Liberian Journalist’s Institution Launches National Writing-Coaching Project, Donates Writing Pamphlets to High Schools

At the launching program: Journalist Samuel G. Dweh with Grand Kru County’s Superintendent Madam Doris N. Ylatun (3rd from left), and available-for-photo representative and students of one of the beneficiary Schools: Barclayville Central High School

MONROVIA – Refuge Communications, Inc. (Liberia), founded by Liberian journalist Samuel G. Dweh, has launched a writing-coaching project named “Writing Clinic”, and donated seven sets of 49-page pamphlets. Each of the study manuals contains easy-to-comprehend tutorials on Journalistic writings and literary writings (drama, poetry, and prose).

He’s the Executive Director of the Institution made up of professional writers of Literature and Journalism.

The launch was held in Grand Kru County, Mr. Dweh’s ancestral home, on May 3, 2021, as part of celebration program of the World Press Freedom Day organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) The event was held in the City Hall of Barclayville, the County’s capital.

 Press Union of Liberia’s president Charles B. Coffey, Jr. launched the project.

The launch was immediately followed by donation of the writing pamphlets to six of the High schools: Barclayville Central High School, Stanford Dennis High School, P.G. Wollor High School, Sasstown High School, Wedabo District High School, and Picnic High School.

An extra pamphlet, the remaining one, was given to Hon. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, Representative of Electoral District #2, and Deputy Speaker of Liberia’s House of Representatives—the only Legislator of Grand Kru County present at the indoor celebration.

The launch wasn’t an official part of the World Press Freedom Day program, so protocol of the event disallowed Refuge Communications, Inc.  from making a speech about the launch.

However, Executive Director Samuel G. Dweh, a member of the Press Union of Liberia, had spoken to ECOWAS Radio (formerly UNMIL Radio) prior to official commencement of the World Press Freedom Day through a Street Parade by members of the PUL with representatives of Schools in the County.. 

E.D. Dweh had told ECOWAS Radio: “Back in my Country, Liberia, in 2011, I interacted with hundreds of High School students, from various schools, who demonstrated passion for writing of Journalism and Literature but couldn’t find tutors with passion of educating them on any of these subjects, and couldn’t find an easy-to-understand pamphlet on any of these subjects produced by a Liberian.”

During an exclusive interview with this writer, Journalist Samuel G. Dweh said he’s a native of the Wedabo ethnic group of Grand Kru County, situated in the Grandcess-Wedabo Administrative District of Grand Kru County.

“I chose Grand Kru County first due to this County being my ancestral home, and second because of Grand Kru County’s extreme educational disadvantage on national Government’s national educational support line, as well as on the support list of Liberia’s international Development partners, compared to each of Liberia’s other 14 Counties,” Dweh added.

He said the concept, later christened “Refuge Communications”, was initially registered as a Television Documentary institution with the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2008, and produced its first work on Liberian refugees and immigrants.

“The documentary was done on a rented Camcorder. Two of my Nigerian friends—Taiwo Ogunjobi and Victor Ngun—assisted me on the technical aspects of the documentary. Taiwo, working with Lagos State Television, provided the video camera on hire and technical handled the recording, traveled with me everywhere. During this time Victor head of the Television Department of the Foundation of Truth Assembly, FOTA, a popular Lagos State-based Church, where I was worshipping,” the  development Journalist said during the interview on in Grand Kru County.

On recall of the TV documentary in Nigeria, Dweh said:  “The first set of Liberians who featured in the television documentary comprised those residing on Nigeria’s refugee camp, called Oru, in Ogun State, and those living on an Island named Takwa Bay, located about 300 meters off Lagos State’s seaport named Apapa.”

He said he gave discs with the recording to Liberia’s Ambassador in Nigeria, H.E. Alhassan Conteh in Abuja; Professor Dew Tuan Wleh Mayson, former Liberia’s Ambassador to France; and other prominent Nigeria-based Liberians.

“I also gave a disc to Liberia’s Head of State, Madam Ellen Sirleaf, through Professor Dew Mayson when he was coming to Liberia on a visit, which he suggested to me,” Dweh recalled.

He said the letter that accompanied President Ellen Johnson’s free disc contained his request to her Government on financial support to enable his documentary team travel around African Countries with Liberian refugees and immigrants, to capture their success stories in education and business and their plights through the lens of the camera for the Liberian President and other Liberians to see and have knowledge about their compatriots in other Countries.

