Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD)
The project assists Liberia in equipping its young women and men for professional careers as leaders, managers, extension agents, researchers, and small business owners in agriculture and engineering. EHELD works to build practical, experience-based, and labor market-aligned educational and research programs to prepare skilled professionals and help university faculty address the challenges of economic and infrastructure development.
RTI and partners are developing Centers of Excellence at two universities to supply skilled Liberian graduates in engineering and agriculture who are qualified to meet current and future workforce demand in the private, NGO, and public sectors. The program focuses on building local capacity at all levels of the two partner institutions—Cuttington University and the University of Liberia—and places a priority on gender issues and creating inclusive programming for women and girls while developing lasting, relevant, and sustainable institutions.
To attract qualified students, particularly girls, into the engineering and agriculture programs, the project launches programs to raise awareness and recruit students through radio programming and secondary and primary school programs. Summer Start, for example, partners Liberian students from the Centers of Excellence with faculty and students from the University of Michigan each summer to implement intensive sessions for Liberian 10th, 11th, and 12th graders to engage students in science education.
EHELD also focuses on strengthening the capacity of faculty at the universities through extensive degree training programs and mentoring in areas such as curriculum development, pedagogical techniques, use of computers, recordkeeping and fiscal management, applied research, grant writing, and monitoring and evaluation. EHELD is committed to attracting and retaining the most qualified students, so the project offers extensive support to students, including career services, library and computer resources, service learning opportunities, and internships.
To achieve the vision of EHELD, RTI is collaborating with a number of partners, including the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, North Carolina State University, and Associates in Rural Development.