The United Bassa (Liberia) Organizations in the Americas, Inc. (UNIBOA) concluded another successful Convention with a renew Commitment to Service
The 24th National Convention of the United Bassa (Liberia) Organizations in the America (UNIBOA) held in Louisville from Friday, May 23 to Monday, May 26, 2014 was a great success. Amidst challenges, we continue to make steady progress in the overall management of the Union. We have made significant progress on our commitment to establish good working relationship, promote unity, expand the union, and foster efficiency. We did this without compromising either the thrust in us or the communal responsibility the Union owes to its members. While we have not yet arrived, it is safe to say that UNIBOA is vibrant with many possibilities. We are mindful of the divergence views; if we work in collaboration, we can achieve a lot together. Leadership is not a destination but journey that we all must take together. We all have a place, in a long story—a story we continue, but whose end we may not see. We are honor to be a part and to help write a chapter in that story. It is the UNIBOA story that began twenty four years ago of a people with compassionate hearts, seeking to make a difference to help their brothers and sisters whose life had been shattered by the specter of war, ignorance, disease and poverty. It is the Bassa story—a story of flawed and fallible people, united by share value, by grand and enduring ideals.
To write another chapter in this long Bassa story, members from the thirteen Chartered chapters (plus one Observer Chapter) converged in the City of Louisville, Kentucky, USA from Friday, May 23 to Monday, May 26 2014 under the theme “Building Strong Partnerships in the Diaspora for a Better Homeland”. The various chapters give their respective reports and the National President, Mr. Emmanuel G. Smith, your humble servant, delivered the State of the Union Address outlining the administration achievements and challenges in the year under review and the way forward. A Five-Year plan was adopted by the convention. Hon. Emmanuel S. Wettee, the Chairman on the Dual Citizenship Conference was on hand as a Special Guest to brief the convention on the progress of Dual Citizen. The Convention was climaxed with a Grand Ball on n Sunday, May 25th highlighted by an inspiring message from the Keynote Speakers, Mr. Emmanuel Nuku Reeves, the recipient of the UNIBOA Humanitarian and Lifetime Achievement Award. Also, Friday, the Cell Phone also graced the occasion with a standing ovation entertainment.
The National Queen Contest – The most desirable Crown, Miss UNIBOA was captured by the Kentucky Chapter in spirited contest. Miss Comfort Sawieh representing Kentucky was crowned as Miss UNIBOA 2014-2015.
Activities and Achievements for the year under review – June 2013 – May 2014
UNIBOA Scholarship Assistance Program (UNISCAP) – Fellow Bassonians and Liberians, it is the determination of The United Bassa Organizations in Americas (UNIBOA) is to help alleviate the specter of ignorance in our homeland, and motivation of our people to succeed and have a place at the table is at the heart of our mission. We continued to invest in education. We are proud to report that the UNIBOA Scholarship Assistance Program (UNISCAP) is fully operational. We are pleased to report that eight students are enrolled in the UNISCAP program at the University level—six are at the University Liberia and two at the United Methodist University since 2013 Academic Year to present. Each student was awarded $150.00 per semester. The program at the University level will be increased to twenty students by the 2015 Academic Year.
We are also pleased to report to that we currently have ten students enrolled at the Bassa Community College, in Grand Bassa County. The cost per student for the Bassa Community College is $114.00. We are poise to increase the number of scholarships to twenty students at the Bassa Community College. The ultimate and overarching goal of UNIBOA focuses on providing the platform to help the disadvantaged Liberian pursue happiness by developing their mind. We must continue to help provide the Liberian children a place at the table of hope and opportunity, a place where dreams and aspirations becomes reality through education. All things being equal, education can help bridged the disparity gap in our society. We have the passion and drive to help because we have lived and experienced what it means to be in need one way, or the other. We can play our part in reducing the specter of ignorance in the homeland. Let us continue to make a difference and support the UNIBOA Scholarship Program. Below is a picture of the 10 students (along with the Register) that are benefiting from UNINOA Scholarship program at the Bassa Community College, Grand Bassa County, and Republic of Liberia.
