Liberia is host to many underprivileged children, many of whom do not have access to quality education. Of the 740,000-primary school-age children in the country, 16 per cent were reportedly physically out of school as documented by UNICEF.
Recognising this gap, Anthony Kolaco, a 2013 alumnus of WACSI’s Next Generation Internship Programme carved a niche for himself to respond to this need in his country. Being the first Liberian to benefit from this flagship programme at WACSI, Kolaco believed the programme empowered him to be confident to impact the world.
“The journey at WACSI was exceptional. It made me understand that there is certainly a space for me to play a major role in changing the lives of my fellow young West Africans and to contribute in making an impact the world at large”, he said after completing the programme.
He affirmed that the internship boosted his confidence to face challenges in the society. “My confidence to uphold challenging roles within the sector was bolstered to overwhelming proportions”, he added.
This confidence spurred him to create a non-governmental organisation in Libera, the Initiative for Democratic Alternatives (IDA) which he leads as the founder and president.
“Our vision is to provide the basic for all children to succeed,” the president of IDA recently stated. This, to him, is to provide underprivileged children with access to quality education which will enable beneficiaries to reach their full potential.
IDA Liberia has provided scholarships and donated learning materials to 600 school in 11 schools in 5 counties across the country.
“We have provided scholarship for 248 students in Liberia, since we launched our support to rural student’s education project in 2018. We started the distribution of learning materials, including text books, note books, stationery in 2018. Up to present we have distributed assorted books and learning materials to over 400 students in Liberia”, Kolaco explained.
This has earned him recognition and admiration at the global and national levels respectively.
“I am honored to be one of the participants at this year’s UNICEF USA 2019 Advocacy Day. I will be part of team holding discussions with Congressional leaders and US Senators at the Capitol Hill in support of children around the world”, he wrote on his Facebook wall.
From his humble beginnings, Kolaco, an emerging African philanthropist, is poised to remove all barriers that impede Liberian children from enjoying quality education.
“We can all help build a new nation on the promise of hope, compassion and commitment to building a better society.We have made a commitment to change the world around us, by helping to secure a better future through education for one child at a time”, he stated.
Although him, through IDA Liberia, is committed to “provide the basics for all children to succeed” through education, he acknowledges the fact that with support from more stakeholders, he can do more.
“I wish we had the necessary financial support to provide scholarship and [provision of] learning materials to the thousands of children who are faced with hardship in rural Liberia,” he said.
NB: In June 2019, IDA Liberia was rebranded to Learning Squared-Liberia.