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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.

Orientation: 1
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“Believe In Yourselves” – Swiss Retired Police Captain Calls On Liberian Youth

The youth of Liberia have been encouraged to believe in their passion, strength, motivation, skills and talents. “Everybody has talent; but you need to believe in it, you need to use it, and not give-up”, a retired Police Captain, Felix Walz (Flomo), Founder and President of the Bowier Trust Foundation Switzerland has asserted. Writes Augustus Nimley alias Media King.

The retired Police Captain made the assertion in an exclusive interview with Global News Network Liberia (GNN) recently at the end of a one-day symposium on teenage pregnancy and its associated dangers in Paynesille, Liberia. The symposium brought together students from several schools in Paynesville.

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Liberia’s Teenagers Cautioned Against Teenage Pregnancy

Paynesville – Reflecting on the topic ‘Teenage Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)’, registered mid-wife Oretha Slocum thrilled her audience when she outlined factors responsible for teenage pregnancy in the country.

Report by Kennedy L. Yangian klyangian@frontpageafricaonline.com

She spoke on Sunday February 26, 2017 at a one day seminar organized by the Switzerland based NGO, Browier Trust Foundation, at the Immanuel Church School in the SKD Community.

The first major factor she listed as being responsible for teenage pregnancy is lack of job for the parents.

Madam Slocum also revealed that broken homes also play another important role as it leaves many children with no parental care.

She called on teenagers to take advantage of sex education. According to Slocum, the effect of teenage pregnancy could be medical complication because the body of a teenager is not ready for pregnancy.

“Girls you should learn to stop asking boys for gifts and stop going around those different guys because your action will encourage them to come around you,” said Madam Slocum.

Hawa Morris, 15, told FrontPage Africa shortly after Madam Slocum’s presentation that she took interest in the pieces of advice offered by the nurse.

“As you are aware, most of the teenage girls love material things and go out to sell themselves but as a student wanting a brighter future, I will take the mid-wife advice seriously,” said Morris.

Prior to Madam Slocum’s presentation, many speakers spoke on different topics to include waste management, PTA involvement in student education and community policing.

Felix Walz, a Swiss national and retired Police captain who served in UNMIL and now the President of Bowier Trust Foundation stated that after his retirement from UNMIL, he returned to his homeland and formed the foundation named in honor of a class room teacher, Myrtle Bowier, because of her dedicated service to the teaching profession.

He stated that while working in the country as security personnel, he realized that there was a gap between the police and the community   and therefore form the foundation in order to work with the community through various programs.

Walz said the foundation was duly registered in January 2017 and since then; it has targeted 12 communities to carry out its programs.

“Liberia’s challenges are big. The country has a potential. What it needs is to have someone to help it move forward, especially institutional capacity building,” said Walz.

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Member of BTFS Liberia Management Team organises Soccer Tournament in Saye Town Community Monrovia Liberia

On 11 and 12 February 2017, a football tournament was organized by the local youth organization “Progressive Youth for Change” with the help of our BTFS Liberia team, Sam Holt jun. (our initiative youth representative). The occasion took place in memory of the dead or killed young people of the Saye-Town Community. According to the local tradition, a leap year such as 2017 serves to commemorate all deceased youths of the municipality. It is about the cohesion of young people. For this reason, a football match with a total of 8 teams from around Saye-Town Community was organized. On the first day the qualifying matches took place. The final game of the two best teams on the following day, Sunday, February 12, 2017, was supported by about 300 spectators with great enthusiasm and the players were cheered. Private sponsors and the Bowier Trust Foundation Switzerland donated a total of around US $ 450. This allowed 20 bags with each 30 small “water bags”, 4 packs of “bottled water” for invited guests, as well as a number of “soft drinks“. Two policemen from the Liberia National Police, who live in the town of Saye-town, voluntarily provided with their presence law and order in their free time. The football event went without any problems and was a joyous and successful festival to enter this year’s “leap year” history of the Saye-Town Community. In particular, 5 dead teenagers who died last year were thought of. 3 were found dead as victims of presumptive accidents or violent killings and two died of malaria and typhoid. Our active “Youth Representative” and enthusiastic football fan, a certified electrician and IT-Crack – Sam Holt, served as “Secretariat” and co-organizer of the football festival. We thank him for his continued commitment as a young Liberian, who does not want anything more than the children and young people have a chance in life to make the beautiful Republic of Liberia safe and sound.

