Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development
Prior to elections in Liberia in 2005, 14 years of civil war had destroyed much of the country's trained workforce and severely compromised the national educational system. As part of an initiative to sustain positive institutional developments resulting from the elections, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD) project. EHELD is designed to improve the country's education, skills, and labor force capacity to better equip top-performing young Liberian women and men for careers in agriculture and engineering—two of the most critical development sectors in Liberia. These sectors are extremely important for reconstruction and economic growth as they can offer young Liberians opportunities to enter into professional careers as leaders, managers, extension agents, researchers, and small business owners.
Through the EHELD project, Tetra Tech is working with RTI International to establish and support centers of excellence in agriculture and engineering at two of Liberia’s largest universities—Cuttington University and the University of Liberia—to enable the institutions to be more responsive to current and future workforce demands in these sectors. We are focusing on building local capacity at the two universities while prioritizing gender issues and creating inclusive programming for women and girls. Through the program, we have supported many students and faculty participating in exchange programs with the University of Michigan, North Carolina State University, and other top-ranked engineering colleges in the United States.
Tetra Tech’s key role on the EHELD project is to assist in the design and establishment of greenhouse facilities at Cuttington University and the University of Liberia. We are training professors and staff on how to use and maintain the greenhouses for educational purposes. Through this capacity building exercise, we are working to ensure that the use and maintenance of these new greenhouses are sustainable for use beyond the life of the EHELD project.
In addition, Tetra Tech is in the process of designing and implementing clean energy solutions (e.g., solar-powered systems) to promote energy efficiency and offset each university’s dependence on fossil fuel and to serve as an educational example and teaching tool for engineering students, professors, and staff.