Liberia: U.S. Embassy Pulls out Peace Corps Volunteers Amid Difficulties in Getting Money from Banks

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Monrovia – Ahead of the International Day of Volunteerism or International Volunteer Day on Thursday, December 5, the United States of America Government, through its Embassy near Monrovia, pulled out some of its Peace Corps volunteers, who had been posted around the country. 

There are reports that the embassy has recalled nearly 50 Peace Corps volunteers from their places of assignment in the counties. 

FrontPageAfrica has seen the US Ambassador’s letter sent to folks in Ganta, Nimba County in which she thanked the J. W. Pearson Extension School for its support to Aarij Abbas, the Peace Corps volunteer, who was assigned at the school before his recalled. Ambassador Christine Elder’s letter to Principal Nyan Vahn and Ganta Community Leaders doesn’t explicitly say that Mr. Abbas was being recalled; however, she thanked them for his stay at the school. Neither did she say that he is going to come back soon or a replacement is going to be sent there anytime soon. This newspaper was told by heads of some of those institutions affected that the volunteers themselves had written stating that they are being recalled from their places of assignment by their Embassy. 

The withdrawal isn’t unique to Nimba alone. There are reports that Peace Corps have been brought down to Monrovia from Lofa, Nimba and the counties in the Southeast.

Impact of Peace Corps Absence 

The absence of these very important visitors is going to have some very negative impacts in the sectors in which they had been pulled from. 

Last August 2018, 44 Peace Corps took oath to contribute to Liberia’s Education Sector. They were expected to teach 42 junior and senior high schools in the 15 counties. 

They had been drafted to teach some of the hard-to-find-Liberian-teacher courses, including the sciences. Their recall just when the 2019-2020 Academic Year has entered its second period leaves a huge vacancy. 

The Peace Corps volunteers were sent in the counties to teach Chemistry, Biology, Physics, English, among others.

Responding Inquiry of Peace Corps Pullout

Responding to news of the pullout of the Peace Corps volunteers, a spokesperson from the US Embassy near Monrovia stated: “Recent difficulties in reliably obtaining needed funds from banks up-country and in Monrovia are affecting the ability of the Peace Corps to sustain Volunteers working far from Monrovia. Consequently, the Peace Corps has made the decision to reduce temporarily the number of Volunteers in Liberia in order to ensure access and support to them. Peace Corps Volunteers will continue to serve in three counties – Bong, Margibi, and Montserrado. We are very appreciative of all the support our Volunteers’ communities have provided throughout Liberia. We hope this temporary reduction is short-lived and look forward to when we can again have Volunteers serving in most Liberian counties.”

However, FPA has been reliably told by a source very close to the US Embassy that they see it as a serious security threat when depositors, who have their hard-earned monies in the banks, can’t have access to them when they need to. 

History of Peace Corps in Liberia

Peace Corps first came to Liberia in 1962 and since that time more than 4,200 volunteers have served here over these many years. 

The Peace Corps volunteers have filled significant gaps and made singular contributions to the development of the nation.

“Many leaders in Liberia today have a Peace Corps connection — be it as a former volunteer, co-worker, teacher or friend,” Amb. Elder stated in her letter. 

Back in August 2018, when the 44 Peace Corps where taking the oath to contribute to Liberia’s Education Sector, President George Manneh Weah had disclosed that a Peace Corps, who played a fatherly role in his early life and instilled discipline in him, had given him his “George” name.   

The United States and Liberia have a long, shared history dating back nearly two centuries.

“Recent difficulties in reliably obtaining needed funds from banks up-country and in Monrovia are affecting the ability of the Peace Corps to sustain Volunteers working far from Monrovia. Consequently, the Peace Corps has made the decision to reduce temporarily the number of Volunteers in Liberia in order to ensure access and support to them. Peace Corps Volunteers will continue to serve in three counties – Bong, Margibi, and Montserrado. We are very appreciative of all the support our Volunteers’ communities have provided throughout Liberia. We hope this temporary reduction is short-lived and look forward to when we can again have Volunteers serving in most Liberian counties.”

– U. S. Embassy in Monrovia

Reaction of Parents & Edu. Ministry’s Quest for Quality Education

Esther Suah and Melvin Paye, residents of Saclepea City in Nimba County told FrontPageAfrica that the news is not good for their children’s education and the health sector. 

Speaking recently during a five-day Joint Education Sector Review in Ganta, the Minister of Education, Professor Dr. Ansu Sonii stressed the need of having qualified teachers in the classroom in every school in the country.  

Dr. Sonii emphasized that only BSc holders should be allowed to teach high school students.

The Education Minister further noted that at various colleges and universities only Master’s degree holders should teach undergrad levels.

FPA’s Nimba Correspondent, Franklin Doloquee contributed to the story

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