‘Enhancing Young Women, Leaders’ Understanding of Advocacy and Activism’

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— PAYOWI Validates strategic plan for next 3 years

The Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWWI) has climaxed a 2-day intensive retreat intended to enhance the understanding of young women and leaders on advocacy and activism.

The 2-day retreat, held on December 21 and 22, 2020 in Monrovia, targeted 25 people which included adolescent girls, and leaders who continue to volunteer with the Paramount Young Women Initiative.

PAYOWI intends to equip young women and adolescent girls’ mentors and leaders with the understanding and tools for mentoring through transformative leadership.

PAYOWI Executive Coordinator, Facia Harris, said the retreat aimed to help young women mentors and mentees reflect on mentoring and leading in the new dimensions of the coronavirus. The retreat also sought to provide opportunities for women leaders and mentors and adolescent girls to network, and broaden their base on transformative leadership principles.

She stressed the importance of enhancing the understanding of young women and leaders’ on advocacy and activism as PAYOWI validates its strategic plan for 2021-2023.

According to Madam Harris, they believe that adolescent girls and young mentors, as well as leaders, will identify impacts and gaps in mentoring and leading during the COVID-19 pandemic with the feminist organization.

She said the validation of PAYOWI’s strategic plan is cardinal because the organization has never had a strategic plan. Therefore, the putting together of this inaugural strategic document should reflect the aspirations, inputs and ideas of all the young women mentors and leaders that are working with the institution.

Binta Masssaquoi, PAYOWI’s Secretary to the Board of Directors, said she was impressed with the level of progress of the organization including the validation of a three years (2021-2023) strategic plan that will help to impact more young women across the country.

“I’m elated to see different speakers here today to help us to validate our strategic plan. Again, in previous years, we have been more activities-focused and will continue to impact our young women and girls,” Ms. Massaquoi said.

According to Ms. Massaquoi, PAYOWI is now thinking broadly in terms of long term planning on how to achieve its goals, stating: “our number one goal is not just to empower young women, but to ensure that they feel empowered because we are able to put our ideas together and seek expertise from people.”

She added that PAYOWI hopes that there will be increased in beneficiaries, while expressing expectation of more support from partners.

Paramount Young Women Initiative is a women-led advocacy and empowerment initiative established in 2005 by a group of college graduates with the sole purpose of serving the interest of adolescent girls and young women in Liberia.

One of the volunteers said it has been rewarding in working with PAYOWI over time, and expressed hope of better years ahead.

PAYOWI’s Program Officer, Hawa C. Wilson, said she was excited as the retreat will help to guide the work of the organization over the next three years.

“This year, we were able to maintain our working relationship despite COVID-19. We provided scholarships to two young women through our education program and had 300 young women benefiting from the mentoring program. We also trained 250 people in different communities and at different levels to ending all forms of violence against women and girls,” Ms. Wilson indicated.

She indicated that amidst the coronavirus pandemic, PAYOWI also secured grants and empowered 60 women to do business. According to her, PAYOWI has several programs, including mentorship, leadership and advocacy, education and entrepreneurship, but few of the programs were paused because of the coronavirus.

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