Acting President of the Shama Traditional Area, Nana Kwamena Wieno of Yabiw, has lauded the West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) for its continuous support in education, skills training, and health in its host communities.
This follows the presentation of scholarship awards to 142-students from five communities in the Shama District of the Western and Greater Accra Regions.
The students have received full scholarships to enable them to pursue their education at the tertiary level.
Nana Wiwno said the scholarship from WAPCo, has always come as a great relief to students whose parents find it difficult to meet the financial requirements.
The beneficiary students are currently pursuing medicine, pharmacy, engineering, law, social sciences, actuarial science, and mathematics, while a few others have already completed their first-degree programs.
Speaking at the ceremony, the General Manager Corporate Affairs of the WAPCo, Dr Isaac Adjei Doku said for the past 9-years, the company has invested more than ¢4million in the program in the country.
“We believe that in the not distant future, our host communities will have several professionals who would contribute to the development of their communities,” he said.
He said its investment in the communities was informed by the fact that the company believes that such initiatives could contribute to the development of the communities in which they operate.
The company also introduced the Community Youth Enterprise scheme (CYES), which is a skills acquisition program, and upon completion, WAPCo gives start-up tools to the beneficiaries to enable them to set up their businesses.
The objective of the scholarship he said was to support brilliant but needy students to obtain secondary and technical education, and now university education as well as the development of entrepreneurs.
He said each year WAPCo supported ten young people from each of their seven host communities in Ghana to pursue their education. Five of the beneficiaries were selected under the Scholarship Scheme and the other five for the Community Youth Enterprise Scheme.
The CYES provided the youth who had completed basic education but could not pursue further studies due to financial constraints the opportunity to learn a trade of their choice in recognized vocational and technical institutions in Ghana.
From the outset of the WAGP Project, WAPCo decided to invest in the development of its stakeholder communities, particularly in programs that have had a cumulative impact on the generality of the communities in which it works.
He said at the early stage and during the construction phase of the pipeline system, its investments in education were to assist local governments to provide the necessary school infrastructure in communities that lack them.
“As a result, we have constructed several school projects in the district; key amongst them were the Abuesi Methodist Primary School, Shama Model School Junior High School, and Kindergarten school blocks, and renovated the Duomo Methodist Junior High School,” he said.
After all the structures in place, he said the company’s findings revealed that many parents had financial difficulties in catering for their children’s education at the secondary school level.”
Most of the children he said were ‘forced’ to end their education after the Junior Secondary School level. “We also realized that many of the youth were not equipped with relevant skills for gainful and meaningful jobs.”
Dr. Doku said after the introduction of the free senior high school policy, the company reviewed the program to support brilliant but needy students to pursue tertiary education in Ghana.
He said so far, they have supported 447 students made up of 339 students in the mainstream scholarship scheme and 108 students under the skills acquisition programme.
Director of the Ghana Education Service of the Shama District, Mrs. Afia Anoakoah-Quansah noted that WAPCo continued to invest in the communities in which they operated and they must be commended.
“This is a succession plan that the company is building; thank you for the foresight, this investment will not go waste and urge beneficiaries to take advantage of this opportunity and learn harder”, she said.