The cause to help alleviate the specter of ignorance one child one school at a time is a worthy one. The cause is just and achievable because we are guided by a power of compassion. This is the time and this is the cause we all must embrace. If we must live in this village, we called UNIBOA where we cherish brotherly love; it is more of my problem and yours because today’s child that is shackled with the specter of ignorance, disease and poverty will become society’s burden tomorrow regardless of where that child lives. Individuals in the Diaspora and the homeland are encouraged to sponsor a student. This is our purpose and this is our charge.
UNIBOA Health First Clean Water Initiative: Our people living in most towns and villages are affected by lack of access to clean and safe drinking water, a situation which is a high risk for acquiring diseases leading to fatalities. The UNIBOA Health First Clean Water Initiative has made a difference in the lives our people in Dou Wein Town (Harmonville Community), Electoral District #5, Grand Bassa County. Last year we indicated that the Administration was poised base on the need of our brothers and sisters to provide them with safe and clean water in the Bassa Counties. Today, we are pleased to report that the Hand Pump Initiative in Dou Wein Town, Grand Bassa County was completed in October 2013 and is fully in use. Before the construction of the Hand Pump, the villagers were drinking from unsafe streams, like the ones depicted in the picture below.
But now, because of UNIBOA, they don’t have to drink unsafe water any more. Our clean and safe water initiative has brought significant relief to the people. Because of hard working members, UNIBOA has made a difference in lives of the people of Dou Wein Town. Below is the picture of the Hand Pump constructed by UNIBOA and surrounded by a crossed section of the people of Dou Wein Town.
Cost: The projected cost for the project (8 Hand Pumps) is approximately $28,000.
Summary Expenditure for 8 Hand Pumps:
Grand Total --------------------------------------------------------------- $27,300.00
Breakdown per pump per county:
One (1) well Estimate for UNIBOA in Grand Bassa County
Other Estimates per pump
One (1) well Estimate for UNIBOA in Margibi County
Transportation for 4 men and materials……………………….….….$ 250.00USD
One (1) well Estimate for UNIBOA in River Cess County
Transportation for 4 men ………………………………………………………….$ 350.00USD
One (1) well Estimate for UNIBOA in Monsterrado County
Transportation for 4 …………………………....………………………………….$ 175.00USD
Material Total………………………………………………………………………….$ 2,157.50USD
Labor for 4 working men…………………………………………………………$ 650.00USD
Grand Total…………………………………………………………..……………….$ 2,831.34USD
Note that the estimates were provided by (Through the Home Affairs Committee) By: African Titles, Blocks and Water Exploration
Paynesville, Monrovia, Liberia
Management: The community where the Hand Pump will be installed will be responsible to manage it.
In the same vein, the constructions of two Hand Pumps in two existing wells are underway in Bassa Community, Monrovia, Electoral District #8, Montserrado County. We are in the process of identifying a needed area in Margibi County to put in 2 hand pumps. The people of Rivercess want a Maternity Half-Way House instead of a Hand Pump. Therefore, we are working out modalities to make this a reality.
Midwife Half-Way House – In Rivercess County, pregnant women traveled about 8 to 12 hours when they are in labor to reach the clinic for delivery. In most case, they died in the process and if they do reach the clinic in time, they developed complications. Therefore, UNIBOA is planning to build 2 four-bedrooms Midwife Half-way House (with inside bathroom and first aid supplies) in Rivercess County within one mile of the clinic. The goal here is two weeks prior to the pregnant woman delivery date, she will travel to and stay at the Midwife Half-Way House for easy and quick access to the clinic to her due date. When this becomes a reality, it will save lives. UNIBOA in collaboration with Representative Alfred Juweh from Electoral District # 1, Rivercess County are in the process of securing the land for the project. The cost to construct 2 modern four-bedrooms Midwife Half-way House in Rivercess County is approximately $20,000.00. We will begin this project as soon as we secure the land. This is our purpose, this is our charge.
