The Defense for Children International-Liberia (DCI-Liberia) in partnership with Plan International Liberia has officially launched the Girls’ Advocacy Alliance Project aimed at advocating for children and youth to protect them from child marriage, sexual violence and abuse.
Foday M. Kawah, Executive Director of DCI-Liberia, made the disclosure over the weekend in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, during the launch of the program, which was witnessed by government officials, local and international partners, and civil society representatives, among others.
The project is held under the theme, “Supporting the Elimination of Child Marriage, Sexual Violence, Promoting Access to Education and Opportunities for Entrepreneurship,” which he said will address many of the challenges faced by Liberian girls.
According to Kawah, the project will be executed in three counties, including Lofa, Bomi and Montserrado Counties, and will last for five years; adding, “This project is being sponsored by civil society organizations in the Netherlands.”
“The project seeks to increase alliance with communities, the government, civil society actors and other international partners, including the private sector, to jointly support advocacy for children against child marriage, sexual violence and abuse. This is also meant to ensure that girls have access to primary education, technical and vocational education and economic opportunities as well.”
Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, who served as the keynote speaker at the launch, said she was delighted with such a program that seeks to advocate for girls and called on the young girls to fully participate to ensure that their rights are protected.
“The issue of advocacy has to be extended to some of the counties and communities that seriously suffer violence, especially violence against women and children. This is an important program for our young girls and hope that such activities will alleviate the violence against them,” she said.
Senator Taylor said there is a need to prepare and inspire young girls to be the kind of women Liberia and the world at large need, adding that “Women have been marginalized in many areas in society and I hope this would be the beginning of a new generation of women that are protected in every area.
“I am also hoping that the Domestic Law can be passed by the 53rd National Legislature, which will arrest some of the many violations mounted against young girls and Liberian women. Our women have suffered from many violations, including economic violence,” she added.
Also speaking, Akoydede Beavogui, Program Support Manager for Plan International Liberia, said his organization will collaborate with the DCI-Liberia to ensure that all the activities under the advocacy project are fully realized and achieved.
“We need to take the advocacy to various offices, business places, and within the neighborhood as a way of protecting Liberian girls. The call for girls’ advocacy is timely for Liberia and will ensure a better future for them. The men need to see these girls as their mothers and sisters and provide protection for them that will bring smiles and joy to them,” Mr. Beavogui suggested.
He lauded all the previous speakers, including the participants, for making the launch a success. He believes the launch will impact the lives of the youth, and young girls in particular.