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When are we going to look - when is the world paying attention?

Yemen – Syria – Nigeria – Congo – Libya – Mozambique …. the rising and falling reports and images of tragedies seem to be in a fluid transition with terrorism, instability, natural disasters, corruption and the dark Moloch Internet (fake news, cybercrime) to unite in such a way that hardly borders between real peace and clear war are to be made out. But when are we going to look? When does the world look at it? Yemen right now – water as one of the most important, missing foundations, along with all the other misery to which the children, women and old people in particular are exposed. What are the reasons that the cry for help from Yemen has been heard by the Western world now? Wasn’t it just those pictures of war-injured people, traumatized children, destroyed villages and towns? Live videostreams from crisis areas, right out of the fires of events? THAT – so it seems likely – has to happen until the world pays attention. What a sad chapter. Emerging countries such as Liberia on the West African coast are trying to find its way. The peace reached by the United Nations (UNO) in 2003, after 14 years of civil war is so thin-skinned that little is needed for a new smoldering fire. Corruption and lack of perspectives, desolate infrastructures, lack of water, catastrophic hygienic conditions; difficult or scarce access to primary medical-care; unemployment, crime, fear of new epidemic crises like Ebola in 2014 and much more fuel dissatisfaction and fears of the people living in poverty of well over 4.5 million people. But who cares? A small country like Liberia is on nobody’s radar – it has no mouth-tube, no refugee drama, so we wait for crippling pictures and reports that reach us via television, newspapers and push messages on smart phones, tablets, and we are astonished not hear before from Liberia, or would like to hear. But there are opportunities. Proactive investments in education and structures are worthwhile at a time when this is still possible. After that, it is too late and the international community must provide millions of dollars in emergency aid and mitigation – as it is now in Yemen. The key is education, water and waste management, health, prevention and safety. Investing into children and young people on the one hand (vocational training) and in the training of willing opinionmakers (strategic management) of a social order on the other hand. No – it’s not about millions of European development funds disappearing in the wake of a corrupt African administration. It is about the willingness to pass on KNOWLEDGE, to teach, to guide, to motivate and to take an active part in the paradigm shift from “survival” to “shaping life” with patience. Thanks to the unbureaucratic commitment and willingness of a Swiss engineering and hospital sector; the help of private institutions, and an internationally recognized peace researcher and lecturer from Germany, the Swiss BTFS Foundation in Liberia runs a school and hydraulic engineering program in Liberia to set valuable accents. Liberians will be able to successfully take their fate into their own hands and help the country in its development process (infrastructure, hydro- and waste-management, jobs, staple foods, tourism).

HILFE ZUR SELBSTHILFE IN LIBERIA, WEST AFRIKA

Dr. Burkhard Luber (Friedensforscher) ist ein Freund unseres Stiftungsratspräsidenten Felix Walz. Er sprach kürzlich in seinem Fernstudienkurs für das BTFS-Team in Monrovia von den sog. “Neuen Kriegen” in unserer Zeit. Er verweist auf die Unterschiede der heutigen Bürgerkriege in den südlichen Ländern im Vergleich zu den «alten Kriegen» des 20. Jahrhunderts.

Für mich sind das auch Belege für die vielen Instabilitäten auf der Welt. Das Säbelrasseln der großen Machthaber; Kriegszustände und Terror welche die Ängste schüren. Wo sind heute die Grenzen zwischen Frieden und Krieg noch sichtbar?

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Donation from ENEA Landscaping GmbH: Computer, Laptops und Mobile Phones

ENEA Landscaping GmbH donates computers, laptops and mobile phones for our team in Liberia West Africa

Instead of disposing of IT material, my childhood friend Enzo Enea, CEO of ENEA Landscaping GmbH, Rapperswil-Jona decided in mid-August to give our foundation nine mobile phones, four laptops and eight desktop computers. The phones and two of the laptops have already arrived at our team in Monrovia. At the end of this year, we want to ship the remaining computers to Liberia and set up the first “computer lab” in our Immanuel school.