Outreach and Community Involvement
UNIBOA outreach and community involvement has been strong and rewarding. The purpose continues to be to build viable networks and find areas of collaboration to provide service to our community. From this backdrop, we have supported initiatives of other organizations efforts in the Diaspora and the homeland. In our mission to establish good working relationship with the decisions makers and better serve our people, we continue to strive on establishing mutual communication with our political leaders and NGO’s in Liberia as well as with religious and community leaders in our communities
We have also made concerted effort in reaching out to our old members who have not being active and encourage them to come back and strengthen the union they help to built and we are yielding gradual but good result in this endeavor.
Building Strong Partnership in the Diaspora – In an effort to build strong partnership in the Diaspora, the administration is working with the DC Metro Chapter and local city majors in the Diaspora to explore avenues for establishing sisters’ cities relationship with cites in the USA and cites in the Bassa Counties. This is a work in progress. Stay tune.
UNIBOA Received the Prestigious Award
We also received a Community Service award from the Newark Liberian Association in New Jersey during the 2013 Convention for UNIBOA steadfastness in the cause of humanity. This is a testimony of our collective hard work and commitment to service and the light that UNIBOA continues to illuminate in the Diaspora.
UNIBOA Adult Care Initiative – While most of our efforts over the years have been gear towards helping our brother and sisters in the homeland. The Administration is also committed to helping the needy in the organization. From this backdrop, we have instituted the UNIBOA Adult Care Program gear toward towards helping needy members with special needs. On behalf of the Administration, I expressed my thanks and appreciation for the contribution of $2, 800.00 made by members during the 2013 convention towards our Adult Care Initiative. Special thanks go to Mr. Emmanuel N. Reeves, the recipient of the UNIBOA Humanitarian and Lifetime Achievement Award, for contributing an additional $1,000.00 towards this cause. Again, during this 2014 Convention, a total of $1,700.00 was raised toward this initiative. To date, we have disbursed a total of $2,790.00 to help one of our needy members with housing, activities of daily living and immigration related expenses. This is our purpose, this is our charged.
Group Life Insurance - Many of our members have been faced with the consequences of death of their family members. Each death placed constraints on time and resources, but the Administration along with the chapters have done a good job in helping its members cope during their difficult period. In an effort to address the issue of Death Benefits in the UNIBOA Community, the Administration contacted the Cultural Group Benefits Company based in Minnesota (underwriter is the Harford Life and Accident Insurance Company) to provide Group Life Insurance to our members. The Cultural Group Life Plan is available in policy design amounts of $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and $25,000. Members are in the process of signing up to take advantage of this initiative. This program will go a long way in helping ease the strain that the event of death place on families. Community service is our purpose and it is our charged.
The President’s Recommendation to the 2014 Convention:
1. Hosting the National Convention during the Memorial Holiday Day weekend has placed constraints on some of our members, especial with the economic downturn, balancing their time in choosing between their children/relatives graduations or weddings and attending the convention has been daunting challenge. Moreover, hosting the convention on holiday weekend is an expensive venture considering traveling and lodging expenses. Considering the challenges and cost associated with having the National Convention during the holiday weekend, I recommend that we change our convention time from Memorial Day Weekend to the third weekend in June, a non-holiday weekend.
2. That instead of a four-day convention, we should consider having three-day convention, Friday to Sunday instead of Friday to Monday. This will save cost on members and the organization.
3. That we name the UNIBOA Community Service Award in honor of our fallen brother, Mr. Phillip Vambram for his service to UNIBOA and his community and UNIBOA. This Award will be called the UNIBOA Phillip Vambram Community Service Award to will be given to a deserving individual in the Diaspora or the homeland each year.
- We recommend that we have an All Bassa Conference in Liberia with the express purpose of brainstorming with the people on how to advance the Socio-economic wellbeing of brother and sisters and help to bring about unity amongst the Bassa People.
