Hess Ghana Unveils Scholarship For Needy Students
By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh
Hess Ghana Exploration Ltd, a subsidiary of Hess Corporation, a leading global independent energy company currently exploring for oil at Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT-CTP) in Ghana, launched the second series of its joint scholarship awards scheme, at Nsein Secondary School, near Axim. The scheme dubbed ‘Hess-GNPC Scholars’ is a joint corporate social responsibility program with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, which is a partner in the DWT-CTP Block.
The Scholarship targets academically qualified but underprivileged students in three districts – Nzema East, Jomoro and Ellembelle – with emphasis on girls’ education. It fully covers the entire cost (boarding fees, administrative fees, books, kits, uniforms and pocket money) for three years of Senior High School, Vocational Training or Health (Nursing), depending on applicant choice.
Launching the 2013 intake program, Ms. Sandra Gentile, General Manager of Hess Ghana Exploration Ltd, announced a 40% increase over the 2012 intake, due to the success and community acceptance of the program. She explained that the 100 selected beneficiaries will begin their respective programs in six partner schools in mid-late October. There were 71 beneficiaries last year, bringing the total number to date to 171.
Gentile emphasized that the size of the first year intake was based on the need to develop the program efficiently and measure success. ‘Now that this has been tested, we are pleased to be able to expand the programme,’ Gentile said.
The scholars were selected through an application process supported by the District Education Department (DED), which distributed and received applications via its supervisors. Each district was given 128 application forms to distribute. Criteria for selection were based on BECE scores, personal statement, chosen programme, gender and home situation, so as to balance the level of need with academic achievement. Shortlisted candidates were all interviewed individually by a committee composed of representatives from the respective Districts, Hess Ghana Exploration Ltd, and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
Gentile added that Hess Scholars are provided with counseling and mentoring on a regular basis throughout their studies. Additionally, through a Memorandum of Understanding, partner institutions are also regularly visited and monitored for compliance.
The Minister of Energy and Petroleum ,who doubles as MP for Ellembelle, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, emphasized government’s commitment to ensuring that the capacity of local communities are built to take up the challenge of local content participation in the oil and gas industry.
He reminded companies operating in the country of their responsibility to improve the lives of the citizenry and therefore commended the companies for sustaining the programme and improving upon it.
‘ At this period in the life of our nation, there is the need for a stronger collaboration with government to invest in its human resource, for the oil and gas industry, since the Local Content Bill which will soon be passed will give impetus to this vision.’ added Buah.
Benedict Addae, GNPC Assistant Community Relations Supervisor in the Western Region, said his outfit’s participation in the scholarship programme demonstrates the energy industries intervention in enriching the lives of communities in which they operate.
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