“We want to encourage young people to participate in the community in order to strengthen the community spirit through collective togetherness…” (Interview with Sam G. Holt, BTFS Member of the Liberia Management Team)

History of the School "Immanuel Christian Academy" in Paynesville / Local Folk Festival "Finishing Well 2016"

The current target area of the foundation work of BTFS is located about 45 minutes southeast of the center of the capital Monrovia in Paynesville and is called SD Cooper Road Communities. It comprises 4 so-called blocks – named after 4 municipalities. SD Cooper Road Community, Chapel Town, Divine Community and Gbagbo Town. Families of all 4 “blocks send more than 300 children to Immanuel Christian Academy (ICA), SD Cooper Road, where they are taught from primary to junior high. The school principal is headmaster, pastor Paul Mitchell, who can count on the help of about 20 teachers. About 60% of them have a teacher’s certification. They receive many a times, but not consistently, little salaries ranging between 40 to 60 US $ per month. Approximately 70% of families can pay a small school fee or tuition. The property belongs to Immanuel Church, located in the same place, under the direction of Reverend Pastor Adrean Neufville. The church supports as much as possible the maintenance of the school enterprise. The infrastructure of the school is in unsatisfying condition. Before the last rainy season in April 2016, the rooves were completely repaired thanks to donations from Switzerland, so that virtually no leakage was experienced in the 13 classrooms during the heavy rainfalls between April and October. The children received Liberian rice and water bags 1-2 x per day from women who do this voluntarily and receive a few Liberian dollars per week (about 90 LBD = 1 US$). There is no electricity and the hygienic conditions are simply miserable. There is a single water pipe with a water tap, which can be used inconsistently and unreliable as a water dispenser. Not far, there is a well, a draw-fountain, where water is brought by buckets. An acceptable “squatting-toilet” solution would already be seen as progress. It stinks and there is no suitable sewage and waste disposal. Children are neither used to washing their hands properly, nor are they protected from diseases such as malaria, typhus, diarrhea and HIV. Teenage pregnancies are a big issue because sexual assaults and violence is one of the most pressing problems. The blocks “Kpelle” and “Gbagbo Town” are particularly problematic and considered as negative incident breeding zone.

Fruitful contacts to Immanuel Church and its School were established in 2016 by local members of the “Bowier Trust Foundation Switzerland” – initiated by its founder, Felix Walz. His plans for the way forward, has been actively supported by representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Liberia National Police. The first ad-hoc team – later augmented by appointed Team Leader Gladys Flomo, youth representative Sam Holt jr, women representative Myrtle Bowier and chief administration, Michael Smith, took care of the concerns and needs of these 4 blocks around SD Cooper Road. First meetings with representatives of the various women and youth organizations led to a dedicated training in the Immanuel Church, where they were trained how to jointly identify and structure problem areas. This basic training in project management met with great interest, but it had to be recognized that it takes a lot of patience and time until the methodology of contemporary project management can really be understood and applied.

On June 29, 2016, a first large-scale campaign with public interest took place in the nearby “Right to play Complex”. Well over 200 young people in particular took part. Among them was a large number of girls, women, policemen, teachers, religious representatives and about 70 members of the so-called “Motorcyclists” – some of them with a criminal reputation. Some of their leaders later said that this was the first time that they had come together peacefully with the police in one place. The event was attended by high-ranking representatives of the Liberia National Police as well as representatives of the ministries. The main focus was on calls for peaceful coexistence and violence – especially sexual violence against girls and women – and finding ways to help the children achieve a better future. The local press and UNMIL Radio reported on this campaign.

By the end of 2016, further organizational and executive meetings followed with representatives of the 4 blocks. The aim was to consolidate the existing orientation on effective community partnership building and to confirm the Immanuel school as an “epic center” and to create a model, a show-case, together to motivate the population that only a peaceful and joint approach to problem solving can be financially supported. On the basis of this increasingly widespread acceptance, and because a trustful team began to crystallize, it was decided at the end of 2016 to organize an occasion with the local population – for once without problems, but to make the annual conclusion worthy and positive and to prepare a delightful transit to the new Year 2017. Positive and constructive in a direction to go together in the future and not return back. We called the event “Finishing Well 2016”. More than 400 people – especially children – participated in the event on 28 December 2016 and became a wonderful festive event for a few hours. The political advisor of our foundation, Mr. Maxwell Jones, formerly Assistant to the Liberian Foreign Minister, demanded and motivated people to actively participate in the school model and to work together with the Liberia National Police to stabilize peace effectively so that today ‘s children’ s perspectives for a secure future, as well as access to education becomes reality.

All involved people are confident to achieve further positive milestones collaboratively. These are to be prioritized, structured and implemented with guidance and support of the Swiss Foundation in a planned workshop for 2017.

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