Resolution as approved by the Convention 2014
Way Forward Strategy
Whereas there is a need for a strong representation in Liberia to propel the interest of the organization
Whereas there are a number of pressing socioeconomic issues among the Bassa people of Liberia that warrant the attention of the organization
Whereas there is a need for additional projects and sources of funding
Whereas there is a need to institute a provision for continuity and admission of new chapters into UNIBOA
The 24th General of UNIBOA resolved the following:
Guidelines for creating and accepting new members into the union:
1. That incoming chapter constitution must be tailored to that of the UNIBOA’s constitution.
2. The incoming chapter must declare its intention to become a constituent member of the organization at a UNIBOA Convention
3. Another chapter cannot be found formed within a jurisdiction where there is an existing chapter
4. The incoming chapter must request membership by writing a letter of application to the president of UNIBOA
5. Admission of new chapter must be approved by a simple majority vote of the general assembly
UNIBOA shall institute a five year Strategic plan of operation
To help keep teachers in the class room in the remote parts of the Bassa Counties, (Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Margibi and Montserrado), UNIBOA shall pay 2-3 teachers at least $100-200 a month. Said teachers shall be working in schools within the four Bassa counties over the next five years
UNIBOA shall assist in the renovation of at least one school each year within the four Bassa counties over the next five years.
UNIBOA shall provide school supplies to at least 5000 school children in the four Bassa Counties for the next five years.
UNIBOA shall continue to invest in the Bassa people by continuing provision of scholarships to needy students through the UNISCAP program.
UNIBOA shall construct a Midwife Half-way house in a needy community in the four Bassa Counties over the next five years. This will be built within a mile of a clinic or hospital.
3. Clean Water Initiative
UNIBOA will continue with its Clean Water initiative by providing clean and safe drinking water through construction of hand pumps in needy communities in the four Bassa Counties over the next five years.
The above initiative shall be funded by:
1. Seeking grant funding
2. Fundraising and solicitation initiatives
3. Identifying other sources
4. Change of Convention Time
UNIBOA Convention shall be held on the third weekend of June of each year for a total of three days.
Member of the 2014 Convention Resolution Committee
1. Mr. Stephen Barron Zeogar - Chairman (Minnesota)
2. Mrs. Martha Gargar Charley - Co-chairman (Rhode Island)
3. Roland Boyd Sunnyway, Sr. - Secretary (Ohio)
4. Dr. Joseph A. Verdier- Member (Ohio)
5. Mr. Agememnon M. Davis – Member (South Jersey
Donation and Pledges Made during the 2014 Convention
Name of Contributors Amount Earmark Project
Mr. Emmanuel N. Reeves $2,000.00 UNIBOA Midwife Half-Way House
Mr. Emmanuel N. Reeves 1,000.00 UNIBOA Adult Care Program
Mr. Emmanuel N. Reeves 750.00 UNISCAP (UNIBOA Scholarship)
Ms Catherine Potter *** 1,000.00 Midwife Half-Way House
New York Chapter 500.00 UNIBOA Adult Care Program
Rhode Island Chapter 200.00 UNIBOA Adult Care Program
South Jersey Chapter 150.00 UNIBOA Midwife Half-Way House
DC Metro Chapter *** 150.00 Administration Discretion
Mr. Emmanuel G. Smith 100.00 UNIBOA Midwife Half-Way House
Some of UNIBOA Past Activities/Achievements
Community Development – UNIBOA Contribution to the Bridge Project in
Rivercess is one of the least developed of the four Bassa Counties. While other urban cities are developing, the rural cities and communities remain underdeveloped and it is difficult to commute because of bad roads condition. The Honorable Alfred Jeweh, Representative District #1 Rivercess County highlighted some of the plights of the county during his visit with us during the 2012 Convention in Charlotte North Carolina. The representative appealed to UNIBOA to assist in the construction of the Gbagbornee Bridge in Morweh District #1, Rivercess County. UNIBOA answer the call of our brothers and sisters with an initial contribution of $1,000.00. UNIBOA was represented at the groundbreaking ceremony by Ms Alice Johnson, from the Rhode Island Chapter who was in Liberia at the time. The construction of the bridge is underway. Additional contribution will be made as the project progresses.
In 2011, UINIBOA Donated Hospital Gowns to Hospitals in Buchanan, Firestone, and Marshall City.