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Schweizer Know-how ermöglicht in Liberia den Bau eines Brunnens, Wasserturmes und funktionierenden WCs

Liberias UNO-Delegierter reiste extra nach Feusisberg, um danke zu sagen:

(v. l.) Markus Blatter, Stiftung BTFS; Roland Anderegg, Präsident RC Oberer Zürichsee; Dr. Michael Richter, Past Präsident RC Linthebene; Paul Wolokollie Tate, UNO-Delegierter von Liberia; Michael Stutz, Butti Bauunternehmung AG; Felix Walz, Präsident BTFS, Beat Jud, Stiftung BTFS. (Bild zvg)

Schule und Kirche in miserablem Zustand

Das erste Projekt, das BTFS anpacken wollte, war die Immanuel Christian Academy und Immanuel Church (ICA). Diese Organisation umfasst sechs Blocks (Kleingemeinden) in Monrovia. Die sanitären Zustände an der Schule und in der Kirche waren schlicht und einfach katastrophal. Kein sauberes Wasser, keine funktionierenden WCs, kein Wasserabfluss in der Regenzeit, und Krankheiten wie Malaria, Typhus und HIV waren und sind noch immer den Alltag prägende Erscheinungen.

Zwei Jahre dauerte die Vorbereitung und die Rekrutierung von geeig­netem lokalen Personal. In dieser Zeit erfolgte auch der Aufbau eines Netzes zu Bildungs­, Gesundheits­ und Sicherheitsverantwortlichen. Dann brauchte es einen Fachmann aus der Schweiz. Gian Reto Lazzarini, Delegierter des Verwaltungsrats der Butti Bauunter­nehmung AG in Pfäffikon, erklärte sich spontan bereit, einen seiner Mitarbei­ter für zwei Monate zur Verfügung zu stellen.

Lesen Sie den ganzen Artikel von Urs Höfner, Höfner Volksblatt

BTFS Dedicates US$60K WASH Project to SD Cooper Community

The People of SD Cooper Community dream of getting safe drinking water has come alive, following the construction and dedication of a US$60,000 water project by Swiss-Liberian based organization, Bowier Trust Foundation Switzerland (BTFS).

Fetching Safe drinking water has ben a serious challenged for community dwellers, sometimes forcing them to go far away distances during the dry season, only to get water.

But the dedication of a water tower and pump on Sunday, June 17, 2018 in Paynesville, would help to greatly change the difficulties experienced by thousands from worse to better.

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Water supply and construction work of sanitation infrastructure

BTFS Project kickoffs at ICA in the SD Cooper Community, Paynesville. The project begun Monday, May 7, 2018 and targets the construction of water and and sanitation facilities for dwellers with the SD Cooper environ. If completed, the water will ease the burden faced by members of that area in fetching safe drinking water. Getting water, especially during the dry season is a challenged for the residents. The latrine facility would help control sanitation at the school. BTFS President Felix Walz and corps of officials broke ground for the project Sunday.

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Water supply and sanitation infrastucture
Day 1: the project begun at Monday, May 7
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Project overview BTFS 2018 in Liberia

 1. School Project Immanuel Christian Academy (ICA) SD Cooper Road, Paynesville

  • Water supply / health hygiene / sustainable waste water disposal
  • Close involvement of the six surrounding communities and the National Police
  • Supported by ROTARY Clubs from Switzerland and Monrovia
  • Accompanied by a construction specialist from BUTTI AG, Pfäffikon (butti.ch) and administered by our competent management team Liberia
  • Based on a binding agreement (MoU BTFS & ICA) to regulate the responsibilities and timely implementation of the defined construction work (Launch end of April 2018 with well drilling, water tower, Septictank excavation, new toilet facility)

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2. Liberia National Police / Mobilizing the Population / Effective Community Policing

