
It is deeply involved with promoting Liberian arts culture and setting the stage for the thriving of Liberian businesses, especially handicraft. It is currently planning a hipco (Liberian music) event on Christmas Day to feature some of Liberia’s best musicians and comedians.