Also, in 2010 UNIBOA provided the sum of $2,200.00 in seed money for the construction of the Market in Hollinsville, Grand Bassa County. This was done in collaboration with the Hon. Gabriel Smith. The marketers no long have to sell their produces in the rain or sun.
From the period 2006 to 2010, UNIBOA spent a total of $18,000.00 to sponsor nine nursing students at the Mother Pattern College Health Science in Monrovia. The nine students were: Alice Peters, Whonkpee Smith, Corina M. Totimeh. Dena Smallwood, Beatrice Nyomo, Beatrice Waiter, Josephine Paye, Nancy Davis and Sam Vesselee. The amount went toward tuition and stipends. Six of the nine students graduated in 2010. The objective of the program was for the students upon completion of their studies to give back to the organization by working in the needed clinics and/or hospitals in the Bassa counties.
During the aftermath of the Civil War, resources were very difficult to come by. With the heart of compassion and fostering our commitment to the cause of better education for all Liberians, especially citizens of the Bassa counties, UNIBOA instituted a program called “Teacher Salary Fulfillment” because at the time of civil unrest in our country 99.9% of teachers in the country were under paid or had no pay at all. Their salaries were in arrears for over 22 or more months from 1998 - 2004. The below listed, are schools we made contribution to as an encouragement for the teachers to stay in the classrooms. This is a testimony of UNIBOA longtime commitment to education.
Name of School # of Teachers Amount paid to each School
Marblee Public School Dist. #2 Comp 6 $370.00
Hope Kindergarten & Elementary Sch 6 370.00
Lower Harlandervill public School 6 370.00
Bassa High school 10 370.00
Cestors Jr. & Sr High School 7 430.00
Darsaw Town Public School 6 370.00
Upper Timbo community School 7 470.00 (100.00 for benches)
Benson River Government morning sch 6 370.00
St John River Junior High School 6 370.00
In this exercises, teachers and principals were paid for six months each at the
rate of $10.00 and $70.00 per month respectively.
Also, to help alleviate the water problem on Liberian Refugees in Ghana, UNIBOA build a Proto Tank that was use for all Liberians including the Bassa Refugees on the Buduburum Camp as shown below:
1997 – UNIBOA sent a container to Liberia with 10,000 copybooks purchased from Mead Corporation, along with clothing, household items and books to Liberia during the Civil War. Again, in 2006, UNIBOA send another container of school supplies to Liberia including textbooks and references material. Some of the schools that benefited from this include the but not limited to the University o f Liberia, the Booker Washington Institution (BWI), and he Seventh Day Adventist High School.
UNIBOA provided assistance to Mission for Liberia founded by Rev. Napoleon Karr and other schools
2005 to 2010, Maintained Annual Financial Support to the (mission for Orphans, disabled & unaccompanied Children) MODUC, The Upper Timbo Community School, and the Dawsaw Town Public School (7 bicycles was provided to teachers for easy commute to school). Pictures of students and Orphans that we supported
The mission of UNIBOA to help uplift our fellow Bassonian secure a place at the table continues. The steps are gradual but the effect is momentous in the lives of our brothers and sisters. The work is not yet done… Today, three quarters of all Liberians are illiterate and have no access to safe drinking water. Only one-fourth of Liberian children are fully immunized. We all were given something in life by somebody or society; now it is the time to give back to humanity through our service to our brother and sisters the Diaspora and in the homeland. This is our purpose; this is our charge that we are carrying out. Though there are many challenges ahead, the Union has always triumphed, and will do doubt survive any turbulence. There is always calm after the storm. And with our hearts and hands, we can make a difference and forge ahead. More than that, we must realize that we are better off together as a people than divided. The success and survive of the Union and the Bassa People are our collective responsibility
As we stand at the periphery of this decade, let us begin anew with energy and hope, with faith and discipline. And let us work until our work is done. The Scripture says, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." From this joyful of celebration of our 24th National Convention, we hear a call to service in the trenches. We have heard the trumpets. And now, each in our own way and with God's help, we must answer the callagain and with our Hearts and Hands, we can make a difference and we can begin again and make this decade the “Bassa Decade” – United we can do great things.
Emmanuel G. Smith
National President, UNIBOA