‘Going Beyond the Grid’

first_imgAs Liberians await the first 22-megawatts turbine at the Mt. Coffee Hydro Power Plant to go online on December 15, the ‘Liberia Energy Access Practitioner’ (LEAP) group has been launched to help government decentralize energy to rural areas in the country.The program was organized by Mercy Corps, an international non-governmental organization, through its ‘Light Up Liberia’ project with funding from the European Union.The launch, which was held over the weekend, brought together representatives from Total Liberia, Plan Liberia, Alternative Energy, We4Self, GIZ-Endev, among others.The network is particularly intended to bring together diverse energy service providers and stakeholders to support the delivery of clean, reliable, and affordable decentralized energy as a way of contributing to Liberia’s electrification projects.LEAP will also concentrate on the promotion of solar technology and clean cooking stoves, with its members’ operations (mostly small and medium enterprises) expected to range from Pico solution to larger, decentralized solar systems.“We recognize that off-grid energy solutions move beyond bridging the energy gap by addressing lighting, cooking, pumping needs to positively affect outcomes in education, health and agriculture and enhance livelihood opportunities,” a representative of Mercy Corps said.According to him, there is currently no formal network or trade association for retailers as well as distributors of off-grid renewable energy products in Liberia. As a result, there is little to no collaboration between players in the rural energy market. In her keynote address on behalf of the management of the Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), Mrs. Mardia Potter Warner said the government of Liberia through RREA will continue to support and promote the platform for the growth of the sector.“We fully endorse the outcome of the LEAP Network, considering it a good basis for furthering our cooperation and intend to go beyond the agreement reached in the area of renewable energy,” she said.“We commit ourselves to working with others to achieve the goals of the LEAP network especially through the partnership initiatives that could contribute to expanding the use of renewable energy,” she added.In remarks, Mercy Corps Deputy Country Director Douglas Cooper lauded the government through the RREA and other partners for the progress made in Liberia. “Mercy Corps has been in operation in Liberia since 2002 implementing programs in food security, peace-building and youth empowerment.” Over the last year, he said, Mercy Corps has also been engaging in social mobilization and economic development in response to the impacts of the Ebola outbreak.Mercy Corp Liberia currently has funding from the European Commission (EC) through a 36-month program entitled “Light Up Liberia” in Bong, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Lofa, Gbarpolu, Nimba and rural Montserrado counties.According to Cooper, with support from the EC, Mercy Corps Liberia will improve access to affordable and sustainable energy for rural families.The Liberia Energy Access Practitioner group will operate from 2016-19. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

“Not just congratulations, we’re fed up with that now”

first_img…Poole pleads for better incentivesAs the 2018 South American Games athletes returned to Guyana, the usual script was followed: a press conference and a photo opportunity. Although this has become the custom in our homeland, Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) Technical Director and Boxing Coach Terrence Poole decided that he would take a stand against the unfair treatment that athletes have been receiving over the past years.After presenting his report on the Cochabamba, Bolivia trip, where both of the Guyanese boxers secured bronze medals, Poole made a passionate plea on his athletes’ behalf.“We need to look at athletes’ welfare now. The athletes are willing to perform, but if they don’t have things to go after, they will not perform.”Poole went on to use Guyanese javelin record holder Leslain Baird’s promotion as an example of what could be offered to sportspersons. “The GDF offered Senior Petty Officer Baird, since before the Commonwealth Games the Chief-of-Staff said ‘you give me 77.5 and I promote you’. He went to Australia, he didn’t make it, but that projection was still there for him. He went to SA Games and he broke the record and he got a promotion,” the GBA Technical Director noted.After positing that a benchmark or goal will motivate athletes to do better at international engagements, the Boxing Coach proceeded to question the National Sport Policy draft, which he believes should not hinder Government and the National Sports Commission from dispensing better treatment to their sports personalities. “Why are we just waiting on a policy to draft?” Poole questioned.“Let the athletes get tangible things; they must want to go on further. Not just congratulations, we’re fed up with that now; we passed that stage,” an evidently frustrated Poole concluded.After Poole’s passionate discourse, Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) President KA Juman-Yassin took a stand with the Coach, explaining that his organisation would try its utmost best to reward the athletes, but the Government could offer much more.“An athlete goes, he comes back – a photo opportunity and that’s the end. I endorse what Terrence has said and we need something much more tangible from the Government. The GOA cannot do everything,” Juman-Yassin said.The Guyanese athletes returned home with a total of five medals from the 11-member contingent. Javelin thrower Leslain Baird broke the national record with a throw of 78.65 metres which landed him a silver medal. Boxers Colin Lewis and Keevin Allicock both walked away with bronze medals, while track and field athletes Jenea McCalmon and Winston George also copped bronze medals.last_img read more

