Water Plant Startup
MONROVIA-Back in June, several native Liberians held a ceremony to mark the opening of their newly-built state-of-the-art water factory, JAMA Purified Water. Built at a cost of over US$256,725, it is located in Brewerville, just outside Monrovia. Now, they have begun to operate, distributing their bottles and sachets of water at various locations.
Their products, good for all age groups, include 500ml sachets, 600ml, 1600ml, and purified ice blocks, and will be delivered to businesses, religious, medical, and academic institutions, homes, hotels, clinics, and entertainment.
The water is produced from untouched soil using the most advanced water filtration systems, ozone, and reverse osmosis technologies. These technologies produce the highest level of purified water, those who have drunk it are amazed by how different it tastes. Its motto: “Quench your thirst and enhance your life.”
To its executive officer, Dr. Cherinor Sillah, the startup sets in motion a mission. Dr. Sillah specializes in emergency and sports medicine in the USA and has over 21 years of experience in the medical field. He is the chief medical officer for the Liberia medical mission that comes every two years to provide free health care to the people and donate medical supplies to the different healthcare facilities.
When he and his team got together back in 2018, he saw a country devastated by civil war and the Ebola pandemic, followed by the outbreak of COVID-19. His mission: to be a leader in doing something about it by undertaking activities that would put his country on a path to sustainable growth. Although external actors can make a vital contribution, his thinking was that only Liberians themselves could create the foundation required. So out of that belief, JAMA was conceived and, some four years later, has come alive.
On December 10, its startup was officially launched at a ceremony at the plant location in Brewerville. In attendance was Prince Teahjay, a deputy manager of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Commission (WASH). He marked the occasion with open arms and a hearty expression of thanks and praise, and went out of his way to highlight the significance of the plant by sounding this alarm: poor water quality is linked to early death and various outbreaks, adding further devastation to the life of the Liberian people.
To respond, Teahjay made a commitment to work with JAMA and other water producers to make safe drinking water widely available. He urged cooperation and asked all companies to observe the international standards of quality and pure water. He further promised that the introduction of a water tariff by the government would promote fair competition by providing a free market that would enable native producers to compete with their international counterparts.
Also present was Mr. James Strother, president of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA). He called on Liberians in the diaspora to see the need to come back home and, like Dr. Sillah, contribute to the development of the country. He also promised that the association will work with the management of JAMA in ensuring that the bottles of water and blocks of ice reach all corners of Liberia.
James Salinsa Debbah, the most celebrated Liberian soccer star, was also present and spoke. He offered his professional expertise to help improve and build the capacity of the kids that are being recruited to form the JAMA Football Club. The club has recruited about 24 kids. He reiterated the importance of youth empowerment and that Liberians should not be a spectator in their own economy as stated in the President’s inaugural speech.
In his remarks, Dr. Sillah focused on his mission: to help put the country on a path to sustainable growth and uplift the Liberian people. By making purified water widely available, he sees himself as helping to do just that because safe water is the key to such a path.
But he is not just selling safe water, he emphasizes; he is also selling safe water in order to serve. He expressed his commitment to using JAMA’s resources and money, not to enrich himself, but to enrich the Liberian people through community support and development. In his words: “We are here to create job opportunities that will empower the Liberian people and contribute to their self-sufficiency. We are here to make it possible for our people to put food on their table.”
He pointed out a number of accomplishments already. Of course, the costly plant itself stands as a monumental achievement, some road rehabilitation and already it has about 35 employees. It has created the aforementioned U12 football club for kids. Future plans include supporting nonprofit organizations, the health care system, and other sporting activities.