The West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) has awarded full scholarships to 142 students from five communities in the Western and Greater Accra regions to enable them to pursue their education at the tertiary level.
Out of the number, 104 are from the Aboadze area (Aboadze, Abuesi, Dwomo, Lower Inchaban and Shama communities) while the rest are from Tema Manhean and Kpone.
The beneficiary students are pursuing medicine, pharmacy, engineering, law, social sciences, actuarial science and mathematics while a few others have already completed their first-degree programmes.
Development of communities
At the ceremony, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the WAPCo, Dr Isaac Adjei Doku, said for the past nine years, the company had invested more than GH¢4 million on the programme in the country.
He said its investment in the communities was informed by the fact that the company believed that through such initiatives it could contribute to the development of the localities in which they operated.
Skills acquisition programme
The company also introduced the Community Youth Enterprise Scheme (CYES), which is a skills acquisition programme and upon completion, WAPCo gives start-up tools to the beneficiaries to enable them to set up their own businesses.
The objective of the scholarship, Dr Doku said, was to support brilliant, 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 10 young people from each of their seven host communities in the country to pursue their education. Five of the beneficiaries were selected under the scholarship scheme and the other five for the CYES.
From the outset of the WAGP Project, WAPCo decided to invest in the development of its stakeholder communities, particularly in programmes that have had a cumulative impact on the generality of the communities in which it works.
How it started
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 JHS level.
“We also realised that many of the youth were not equipped with relevant skills for gainful and meaningful jobs,” Dr Doku revealed.
He said after the introduction of the free senior high school (SHS) policy, the company reviewed the programme to support brilliant, needy students to pursue tertiary education in Ghana.
He said so far, “we have supported 447 students made up of 339 in the mainstream scholarship scheme and 108 students under the skills acquisition programme.”
For his part, the Paramount Chief of the Shama Traditional Area, Nana Kwamena Wieno II, commended the company for its support.
“Scholarship from WAPCo has always been for a three-year period and not on a yearly basis as it has been done by other companies; I urge parents to take full responsibility for their children and provide their other needs,” he said.
The Shama District Director of Education, Mrs Afia Anoakoah-Quansah, said “This is a succession plan that the company is building. Thank you for the foresight; this investment will not go waste.” She urged beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunity and study hard.