Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reports from our friends indicate rising anxiety and uneasiness in Liberia as the situation in Ivory Coast remains unresolved and refugees pour into Liberian villages on the border. Making matters worse, those who would report the facts of a dangerously out-of-control situation in Ivory Coast have become targets of the political leader now in power there. The regime in Ivory Coast is encouraging its supporters, (many of whom are simply armed thugs manning checkpoints, border crossings, etc.) to harass, intimidate and even "arrest" journalists. His supporters and minions are following his lead in repressing truth. "Arrest" has an ominous meaning deep in the jungle around pourous and fluid border areas. There is no actual jail or court and the ones arrested are in the hands of and subject to the whim of a local, heavily armed "commander" who has absolute power and is accountable to no one.

LOEP has received horrifying first-hand reports from our Liberian friends in tense areas. They have experienced frightening and dangerous harassment and intimidation from border guards while trying to go about their work documenting Ivorian refugee flight and helping in the increasingly serious humanitarian crisis that threatens to become a calamity for the entire region.

Highly recommend this excellent report on the situation:


Monday, March 14, 2011

Hope for the Deaf School

Children with disabilities in Liberia have very little opportunity for education or training.  Hope School for the Deaf located on the Methodist Church of Liberia campus was established by David Worlobah. David is an active advocate for children with disabilities in Liberia and is devoted to Hope School and the students there.  LOEP spent some time at Hope in January conducting hearing screenings for students, assessing classroom instructional needs and generally having a wonderful time with the kids.  Hope is amazing, the students are remarkable and LOEP has committed to find ways to assist them in their work with deaf children in Liberia.

Check out this video about Hope School for the Deaf.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Re-Building Education from Scratch

As early as 2005 LOEP began considering requests to go to Liberia and work with our teacher colleagues there. It was not until 2009 that the first team actually went but for the four years between, LOEP volunteers studied everything we could find about education in Liberia both pre-war and post-war. We talked at length with our Liberian board members and friends and conducted a Needs Assessment at our partner schools to determine their professional development needs. The fairly intensive preparation and research made us feel well-prepared as we set off for our first training trip… well, it was a bit helpful, anyway.

Our goal is to continue making our training workshops and professional development assistance as relevant and useful as it can be for Liberian teachers. Liberia is moving forward fast so we have to keep up. While nothing quite substitutes for on-the-ground experience, we keep in close contact with our colleagues and maintain updates from other sources as new information becomes available on education in Liberia.

It occurred to me, because of the many questions we get when we talk about LOEP, that some who read this blog may find it interesting to keep up along with us. From time to time – as something particularly interesting or relevant comes up - I will post about education in Liberia from a broad perspective and post some links to source material, reports, etc. That may give our own LOEP projects some context and also provide some insight on life in Liberia as the country re-builds.

A couple of good places to start:


More next week...