Liberia is a small English speaking Country in West Africa with a population of a little over 5 million people; 60% of which are below the age of 24 (LISGIS, 2014). The country was plunged into a 14 year civil war between 1989 and 2003. During the war, all public services including education collapsed. Peace returned to Liberia in 2004 and progress to restore social services has been made. However, there is still more to do in the education sector. The country is ranked 178 out of 191 countries on the Human Development Index. The literacy rate in 2017 stood at 48.30%. The challenges within the country's education sector include unskilled and many unqualified teachers, poor learning outcomes, over-age enrollment, a huge number of out-of-school children, etc. According to a World Bank 2016 Liberia Educational Sector Analysis Report, about 67% of high-school teachers are unqualified. This puts Liberia in a difficult if not impossible position to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities by substantially increasing the supply of qualified teachers.
Higher education is provided by few public and private universities. However, these were also severely affected during the brutal civil war. The institutions lack essential teaching and learning materials. The libraries are not equipped with books and other essentials (computer laboratories) are not available for students in these schools.
Considerable efforts have been made by the government and other humanitarian organizations to help the country's education system back on track. However, there is
still an urgent need to address the country’s teachers and teaching capacities gaps.
The Helping Hands Network was established as a nonprofit to address the challenges and gaps that impede teaching and learning in Liberia. Since 2012, we continue to build specialized capacities for the teachers to improve teaching-learning-outcomes. We provide simple and easily made experimental materials for science teachers. We create continuous professional development opportunities for high school teachers. We see teachers as the servants in the delivery educational services to communities. We believe in the multiplier effect of working with them to impact schools and communities. Our commitment is rooted in the belief that quality learning for all children and young adults is the path to development, peace and prosperity for Liberia. Children deserve an education that offers not only knowledge but also skills and an understanding of how to promote peace and be a global citizen. To ensure this, qualified teachers and essential teaching and learning materials must be provided. We build lasting partnerships and create continuous learning opportunities for teachers. Please click the "What We Do link" for a full view of our projects that are contributing to reduce some of the gaps within the Liberia educational system.