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Sweden provides US$2m for teenage girls

By Arthur Douglas

 (lbsonline/Liberia)-About US$2m Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women grant has been provided Liberia.

The Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) project grant is being provided the Liberian Government by the government of Sweden through the World Bank.

The grant is a tripartite arrangement, aimed at implanting the third round of The project seeks to increase employment and income among adolescent girls between ages 16 and 27 through training in business development, job and life skills in Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa Counties.

Assistant Gender Minister for Planning, Magdalene Dagoseh, made the statements Wednesday 27th February, 2013 when she addressed a news conference at the Gender Ministry in Monrovia.

Assistant Minister Dagoseh described the grant’s provision as being timely.

She said: “Such support puts the Gender Ministry in a position to increase awareness and advocacies on issues adolescent girls are being faced within the country.”

“The grant would have come at no better time than this; not only does it fill the critical gap resulting from the EPAG pilot phases, but it also helps expand the project to other counties,” Assistant Minister Dagoseh told the joint news conference.

She said: “Phase-three of the EPAG project, whose initial phases extend from 2009 to 2013, is a 14-month initiative, targeting one thousand adolescent girls.”

The Assist Gender Minister recounted tremendous progress in the first two pilot phases of the program.

“By the end of the pilot, 99 percent (2,491) of the targeted 2,500 beneficiaries was reached; and 96.7 percent (2,408) trainees completed the training,” she said.

Madam Dagoseh added: “Primary findings of the project documented evidence that EPAG led a fifty percent increase in employment among participants, and increased average weekly earnings by 115 percent.”

“The EPAG focuses on a main thematic area of Swedish priorities-gender equality and the role of women in development.”

“It is an initiative that reaches out to three counties outside of Monrovia, where Swedish Support needs to have its focus”, she told the news conference.

For her part, the head of the Development Cooperation section at the Swedish Embassy near Monrovia, Gisela Strand, expressed joy over the project.

Madam Strand said: “The EPAG is one of the initiatives that suit my government’s priorities in Liberia.” It is part of the World Bank’s Gender Action Plan committed to helping adolescent girls and young women transition from school to work.”

The World Bank Liberia Country Director, Inguna Dobraja, also spoke at the news conference in Monrovia.

She said: “The initiative is part of her institution’s gender action plan to help girls transition from school to work in the country.”

Madam Dobraja said: “I am excited over the direct support from the SIDA to take the EPAG one step forward.”

“Both adolescent girls and boys need to ‘catch-up’ quickly, in terms of education and training,” the World Bank official said.

“It was critical to focus on training them in skills, where there will be market demand to make their transition from school to work even more possible,” said Dobraja.”

The project was funded by the Nike Foundation and the Danish Government, through the World Bank. 


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