  • Strengthening the sense of community-togetherness in problem solving, through Liberia National Police and BTFS prevention campaigns to promote security and protection against sexual abuse of women and girls
  • Trust building process between the poor population and the police, among others also for the sustainable promotion of education in an environment that is largely free of crime (as our ICA school project).
  • Effective and measurable promotion of community engagements, including the so-called “Motorcyclists*” and their leaders, as well as women and youth organizations

*) Motorcyclists “have a reputation for being criminal and violent. They seek social acceptance as well as the way back into a constitutional society Read more


 3. E-Learning Class-Teaching / Internet based Distance Learning

  • Free offer of the German lecturer, Dr. Burkhard Luber. He is an award-winning peace researcher and expert in dealing with conflict resolution and reconciliation measures in a former war zone (http://burkhard-luber-teaching.blogspot.de/ http://www.dasmili.eu/autoren/dr-burkhard-luber/)
  • Pilot class with 15 participants consisting of BTFS Staff, ICA School and Church, as well as two Officers of the Liberia National Police
  • 12 monthly learning modules starting from April 2018. Learning objectives are: conflict management, de-escalation, dialogue / communication (80% illiteracy), project management to contribute to sustainable peacebuilding and stability in the reconstruction process in Liberia
  • The distance learning course usually takes place at our BTFS Office in the SD Cooper Road Community and is mentored locally by a Pastor of the Immanuel Church (with a Master in Education) as well as by our Administration BTFS Management Team

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Workshop for young women on the subject of education, self-confidence and courage to do what they desire to do.

Moderation: Hamnson Gaye, Myrtle Bowier and Sam Holt.

During a period of several weeks, around 30 young women between the ages of 16 and 24 were recruited from the surrounding residential areas around the SD Cooper Road Community and motivated to attend and actively participate in this workshop. The event was dedicated to the following four topics:

  1. self-esteem and respect
  2. sexual harassment and abuses
  3. dealing with advantages and dangers of the Internet and social media
  4. creativity and self-confidence

As a trainer for the topics mentioned, two proven subject matter experts were available. Healthcare expert and BTFS lecturer, Ms. Oretha Slocum, lectured on the first two areas (self-esteem and sexual harassment) in her usual dedicated way, while Pastor Sumo V. Kovah (Masters in Education) talked about the benefits and dangers of social media and education in a more and more digitalised world. A welcome guest was also a representative of the Liberian National Pollce, in person of Superintendent Blanyon Himmie, Community Service Section.

The main purpose of the workshop was to promote the sense of togetherness of young women; learn to assert themselves in everyday life; to be able to say no and demand respect when respect for women is lacking. Furthermore, that problems – of whatever kind – better in the collective than alone can be processed and solved. The young women were encouraged to actively seek contact with our office whenever they face challenges.

Five of the young women attracted attention through their active participation and are invited to participate in working groups in activities to promote the local community. To that end, our foundation’s founder, Myrtle Bowier, gave an impressive closing speech, picturing to young women what can be achieved if they believe in themselves and use their talents actively.

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BTFS Advisor Markus Blatter: My heart is dancing when I see a child's smile

During my stay in Monrovia / Liberia early November 2017, representing our foundation, I enjoyed to attend a social event at the Immanuel Christian Academy at S.D. Cooper Road in Paynesville, where I was invited to distribute 320 balls on behalf of the Swiss foundation myball.ch. For this purpose, all students were gathered together in the church in front of the school. After a short speech on my part and with wholehearted greetings from Switzerland, we were able to hand over a ball to each of all children present. The feeling of joy was overwhelming among the children and also the teachers. First of all, I distributed felt-tip pens to the teachers so that they could use them to write the individual names of the children on the balls. I will never forget the colorful splendor and the laughter of the children with their bright eyes. The joy triggered by these balls in the 300 or so children was limitless. Many thanks to the myball.ch foundation for bringing wonderful smiles on children’s faces.

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