Leymah Gbowee: ‘Let’s Invest in Our Children’s Education’, at Learning Squared Liberia’s Official Launch

Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee (right) and Learning Squared Liberia team doing an unveiling at official launch; inserted left is LSL President, Anthony S. Kolaco

Monrovia — Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee is admonishing Liberian parents and the government to invest in the education of the children of the country.

The Nobel Peace Laureate stated that because education is very key to her heart, since winning the Nobel Peace Prize, she has invested heavily in the education of Liberia’s children.

Serving as keynote speaker at the official launch of Learning Squared Liberia (LSL) on Friday, March 19, Madam Gbowee disclosed that her Gbowee Peace Foundation has spent more than US$2.4 million on education for the last 10 years for over 700 Liberian children.

Since 2011, it’s been 10 years now since Ms. Gbowee shared the stage with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakkul Karman of Yeman for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to award the three women with the prize for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.

Speaking further, Ms. Gbowee stated, “It is only investing in our children’s education, that will take Liberia where we want it to be. Even if we brought an angel and make him President, we are going to continue to see the recklessness, lawlessness, etc. Education is the key for any country.”

She admonished the audience that the kind of educational investment that Liberia really needs now is not only to sit in the classroom and teach. “The education that I think we should invest in is beyond the classroom. Let’s open these children’s eyes to opportunities outside and behind the classrooms. Let’s move them away from thinking that education is only when you are a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. Let them start thinking about the arts; let them start thinking about music, let them start thinking about other things. The world has evolved into a place that is no longer for just doctors or lawyers and nurses. The world is looking for entrepreneurs: people who can take Nursing and turn it into a money-making venture, people who can take peacebuilding and turn it into a money-making venture. It’s time for us to debunk the myth that farming is a dirty thing.” 

Ms. Gbowee also encouraged everyone that just paying school fee isn’t enough; adding: “Education is a 3600 investment.” She mentioned that her organization is providing this kind of education for all her students, including providing healthcare, and empowerment to their mothers.

She than told the LSL family, “It’s good you are on this journey. It’s a Herculean task you have embarked upon.” She encouraged them to mix their educational programs with making the kids to value integrity.

Also speaking Mr. John B.S. Davies, II, buttressed Madam Gbowee by urging parents and the government not to give up on quality education for the kids.

“When Liberia decided to invest in diplomacy, she produced the first woman to head the United Nations General Assembly. When Liberia decided to invest in sports, she produced to this date Africa’s only World Best, Africa Best and European Best, all in one year. We are yet to see any African breaking this record. When Liberia decided to invest in politics, she produced Africa’s first democratically elected female President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.”

Mr. Davies, who is President/CEO for the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) urged the LSL to also include feeding in their programs. He informed them he’s part of a group in his church, which feeds children in order for those kids to stay in school.

He pledged US$500 and also told the LSL team to come and sign an MOU with the LBDI so that the bank can be a partner with LSL.

For his part, Mr. Anthony Kolaco, President, LSL, told the audience that looking back over the last five years, his team in Liberia has done all to get children in school and to empower mo women.  

Even though LSL had been operating in Liberia for the last five years, it was just officially launching its programs. For those years, they had been working with 12 schools in five counties and have targeted to reach Bong and Lofa Counties.

“To date, Learning Squared Liberia has worked with over 261 students across 11 school administrators, in 15 communities and in partnership with over 20 local communities and county authorities. We have also been able to impact over 1000 indirect beneficiaries, and 30 women as direct beneficiaries,” Kolaco said.

He highlighted that LSL’s biggest dreams are educated society and children free from the shackles of poverty and disease. “We are freeing women and children from poverty with innovative solutions based on our Quality Driven Impact (QDI) approach,” he added.

He further stated that LSL is dedicated to improving education for the children of Liberia and developing the capacity of individuals and communities to build a healthy and thriving democracy.

The launching concluded with fundraising for the continued works of LSL programs in Liberia.