The development agenda of Tappita District in Nimba County got a big boost over the weekend when citizens of the area under the banner Tappita District Development Association (TADDA) held its first national convention.
The event was well attended by cross section of citizens and officials of the county including Senator Thomas S. Grupee, Harry Yuan and executives of TADDA.
Speaking at the event, Senator Grupee, a founding member of the organization, called on the citizens to unite and work in the interest of the district and county at large.
Presenting a cheque of L$100,000 to TADDA for development initiatives, Sen. Grupee cautioned the locals to manage their expectation, noting that “if you set your goals so high, you are set to fail.”
Senator Grupee: “Development is community driven, not always driven by population. This is what TADDA has done. Those of us who went to the United States did not forget about our district. We formed ourselves into a group and we have been doing so much for Tappita. Let us manage our expectation to a reasonable and realistic level and try to help each other out.”
Also speaking, TADDA’s Executive Director, Joanne Toweh revealed that the organization has formed a partnership with Duke University of North Carolina, USA where the district, over the next five years will benefit ten 40 feet containers of medical equipment and supplies for several health centers including the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital and clinics across Tappita District.
Madam Toweh noted that plans are underway to send the first batch of containers in the next two months.
She thanked the citizens for turning out in their numbers and announced that this year’s annual convention for TADDA-USA will take place in Providence, Rhode Island.
“We have been in the States for long time. But there is always that yearning to come home and be with our people. And when we are here and among you all, we feel good. So, I want to thank you for coming and spending all this time with us. it means a lot to us,” she said.
For his part, the Superintendent of Tappita Statutory District and founding Executive Director of TADDA, Aubrey N. Wehye, thanked the Executives of the TADDA who travelled from the United States for the convention and pledged his commitments to making the organization vibrant and proactive.
For his part, former Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) Commissioner and senior citizen of Nimba, Harry Yuan hailed the founders and officials of the association and called on them to decentralize the organization to every part of the district.
“My recommendations to TADDA is to try to ensure that it reaches all the administrative districts within Tappita. There is a need for our people to know that Tappita can survive on its own. Every community should learn to depend on itself. And as each community develops, so will the entire district and as each district develops so will the Republic of Liberia,” he averred.
The event was also marked by an official dedication of the Paul S. London and Dr. Arthur G. Siaway Resource Center constructed by TADDA for youth empowerment.
Meanwhile, representatives from various sectors including education and health made several recommendations to TADDA.
The Principal of Tappeh Memorial High School, Othello Tugbeh called on TADDA to assist the school system in the district with a laboratory to enhance the students’ studies as they are now sitting their WASSCE exams, as well as the extension of the Tappeh Memorial High School building and provision of scholarships to students.
In response, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Sam Kpan, assured the citizens that their recommendations will be presented to TADDA-USA during their annual convention in July for discussion and subsequent implementation if plausible.
The Tappita District Development Association was founded in the United States in the early 2000s by Tappita citizens residing in the diaspora.
Since its establishment, TADDA has undertaken several developmental initiatives in the district including the renovation of the Tappeh Memorial High School, the construction of hand pumps and latrines and donation of several educational and medical equipment and supplies for schools and clinics and the community radio station in Tappita District.
TADDA has also provided scholarships and financial aid to high school and university students of the district.