Monrovia – The Kid Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) has ended a one-day roundtable with several youth organizations in Montserrado County.
The organizations include Defense for today and Tomorrow Youth Alliance and Youth Educational Association amongst others.
The program brought together panelists from NAYMOTE and KEEP to discuss ways forward to mitigating challenges faced by young girls and women across the country.
The roundtable was held under the theme: “She Leads” project being implemented by KEEP, with support from Plan Liberia.
“She Leads” is a five-year project aimed at promoting, nurturing leadership and advocacy for young women and girls.
The Youth Engagement Officer of KEEP, Mervell Smallwood, said:” the discussion was intended to brainstorm on the proper implementation of policies and laws affecting females in Liberia.”
“The project is geared towards increasing the voices of girls and young women into transforming gender norms in both formal and informal institutions. In order to achieve this impact, we are doing this project together with child and women rights organizations.”
She said there are several policies and laws which give women equal opportunity, but lack proper implementation.
The Youth Engagement Officer named the National Gender Policy and article 18 of the constitution of Liberia as areas that need to be considered by policymakers.
Smallwood further said, “the National Gender Policy talks about females or girls to be pushed to attain leadership position in schools. Article 18 of the constitution of Liberia also talks about equal access to job opportunities no matter your sex, age or religion, but we think there is still a problem in its full implementation.”
She disclosed that following the roundtable, participants will ensure that knowledge obtained to be utilized for the betterment of their future.
Smallwood maintained that KEEP is working with several other civil society organizations and child network coordination teams to ensure that these laws and policies are properly implemented to see more women in higher positions.
“We hope that girls and young women perspective will be placed in laws and policies at the national level – we also hope that their voices will be raised at the national level and they themselves can be seated in key positions.”
She, at the same time, urged the participants to continuously raise awareness to ensure that girls and women form part of major decision making.
Ten-thousand young women and girls are expected to benefit from the “She Leads” project across the country.
Moses N. Buwee, Catherine Lablah of KEEP and Faith C. Smith of NAYMOTE served as panelists during the roundtable.
They encouraged the participants to remain consistent in their advocacy to ensure that issues affecting women and girls are prioritized.
Smith and Lablah used the occasion to admonish the participants to see the ascendency of former Liberian President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf as a motivation to achieving their dreams.
Two of the participants, Victoria Y. Miazee and Gifty D. Ziankahn of Defense for Today and Tomorrow Youth Alliance, thanked KEEP and the panelists for knowledge provided.
They called on other girls and young women to join KEEP and Plan Liberia, to ensure that women issues are raised at the national level to give women more opportunities.
Miazee and Ziankahn at the same time called on policymakers to fully implement policies and laws to enable women participation in major decision making.
By: Sampson David