“I got the documentary idea when I was a refugee in Ghana and from a private Ghanaian production named “Greetings from Abroad” about educational and economic life of Ghanaians living in America, Europe, and other parts of the World.

Dweh said when he was Editor-in-Chief of the INSIGHT newspaper, owned by Mr. Adolphus Dolo, former Senator of Nimba County, he had an opportunity of speaking directly with Head of State Ellen Johnson Sireaf, who had personally called, via telephone, in 2011 to comment on his Editorial in the newspaper.

“During the discussion, I told the President about the documentary project by my organization registered in Nigeria; she requested a proof; I sent a disc, along with a copy of my 432-page Liberian civil war novel, through Mr. Jerolinmek Piah, the President’s Press Secretary in 2011, on her instruction. But the Head of State never responded to my sent intellectual materials, via phone call or letter, until she left the Presidency,” Dweh said.

In his Home Country, Liberia, beginning from 2013, Samuel G. Dweh added other national-service platforms: production of news journals, writing-based trainings (in Journalism and Literature) for students in grade schools, coaching in Theater Arts education, and Oral English/Public Speaking tutorials.

The Executive Director of Refuge Communications, Inc. considered the project launch “incomplete”, however.

“Refuge Communications, Incorporated, Liberia, as an institution, considers the launch of Writing Clinic incomplete, on our financial ability of production of only seven pamphlets, instead of at least two hundred copies we had envisioned. We paid a total of eighteen thousand plus eight hundred Liberian Dollars, at a unit price of four thousand plus two hundred per each pamphlet of forty nine pages. The total amount includes a one thousand, seven hundred plus fifty Dollars for the seven copies,” Dweh recounted.

On support from members of the County’s Legislative Caucus members and other financially prominent Grand Kruans on “Writing Clinic” for Grand Kru County’s High Schools, the nation-building writer and journalist said he didn’t approach any of the County’s Legislative Caucus members for help— unlike he had done for his organization’s other educational projects in the past.

He said this is intentional, based on his frustration with each of the County’s Legislators on his other educational projects in the past, since 2012.

“Between 2012 and 2020 I had written many letters to each of my County’s Legislators to support my educational projects, including production of my education novel, copies to be given free to Grand Kru County’s High Schools;  producing a 12-page educational newspaper to promote educational matters in our County; and to support my planned one-week writing trainings workshops in the County’s High schools. None of them responded to any of these letters, and none of them found time to speak with me during any of my many follow-up visits at his Legislative Office, even though each Legislator had received a free copy of the Book and a copy of the newspaper named” the Grand Kru Journalist narrated.

He gave “Grade Sin”, as title of the Book; and “Edu-Diary” being the name of the newspaper.

He praised Mr. Crayton Duncan, Personal Assistant of Central Bank Governor, of Sinoe County, for being the only person who assisted with seventy United States Dollars for printing of seven copies of the book as “sample copies” to be shown to the Ministry of Education and individual education-supporting Liberians to help on production of more copies.

On the successful launch of “Writing Clinic” in his County, and witnessed by one of the County’s Legislative Caucus members, Journalist Samuel G. Dweh said, during the interview, he sees light in the tunnel of Legislative support for this and other educational projects focusing on the County.

“I believe the media publicity of Writing Clinic during the World Press  Freedom Day celebration in Grand Kru County will prick each Legislator’s conscience about the need to support this project for the academic and intellectual benefits of the entire County,” he stressed.

The vision of Refuge Communications, Inc. (Liberia), as revealed by the Executive Director during the exclusive interview, is to touch all Junior and Senior High Schools in Liberia’s 15 Counties with “Writing Clinic” and donation of at least 15 copies of the writing-coaching pamphlet to each school.

“We hope to get support from each County’s education-loving citizen, especially the County’s representative in the National Assembly. The project was launched in Grand Kru County, but it’s for all 15 political subsections of Liberia” professional writer and journalist Samuel G. Dweh revealed.

Samuel G. Dweh, a freelance journalist, said he acquired his journalism education at a Nigerian Journalism School, Times Journalism Institute, in Lagos State

“Back in my Country, between 2011 and 2015, I held the following positions for seven different print media entities: Proofreader, News Editor, Editor-in-Chief, and Reporter-Editor. My first media-related employment was Daily Observer, owned by popular Liberian journalist and writer Mr. Kenneth Y. Best,” he added.