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Re-building Partnerships in Boway, Liberia

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

This UMC school in Boway, Liberia was originally established May 15, 1984 with funds from Obelia Scott Ross. One of our longtime OCM participants Linda Koelman visited Boway back in 2000 with a mission team from Minnesota to work on construction of the school building's nine classrooms. This is the only school in Boway. We are excited to share that OC Ministries has recently rekindled our partnership with with this community – they are in need of extra support at this time, maintaining the school. Here's some background on the school, and what their current needs are.

Background Info: Past and Current Partnerships

A non-profit organization called Mary’s Meals came to Boway this past April to access the school, they have committed to providing meals for the Boway Community School as soon as they complete the construction of a kitchen. The community has just started growing cassava, pepper, and potatoes on a small farm. Moving forwards, they plan to combine handgrown vegetables with rice, oil, salt, and beans provided by Mary's Meals.

It was communicated to us, that the school is in need of more cement bags, to plaster the floor and walls for the Mary’s Meals kitchen. They are also in need of textbooks and resource materials for their small library. The Ministry of Education provided the Civics curriculum material, but teachers are still lacking books. Due to a termite problem, desks and chalkboards are also in poor condition.

The principal told us that there are over 400 school age children in the town. Currently, the school has 58 female students and 102 male students in nursery through sixth grade. The children begin in nursery/ABC when they are six to eight years old. There is one male student in K2 who is 18 years old. Again, this is the only school in the town. The other school age children do not attend school. Parents are not able to pay the low tuition and registration fees which are not enough to operate a school.

There were nine teachers (eight male and one female), but one male teacher recently left to attend higher education. The principal received a “C” Certificate for elementary school teachers from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute in 1999. He would like to go back to school to earn a “B” certificate for junior high school teachers. This would require more teacher training, to improve the quality of teachers on staff.

Aside from one pack of sheets of paper (500 sheets), one ledger book, chalk, and the curriculum, the school has received little to no support from the Liberian government. The Association of Evangelicals in Liberia (AEL) put a hand pump on the campus. The work was completed this year (2020). AEL also has plans to build a 7-room toilet.

Boway Bishop Kulah talking with people March 2020

Becoming an Official United Methodist School

At the meeting held on March 21, 2020 the community members said that they have agreed that the school is property of The United Methodist Church and should be a United Methodist School. The community did not support the school financially and did not receive the expected help from the government. The church pastor, town chief, Bishop Kulah, Rev. Kulah, and Rev. Mondolo were at the meeting. The principal said he is at the school because of his passion to serve his community. He began as a teacher in the school in 1991 and served as principal for 13 years- since 1997. He would like the school to again be a United Methodist School.

There is currently no local school board. A board will be formed when the school is officially a UMC school and following the Policies Governing the Local School Board, the principal, local school board chairperson, and school business manager are the bank account signatories.

Boway Community meeting in church, March 2020

Current Needs

Support is needed for the teachers’ education, additional textbooks, cement chalkboards and desk repair, salary after June 2020. OC Ministries has decided to re-build our partnership with the Liberian team and sent support for the Boway School this month.

Here are list of things we have contributed to for 2020-2021 school year:

  1. Permit for School, $30 USD. The school cannot remain open without a permit and they do not get any support from the government.

  2. Help for student tuition, $1600 USD annually.  Enrollment is 160 students. 58 girls and 102 boys.  $2,000 Liberian Dollars/ $10 per kid is annually.

  3. Teacher salary needed $225 USD per month= $2700 Annual Salary. Nine teachers earn $5000 Liberian/ $25 US per teacher per month

  4. Cement to build Chalk Board for the classroom. Termites have destroyed the board.  Materials needed Cement and Paint.  Cement (2 bags) $20 per bag Chalk board and paint $10, Labor $5.  Total cost for Chalk Board $240

OC has send  a total of $4570 this month to help support the Boway School & we will be nurturing this relationship moving forward.

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