States and Liberian government officials say U.S. Peace Corps volunteers will
return to Liberia nearly 20 years after they fled a civil war. A Liberian
Foreign Ministry statement quotes U.S. Embassy Charge d'Affaires Brooks
Robinson as saying the return is an important milestone which reflects
Washington's confidence in Liberia's recovery and stability.
Cletus Sieh is Liberia's acting minister of information. He
told VOA the U.S. Peace Corps
volunteers are due in Liberia soon.
know it's going to be very soon, sometimes by the end of the month (August) or
early next month. They're supposed to be returning to Liberia after President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made an appeal to President Bush and the U.S. government
for the Peace Corps to come back to Liberia," he said.
said the return of the Peace Corps volunteers is an indication that conditions
in Liberia are improving following 14 years of civil war.
Sirleaf for the past two years or so has been trying her best to make sure that
Liberia is accepted into the comity of nations after the civil war we've gone
through. And the goodwill of the international community, in particular the
U.S. government has been there for her government. If you can recall, President
Bush was here visiting Liberia, which had not happened in so many years. So
when the president made this appeal, the U.S. government was able to respond in
a positive way," Sieh said.
said most of the returning Peace Corps volunteers would be serving in the
of them are going to be in the academic area. Of course there will also be
others that will be involved in the technical areas, especially in the areas of
agriculture, engineering. And the bulk of them would be in the academic field,
and let us not also forget in the area of health," he said.
said the Sirleaf government has taken several steps to encourage young people
to enter the teaching field which he said has not appealing since the end of
the civil war.
speaking since the civil war ended the teaching field has not been attractive
in Liberia in terms of the salary skill, and so a lot of people are attracted
to the teaching field. Now what this government has done is to make sure that
scholarships are provided through the William V.S. Tubman Teacher Training
College and the opening up of (BWI) the Booker Washington Institute and other
facilities to make sure that teachers are trained," he said.
agreed the Liberian government needed to do more to encourage Liberians to
enter the teaching field, including salary incentives and tax breaks to teach
in the rural areas.
far there are some incentives in this new budget that has been approved by the
national legislature. Some incentives will be given especially to teachers in
the rural areas, also nurses and doctors assigned in the rural areas so as to
make the place attractive to them," Sieh said.
Sirleaf government recently issued Executive Order No. 14 waving income tax on
salary and wages of individuals with monthly earnings of US$70.00 or less.
said the government hopes such incentives would encourage more people to enter
the teaching field.