MONROVIA, Montserrado – In its third year of honoring honest civil and public servants in Liberia, the 2017 Integrity Idol award has been given to Rebecca Scotland, an instructor of physician assistants at the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts.
At the institute, the students refer to Scotland as the ‘Eagle one’ because of her firm stand on integrity. She organizes tutorial classes for incoming students of the institute and conducts health classes at her church.
At the award ceremony this past Friday, she promised to continue to stand for integrity, even if it would cost her life. She said that no amount of pressure from critics or anywhere would change her stance.
“If I will live, I will teach, and I will teach integrity,” she said.
In a country where the health sector is facing challenges, she said integrity is required in training institutions to produce a future that would change its course.
She promised to work with the network of idols from the present and past cohorts to spread the message of integrity in communities and institutions across the country.
“Until we see Liberia moving forward, we will not stop,” she said.
Scotland praised organizers and sponsors of the program and people who supported and voted for her.
The health instructor won the award ahead of four other finalists after emerging first in a pool of more than 5000 nominees nationwide.
The chief for leeward of the Liberia National Police, Alphanso Rancy, was named as the 2017 Integrity Idol first runner-up. Rancy previously worked as an agent of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency.
Jefferson Dolo, the chief of procurement at the Liberia National Police, was also named as third-place winner. Other finalists were Vivian Wamah, registrar of a pre-primary school and Yaah Bellah Suah, the Nimba County Coordinator for the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection.
The chief of party of the Open Society Initiative of Liberia, Massa Crayton, presented the awards.
Integrity Idol is a campaign launched by Accountability Lab Liberia in partnership with the Open Society Initiative of West Africa, UNDP, the Swedish Embassy in Monrovia, and the European Union. It is a nationwide campaign to highlight the most honest government officials.
The competition aims to generate debate around the idea of integrity and demonstrate the importance of honesty, personal responsibility, and accountability as well as inspire a new generation of more effective public servants. Since 2015, the program has produced 15 idols nationwide.
Accountability Lab Liberia Coordinator Lawrence Yealue said this year’s edition of the program saw an increase in voter participation, nominations and interest among ordinary citizens.
“We as a nation have got to change the paradigm. That’s what the participation of the citizens said this year and we hope that in 2018, it’s even going to be much bigger, much better since we will be in a new era of what public service accountability looks like,” Yealue said.
According to Yealue, the inspiration of the idols and the growth in knowledge in terms of how the country understands integrity has shed light on the fact that Liberia is improving in terms integrity and supporting good behavior.
He said that this was the right time for the conversation around integrity to kick off, especially since there will be a new government beginning next year.
Although it is difficult to measure its impact in short term, Yealue said the program is making a significant impact in the country.
USAID Liberia’s mission director, Tony Chan, and Youth and Sports Minister Saah N’Tow also spoke at the award ceremony, encouraging Liberians to practice integrity.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah