The vice standard bearer of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Senator of Bong County, Jewel Howard-Taylor, has blamed parents across the country for prostitution and premature pregnancies, while highlighting several strategies to address them under a CDC led government.
Senator Taylor made the remarks at a one-day citizens’ engagement held in Doe Community on Friday organized by the Coalition of Political Parties Women in Liberia (COPPWILL) to find out issues that are important to voters and making sure that female aspirants or candidates interact with their constituencies.
“Some of the mothers are responsible for the high prostitution and premature pregnancies, because they (parents) usually tell their children that other young girls are helping their parents with the provision of food while they sit there and just eat…Only university students in Liberia will create for themselves more opportunities for international studies,” Madam Taylor told the women.
When the CDC is given state power, Sen. Taylor said, “We will address the situation by providing free education from ABC to 12th grade, create more missions (boarding schools) that will keep young girls for 10 months in school, which will help keep them busy with their lessons. We will also provide training opportunities for those who can no longer go to primary school because of age and other reasons.”
Speaking on female aspirants, Senator Taylor said it is important to have more women in the legislative races, because at times over 20 men from a single district contest for a seat, which she said calls for the same opportunity to be given to female aspirants.
For now, she said, “The women are faced with several challenges, including funding to enable them to visit the districts, print T-shirts for voters and handle other elections-related activities. But we have kicked-off this initiative to encourage other women to vote for women and to encourage women to stand up in their various districts. Women can work for you better if given the chance,” said Taylor.
Eddie Jarwolo, executive director for NAYMOTE-partners for Democratic Development and supporter of the program, said he was impressed with the level of engagement between the female aspirants and the citizens, pointing out its importance to Liberia’s election process, especially the 2017 elections.
“There are some challenges that they are faced with including public speaking, clear answers to some of the questions from the citizens, because the issue of voters’ priorities is paramount. They have not been able to clearly respond to issues, but NAYMOTE will provide some training, because politicians need to be able to talk well,” Jarwolo said.
Director Jarwolo said the initiative was the first of its kind in the history of Liberia to see aspirants visiting a community or district to ascertain what the voters want and putting them into their manifestos.
“Many times people develop platforms without consulting the people on their priorities. We will continue to support all the women aspirants in such an initiative.
“We have divided Montserrado County into four; and today, we are dealing with three districts. We will be moving to Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties and will continue until the entire country or the fifteen counties are completed. This is because we need more women in the Capitol Building,” he said.