National Prayer Day marred by divisions

first_imgThat changed in the 1990s, when the National Day of Prayer Committee established a task force to help coordinate activities across the country and connected it with Colorado’s Focus on the Family. The conservative group, led by James Dobson, took charge of the day, then insisted that all participants adhere to its “Judeo-Christian” theological tenets. A participant must “be an evangelical Christian who has a personal relationship with Christ … and acknowledge that I am working for the Lord Jesus Christ and the furthering of his work on Earth.” Three years ago, the task force, now led by Dobson’s wife, Shirley, caused an uproar in Utah by saying that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Seventh-day Adventists, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus would not be allowed to pray at any of the services it sponsors. The exclusions still apply, which is why Chaplain Linda Walton has helped organize an alternative service for National Prayer Day at the Provo LDS Tabernacle. Some faiths do not say traditional prayers but may meditate on deity, Walton says. “Some will stand up, hold their arms up, lay on their bellies, whatever. We are going to continue to support everyone’s ability to do that.” • Photo Gallery: Day of Prayer Thursday’s National Day of Prayer was once a symbol of American unity and faith in God that transcended boundaries. In recent years, though, the decades-old tradition has become mired in divisions. Across the nation, most celebrations are organized by and for evangelical Christians, with others choosing to host alternative services. Believers in Muncie, Ind.; Oklahoma City; Troy, Mich.; Salt Lake City and more have added more inclusive events, with participation across the spiritual spectrum. The holiday began in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked Americans to pray for guidance as it was trying to birth a nation. Abraham Lincoln called for a day of fasting and prayer in 1863. Nearly a century later, Harry Truman made it an annual event, and in 1988, Ronald Reagan set aside the first Thursday in May so citizens could join in worship across all religious boundaries. Walton, a Seventh-day Adventist, has been helping with this kind of interfaith prayer service for a decade. Mormons have been included among the organizers, but this is the first time it has been in an LDS setting with a high-ranking LDS official speaking. “We’ve rotated it around to all different denominations,” she says. “It’s time for the LDS to have their turn.” The Rev. Gregory Johnson of Standing Together, a joint ministry of Utah evangelical clergy, has no problem with the alternative service – and may even attend – but he defends the task force’s approach. “Our events are led by evangelicals, but the public is welcome,” says Johnson, who coordinated several evangelical-only services in Orem and Salt Lake City. “We have no desire to offend or hurt people’s feelings, but it’s important to pray with others who share the idea of who God is.” By most measures, the National Day of Prayer Task Force’s efforts have been successful. In 2005, it claimed more than 50,000 “prayer events” nationwide and had an annual budget in excess of $2 million, according to a report by the Texas Freedom Network, a religious liberties watchdog group in Austin. “They’ve hijacked what was supposed to be an opportunity for all Americans of all faiths to pray for the country,” said Dan Quinn, communications director for the Texas Freedom Network. “In a time of crisis that we are in right now, wouldn’t it be better to ask for guidance on how to pull Americans of all faiths together?” pstack@sltrib.com (801) 257-8725. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more