The World Bank has expressed its satisfaction on its collaboration with the Ministry of Gender and Development on the implementation of monitoring and coordinating the activities of Liberian adolescent girls.
The Senior Education Economist of the World Bank, Peter Pardav, described the performance of the Ministry for a period slightly over year as ‘successful,” owing to the sponsorship to the tune of US$160,000 for the Adolescent Girls Unit (AGU).
The World Bank and the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Gender and Development began their partnership in the economic empowerment of Adolescent Girls in 2009; but the AGU was created and launched in 2012 by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Speaking Thursday, April 24, during the awareness program of the Adolescent Girls Resource Center at the Gender Ministry, which was attended by over 80 adolescent girls from across Monrovia, the World Bank education economist said the funding, which is intended for two-and-a-half years, is part of the World Bank’s Institutional Development Fund.
“Around 2012, we agreed that for the Ministry to effectively monitor and coordinate adolescent girl-related activities we should find a way to support the adolescent girls unit. I can say we are pleased because it has been successful,” Mr. Pardav said.
He added: “The adolescent girls’ agenda is a strategic agenda for Liberia. Gender empowerment is very important since adolescent girls are a vulnerable group of people. Some of the girls have dropped out of school, while others are exposed to violence. That is why this program is crucial to their lives.”
Mr. Pardav further expressed his satisfaction over the service of international and national staff on technical issues, with several of them training on the subjects of women’s empowerment and how to properly establish a resource center.
He urged Liberian girls to take advantage of the newly established Adolescent Girls Resource Center situated at the Ministry of Gender and Development.
Mr. Pardav said the use of the resource center would broaden the girls’ minds and open the door to new opportunities.
The Awareness of the Adolescent Girls Resource Center coincided with the celebration of the Global Day of Girls in Information Communication and Technology (ICT). This day was set aside by International Telecommunication Union (ICA) to encourage girls in ICT.
The Monitor and Evaluation/Mapping Consultant of the AGU, Dr. Tanya Garnett Mercy said the Adolescent Girls Resource Center was created for Liberian adolescent girls, between the ages 14 to 24 years old to have access to technology, internet, and information, as well as to serve as a referral in terms of gender-based violence, and child protection service.
According to Dr. Mercy, the Resource Center would be one of such places where adolescent girls are able to find information on employment, scholarships and training programs, and relevant reading materials.
“We are happy for the awareness of the Resource Center to tell the girls that every Tuesday will either be reading hour or life skills hour while every Thursday would be life skill hour or mentoring hour,” Dr. Mercy said.
Earlier, the Director of iLab, Teemu Ropponen, encouraged the adolescent girls to take interest in ICT to help transform Liberia.
Serving as motivational speaker for the Global Day of Girls in ICT, Mr. Ropponen stated that his appeal stemmed from statistics which show that about 20% of female go to the iLab for get education on ICT.
For her part, the Assistant Coordinator for AGU, Madam Agnes Horton-Nushann, said adolescents in Liberia need a medium that connects them to programs that address their socio-economic needs and constraints and provide them with opportunities to interact with other adolescent girls; linking them to existing support services.
She indicated that Adolescent Girls Resource Center is a “One-Stop-Shop” where partners and donors can access information on adolescent girls across Liberia.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Valerie S. Johnson of the Adolescent Girls Advisory Panel and Kimberline Annan of the Paramount Young Women Initiative hailed the Ministry of Gender and the World Bank for the creation of the resource center and vowed to encourage their colleagues to take interest in ICT.