President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday, August 15, handed official jackets to female motorcyclists known as the ‘Pink Panthers’ at the offices of the Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security, on the 3rd Floor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Presenting the jackets to the female bikers, the President them for their courage and bravery in participating in the project, which is a contribution to national development, and called on them to ride with care and avoid danger.
In response and on behalf of her colleagues, Nathaline Saah, head of the Pink Panthers, expressed gratitude to the President for taking up the time to present them with their jackets. Ms. Saah said they are impressed that the President was present for their unveiling, and by her concern for their safety.
In brief remarks earlier, the Coordinator of ABIC, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, in the presence of ABIC Board Chair Olubanke King-Akerele, thanked the girls for their patience and noted that the President graced the occasion because of her interest in them.
The Pink Panthers All Girls Motorcyclist Project an initiative of the ABIC, is aims to economically empower young women. The origin of the project dates back to February 2015 when officials of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the ABIC conducted a one-day strategic meeting to discuss challenges facing female motorcyclists and how to provide means to address some of them.
During her visit to Liberia on February 15, 2015, Madam Helen Clarke, the UNDP Administrator, met with the Pink Panthers and encouraged them to succeed in this male-dominated arena. Madam Clarke even rode on one of the bikes with a Pink Panther as a sign of support and encouragement.
Last year, the Pink Panthers All Girls Motorcycle Club and the Women Behind Wheels participated in various capacity-building trainings in self-defence, bike maintenance, traffic signs, financial management and the fundamental human rights, among others, organized by ABIC.
With funding from UNDP, 11 motorcycles were purchased and documents processed, including licence plates, drivers’ licences and third party insurance. The project was formally launched in December 2015 by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in the presence of UNDP Country Director, Dr.
Kamil Kamaludeen, and ABIC Establishment Coordinator, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building.