Nekpo Brown G’08 is so passionate about education that she has made it her mission to bring educational resources to people across the globe. Nepko received her MS in Communications and Information Management degree and currently works as a business engineer in project management at MassMutual, where she has spent the last six years in varying positions. In addition to her 9-5 workload, Brown has established an educational initiative called The Joshua Generation Program, which provides training to schools in post-civil war Liberia. Brown, whose parents emigrated from Liberia to the United States before she was born, has first-hand knowledge of how the 14-year civil war affected the nation’s educational system. “The government doesn’t have the fund to provide free public schooling,” Brown says. “So students have to pay.” The war did more than decimate the government’s educational funds; it caused an 80 percent unemployment rate and prevented an entire generation of Liberians from attending school. “You have people that are high school or college age and they are at a grade school level in their education.” These facts, in addition to the many wonderful opportunities Brown herself was given throughout her schooling at Bay Path, have prompted her to work for improvements in the Liberian school system.
Brown’s Joshua Generation Program is in its early phases. Right now she’s seeking funding through grants, and has partnered with Teachers Without Borders, which has begun a teacher training program in one Liberian school under Brown’s direction. “The ultimate goal is to have an academic development program that is growing,” Brown says. “Right now we are assessing the needs for schools, but before you can get to a level where you are providing skilled teachers, you need basic supplies.” Brown notes that many of the schools in Liberia are using books from the late ‘70s. So last year she organized a book donation drive. She’s collected about 2500 books, most of which she has catalogued and is organizing to send over.
Brown hopes the Joshua Generation Program will one day train many Liberian educators, providing skills and resources for them so they are not dependent on basic needs and can spend their time actually teaching the next generation of post-war children. She says it’s important that Liberian teachers lead the way in training each other and developing their own schools. “It’s about knowledge sharing; they know what works in their community and their environment. My work is to provide the tools to develop it.”
As a Bay Path graduate, Brown says she has received a tremendous amount of encouragement from her own educators. “I am not doing this alone! Everyone at Bay Path, from my professors to the President and the Provost, has provided support and great networks for me.”
Brown’s educational initiative does not have a website yet. But she is working hard to secure enough funding to complete the teacher-training programs and establish a permanent presence online.