KEEP Launches Gender Social Accountability in Education

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Stakeholders and participants at the event in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County recently

The Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) on September 13 launched a 2-day ‘Training of Trainers’ workshop titled “Gender Strategic Social Accountability in Public Service Delivery in Education.” David Pajibo, special assistant to the District Education Officer (DEO) who represented the Ministry of Education, commended KEEP and OSIWA for initiating such an accountability project that is aimed at strengthening the education sector.

The event was formally launched in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County where an overview of the project was presented to key stakeholders as well as representatives from four communities and public schools. “We at the District Education Office are pleased with the project and we will fully support the initiative to success. This initiative will pressure Government to take a careful look at the salaries of teachers in line with their qualifications,” said Mr. Pajibo.

Wallace Barway, Gender Coordinator for Grand Gedeh, welcomed the project and pledged to work with KEEP in the protection of the rights of women and children, expressing hopes that the initiative will cover vulnerable communities. He promised to give his support that is needed to keep the program moving.

Jessaydeh Baison, president of the Grand Gedeh Rural Women, said the initiative helps them as women to know their rights and reduce corruption, especially in schools. “This is the kind of project we need as women because we have been at the tail of influencing decisions and most times we are not informed about projects that affect our children. We have seen many corrupt practices in our education system,” Baison told the gathering.

Aloysius Taylor, project coordinator for KEEP who provided the overview of the project, challenged stakeholders and participants to ensure the project’s successful implementation and to create room for its replication in other parts of the country. He thanked the KEEP management for initiating such an innovative project for the people.

The overall objective of the project is to improve education outcomes, especially for women and girls, and to build a culture of demand-driven accountability and government responsiveness towards the education needs of the communities, he revealed.

The project, Taylor said, will mainly work with women as primary rights holders whose capacities will be built to take part in decision-making processes in the education sector at the county and district levels, and use the information gathered through the monitoring of national level advocacy and policy change.

Also present at the launch was the Town chief of Gbolekon community, one of the communities that has a public school that will form part of the project, expressed his excitement about the project and noted that the educational outcomes for children in the county as a whole has been very low in the past few years.

He hopes that the Women Action Groups (WAGs), who will be monitors, would learn a lot during the training to equip them to know how to effectively monitor the schools in their communities so as to improve the quality of education and hold school and county leaders accountable.

The project will run in Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu and Montserrado counties covering 12 communities and is being implemented with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

OSIWA is a regional organization operating in 10 countries in West Africa and promotes and supports open societies, inclusive democratic governance based on transparent and accountable institutions, active citizenry and economic advancement.

OSIWA’s theory of change is rooted in the belief that if well-informed citizens are able to increase their participation in decision-making processes, and governance structures, processes and regional integration mechanisms are strengthened and function more effectively in the best interest of the society and the human rights of all its people, in particular the poor, vulnerable and marginalized are respected and protected, THEN this would contribute to making West Africa a freer, safer, more integrated, more equitable and ultimately more democratic and prosperous region.

KEEP is a local non-profit organization that supports educational activities in Liberia. The organization promotes social justice and development of vulnerable children and youth by strengthening their capacities and access to primary education by engaging with parents, community leadership, and established community structures. You can read more about their work on www.keepliberia.com, reach them on [email protected] if you have questions, or would like to support its programs

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