The Secretary General of the Mano River Union (MRU) Ambassador Medina Wesseh has toured the campus of the Forestry Training Institute in Bomi County, western Liberia.
During a brief tour of the facility over the weekend, while en route to Grand Cape Mount County, Amb. Wesseh said the stop was intended to see the level of work that is being carried out at the Institute, and what help the MRU could provide, noting that she is very impressed with the level of work ongoing there.
The Institute is under the supervision of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA)
With the level of work at the Institute, the MRU boss promised to follow up with the University of Liberia and the Liberian Senate to see if she could get some experts to come in and work with the FDA to ensure that the Institute is properly coordinated to be able to create a new school on forestry.
In response, the Executive Director of Forestry Training Institute, Mr. Joel D. Gamys, thanked Amb. Wesseh for stopping by at the institute to see what is ongoing there, and disclosed that recently, the Institute graduated 64 students with specialties in Conservation Forestry, Community Forestry, Commercial Forestry and Cartography and Land Survey.
Mr. Gamys said the new graduates have received commitments for long-term internship placements from the USFS, Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary, Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) and Society of the Conservation of Nature of Liberia.
He added that the students of the Institute are from all 15 counties of Liberia and they have ambition to become technicians to contribute to the sustainable management of Liberia’s Forest resources.
“The school has a hosting capacity of 200 students, in addition to the 120 students this year, and other discussions are ongoing for in-service students”, he also revealed.
The Mano River Union (MRU) established the Union Forestry Training Institute (UFTI) in 1977 as a result of regional collaboration and initiative. Upon its establishment, every necessary equipment and support were made available by the MRU.
It was part of the MRU training institutions in member states of (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). The UFTI and the Union Marine Training Institute (UMTI) were established in Liberia; the Union Mining Training Institute (UMiTI) in Boke, Guinea; Union Custom Training Institute (UCTI) in Freetown, Sierra Leona, respectively while Cote D’Ivoire joined lately as member.
After a decade of successful operations, all Mano River Union training institutions were de-unionized by resolution of a ministerial meeting in 1985, because of financial difficulties.
The de-unionization by resolution transferred all its training institutions to the member countries in which such institutions existed effective November 1986.
This development gave birth to the today known Forestry Training Institute, making it a Liberian Government entity. The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Education assumed responsibility for the Forestry Training Institute (FTI) in January 1987. Three (3) years after the Government of Liberia took over FTI, the civil crisis occurred in 1990 and everyone ran away to safe areas.
Later, the Government of Liberia transferred the Institute under the supervision of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in 2006. On the resumption of training in 2007, not all the equipment, tools, machines and vehicles were found, the infrastructures such as buildings were seriously damaged, and the majority rose to the ground. In May 2009, the institute started occupying the depleted and dilapidated structures of FTI for only conducting classes and nothing else. Editing by Jonathan Browne