KEEP Liberia Seeks ECOWAS’ Intervention For Girls, Young Women Empowerment Campaign’s Approval

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In order for every sector in Liberia to fully subscribe to the United Nations gender equality agenda, which calls for women involvement, the Kids’ Education Engagement Project (KEEP), a non-profitable organization, has called on the leadership and membership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to join its girls and young women empowerment campaign team’s effort to get the government’s approval; writes Ojuku Silver-tongue Kangar, Jr.

   KEEP is a local non-profit organization that works at the grassroots level in four counties in Liberia. It focuses on providing support in the education sector. It also engages in women and girls’ empowerment, economic livelihood, access to justice, promotion of rights in schools, strengthening youth education, and so on.

“Early this year, we did a data collection for girls and young women, whose ages ranged from 18—24, to know who are occupying high position,” Victoria Miazee, a visually impaired girl who served as a main presenter of the data collected to ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, said. “We want girls and young women to be part of the decision making in Liberia.”

   KEEP Liberia’s project is for five years, and is being funded by Plan International. The data collection targeted 35 persons, and was done at the civil society and community levels at some government’s ministries, according to the team that met the ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, Her Excellency Josephine Nkrumah, on Thursday.

   During the survey, the group said it spoke to 27 persons, which is about (84.4%) who said no, girls and young women between 18—24 are not occupying key positions in society. It also visited government’s ministries to ascertain whether the government has set up a program to eliminate or minimize violence against women.

   “75% said not so. Government has not taken any step or action to eliminate violence against girls and young women. 25% said government is taking action,” Miazee said.

   However, they recommended the following: job opportunities, training, education, scholarship, financial empowerment, among others, to Nkrumah.

   ECOWAS plan for women’s rights state that “it shall recognize, encourage and support the role of women in its initiatives for conflict prevention, management, resolution, peace keeping and security”.

   Receiving the document, Ambassador Nkrumah said, “I receive it and will go through it, and whatever recommendation we can give to support we will look at it as well. I will provide the ECOWAS Radio Station to you people to make your advocacy known.”

   Mesmerizing the women empowerment advocates, Nkrumah encouraged them to involve their male counterparts, add value to themselves by going to trade school, making use of the internet by browsing websites and information that will build them up.

   “No government in the world can meet the expectation of every citizen. Go online and read issues online. Something you learn add experience on you,” the ECOWAS Ambassador said. “Do something tangible to be engaged; a table of decision making is not a right, you must learn.”

   “I baked cookies, took it to school, sold it and got money. Don’t sit for nothing; value yourselves with skills. The best experience in life is failure; it can build you–to advance or decline”.

   The trajectory for development is accelerated when you have women. Liberian women are very strong in decision making; Liberia produced the first female President in Africa.

   KEEP Liberia’s advocate team members were mixed up, girls and girls, who are junior high, high school and university students.

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