Gbartala, Liberia soybean observation demonstration plot sponsored by The Apostolic Pentecostal Church and Church Aid, Inc. of Liberia in collaboration with EYN church in Nigeria and SIL.New journeys often begin with tentative “first steps” as evidenced by an on-going initiative of The Apostolic Pentecostal Church and Church Aid, Inc. Liberia to explore soybean as a new crop option for their smallholder farmer countrymen. The Liberian initiative is an outgrowth of a September 2016 study tour sponsored by the Elgin, Illinois, USA based Church of the Brethren for small delegations from Nigeria and Liberia to visit SIL’s SMART FARM in Ghana. Dr. Dennis Thompson, PI of SIL’s MRA-10 “Seed Systems,” was the project leader.The delegation members from the two West African nations bonded while in Ghana and a unique collaboration was born. The EYN church colleagues from Nigeria, having certain soybean experience and agronomic knowledge, offered to assist their Liberian counterparts. The immediate challenge was to determine how best to move forward in Liberia in view of the challenge of doing so with limited technical and financial resources.SIL’s recommendation to the collaborators was to initially establish a few soybean observation plots. Persons to be engaged with soybean introduction in Liberia as well as smallholder farmers simply needed to see growing soybean plants and have ongoing opportunities to observe how the plants grow and develop – from planting throughout harvest. A demonstration of this type was intended to be only a “conversation starter” with common Liberians and various organizations seeking to improve the livelihoods of Liberian farmers.To that end, Nigerian and Liberian collaborations began and a demonstration plot was planted in the central city region of Gbatala. In addition to the central demonstration site, “small, small experiments, just a handful of seeds in a couple of areas” were also planted according to the Bishop, Dr. Rev. Kortu K. Brown, who participated in the 2016 study tour to SIL’s SMART Farm and has collaborated with Dr. Thompson on agricultural development initiatives since 2014.The Rev. Dr. Brown welcomes additional collaboration discussions that might allow this initial effort to be further developed with respect to exploring how soybean might become a potential cash crop for limited resource Liberian smallholder farmers.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation (HZPF) has received a well-needed donation of some $4 million, which will go toward protecting animals that are found only in Jamaica. The funds are being made available under the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, and will go toward the Zoo’s biodiversity project, ‘The Establishment of Sanctuaries for Protected Flora and Fauna and Providing Energy Efficient Transportation for Educational Tours’. The animal species that are being protected are those under threat of extinction. Speaking at the official launch of the project at the Hope Zoo Restaurant Gazebo in St. Andrew on Friday, February 22, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke said the project is quite significant, as it is critical that Jamaica protects and preserves its endemic species. “Not only are we going to develop the zoo, but even more important is the educational aspect of it, which will bring the people here, teach the people that it is in their interest that we must preserve our biodiversity,” he stated, adding, “It is a part of our heritage and it must remain so.” The Minister further congratulated the Kenneth Benjamin-led HZPF on the tremendous work they have done over the past few years in restoring the Hope Zoo, which is considered a national treasure. He noted that the restoration of the Zoo is a perfect example of what private/public sector partnership can achieve. “You have taken this 2030 Vision very seriously, because what you have developed here is a world class facility and this is just the beginning. This place has risen like a phoenix from the ashes and it’s going to soar because of the efforts that you have put in it,” he stated. The key goals of the biodiversity project include: improving the husbandry standards for the key local species; and promoting awareness among Jamaicans about the need to protect their biodiversity. Jamaica ranks fifth in the world for its endemic species, boasting over 8,000 species of plants and animals have been recorded on the island. The country also has more than 6,000 species of flowering plants, including ferns and lichens of which 28 per cent are endemic. The country also has 120 species of butterflies, 19 species of frogs, 113 species of breeding birds, and 100 species of migratory birds. In his remarks Resident Representative, UNDP, Dr. Arun Kashyap, said the project underscores the UNDP’s commitment to working with partners to identify and implement appropriate interventions that meet the development needs of Jamaica. “The project supports our overarching goals of achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ensuring that there is sustainable development beyond 2015,” he said. “The assistance being given to Jamaica will help to further put the country on a path to realising the Vision 2030 Development Plan,” he stated.“The project supports our overarching goals of achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ensuring that there is sustainable development beyond 2015,” he said. “The assistance being given to Jamaica will help to further put the country on a path to realising the Vision 2030 Development Plan,” he stated.
The Ministry’s policy position is that no principal can be appointed to lead an educational institution unless he/she has done the requisite training at the NCEL. Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says that schools are benefiting from the effective management of principals who have been trained and certified by the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL).The Ministry’s policy position is that no principal can be appointed to lead an educational institution unless he/she has done the requisite training at the NCEL.“We have seen the tremendous result of that, where the schools that have these trained and certified principals are emerging and they are doing well,” Senator Reid said.He was addressing the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) Sixth Biennial General Meeting and National Conference held at Jamaica College in St. Andrew on Saturday (July 14).NCEL is the premier educational leadership training and development organisation creating world-class leaders for Jamaica and the global community.Its mission is to develop and support highly competent, educational leaders, who are able to create and sustain effective schools, thereby contributing to national development.Minister Reid told his audience that the NCEL is moving to equip vice principals, senior teachers and bursars “because the Ministry wants to ensure that people are trained appropriately for the roles and responsibilities that they are asked to take on”.“We must strive in all we do to make sure that the persons serving our children at all levels within our schools are highly trained, highly effective, so that quality education can be delivered to the population,” he stressed.Senator Reid encouraged members of the NPTAJ to continue to serve on school Boards, which are charged with ensuring the effective management of institutions.“Stakeholders like parents are very important. It is a role that we want to cement,” he said. Story Highlights Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says that schools are benefiting from the effective management of principals who have been trained and certified by the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL). “We have seen the tremendous result of that, where the schools that have these trained and certified principals are emerging and they are doing well,” Senator Reid said.