“For those that are young but have a dream of becoming entrepreneurs I say dream big. Make sure you set high goals but they must be achievable. Never take no for an answer, and always believe in yourself and your dream”. –Kokpor Daynuah
Kokpor Daynuah And the Made in Liberia Dream: How Private Enterprises Can Lead To A Stronger Democracy
By: Victor A Ukatu
For Kokpor Daynuah, it all started with a question. At his cousin’s graduation party in 2010, an elder Liberian asked him what he was doing to help with the rebuilding of Liberia. This question would leave an imprint on the mind of Kokpor.
Kokpor, a 29-year-old Liberian, attended the St. Cloud State University in the City of St. Cloud USA and majored in Biochemistry. After graduating he worked as an analytical chemist for a variety of companies in Minnesota. When the question was presented to him about what he intends to do for Liberia, it did not take long to decide to use his education to help uplift his country.
By the summer of 2010 Kokpor decided that he would work for himself, creating products that would be produced in Liberia, by Liberians and for Liberians . His initial step was to contact his grandmother and inquire about the process of making “Country Soap”, and the ingredients used in the process. From there Panzsir was born. Panzsir positions itself to be the first company in Liberia to manufacture personal care products.
As a Political Science student, I see Kokpor Daynuah’s actions support everything I have learned thus far about ensuring democracy. When I went to school as a Political Science student my fundamental understanding was that the only way Liberia was going to improve was through great, knowledgeable politicians. As I studied more I realized that I was far from the truth. Instead I learned that the truest power comes from the people, and the government exists simply to ensure that everyone is abiding by the rules that had been established by the people.
My views were shaped by my interest in Ronald Inglehart’s and Christian Welzel’s article “How Development Leads to Democracy”, in which they stated “democracy is most likely to emerge and survive when certain social and cultural conditions are in place”. More importantly, democracy and democratic values don’t happen instantly. Change comes when the people are empowered, and democracy sustains itself when the people have something invested in the country. Economic empowerment allows people to have something to protect This encourages them to be more aware of the functions of their governments and more involved in polices and decisions that governments make on their behalf. Although economic development will not guarantee a fast track route to democracy, it does allow advancement in “social cultural politics”. More importantly it allows citizens to have a sense of “self-reinforcement”, where they see their voice and opinions as important. Citizens then begin to express these opinions during elections and other functions of society. This increases the value of self-expression, which is the foundation of democracy.
Kokpor Daynuah’s vision to manufacture his products in Liberia embodies everything that I have learned, and his action is demonstrating great patriotism. Although he started the process in 2010, production did not start until April of 2014 . His persistence offers a reason never to give up on your dreams no matter how small you start. Already his company Panzsir has developed a body lotion (Trogon™), and hopes to have many other products such as soaps, hair care, detergents and sanitizing products in the coming years. His goal to develop his product in Liberia is empowering the community in which he works. First, he empowers the people who are working with him, because the money earned in pay is providing for their well being, giving them an investment in the society, and something to care about. Second, Kokpor products include raw materials that are found in Liberia. His products included things such as coconuts and Shea butter.
Kokpor states that the need for these items is helping with the transportation sector and the villages that provide the products. More importantly, manufacturing in Liberia shows that the country is getting back on track. It sends a signal to Liberians that they too can be proud of something of their own. The small act of manufacturing in Liberia promotes the interests of all Liberians and gives us something to protect. We may not see it now at the surface of everything, but underneath this quiet rumble of a dream, all the citizens of Liberia are benefiting. Not because of taxes but because this little action is connecting all of Liberia – through transportation, raw materials providers , electricity companies, internet service providers, telephone companies, and other goods and services that are being used by Panzsir. Panzsir is adding value and strengthening the Liberian economy. We can all be a part of this by buying their products to help expand their company. Kokpor hopes that within five years the need for foreign cosmetic products usage will be reduced and more Liberian will be using “Made in Liberia” products. Kokpor is a true champion for Liberia, and “Made in Liberia” products.
Currently you can find Panzsir products at the following locations in Liberia; I encourage you to buy it:
- Lone Star gas station on RIA highway Old road,
- Rehab in Paynesville
- Duport Road junction,
- White Fence around Cocola factory
- 72nd junction on Somalia drive
- Matadi Estate
- And the factory at Iron Grate in Brewerville.
If you would like to get more information about Panzsir, or inquires about selling Panzsir products in your stores, you can contact Kokpor Daynuah at email@example.com or Visit their site Panzsir.com and their Facebook page Facebook.com/Panzsir
If you own a store or a Manufacturing company in Liberia and would like to be featured in Matooun.com next spot light article please contact us at Matooun@Matooun.com. Matooun is very proud of Kokpor Daynuah, Thank you for sharing your story.