The SOS Children’s Villages-Liberia, in collaboration with students from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, has concluded a one-month summer learning program that seeks to empower adolescent girls to be confident leaders in their communities, a release has said.
The forum, which was held at the SOS Children’s Villages-Liberia National office in Matadi, outside Monrovia, under the theme, “Promoting Education and Cultivating Leadership,” brought together over 30 students from various high schools in Monrovia and its environs.
According to the release, Janice C. Pratt, one of Liberia’s youngest female Policy Analysts at the Governance Commission and Founder of Storm Cashia Venture and Consultancy, spoke at the program, encouraging the girls to go out to know their values and strength.
Pratt said that “life is a game, and we all are players on the field.” She told the girls to take charge of their lives.
“If you want to succeed, you should go out to grow, especially those of you whose parents are not financially strong, because winners never quit; therefore you should not be a quitter,” Pratt said in her keynote address.
SOS Children’s Villages-Liberia National Director, Augustine A. Allieu, informed the audience that some of the reasons why the need to empower girls is important, is because the United Nations (UN) and partners, on October 11, 2015, gathered and highlighted the importance of girls to achieving the global goals for sustainable development.
Allieu added, “To reach our global goals, we have to reach the girls, because when girls are educated, healthy and empowered, the family members are also healthy.”
He said that the summer program is in line with the SOS global theory of change for youth development, which has “life skills development” as a key component.
“It is also in line with the SOS Care promise framework, which is part of our child development program,” Mr. Allieu said.
The summer activities include vacation basketball for the Youth Empowerment Program, to provide life skills education and confidence-building as a way of ensuring that the youth succeed in life.
Allieu then expressed gratitude for partnering with students from the University of Pennsylvania through the Promoting Education And Cultivating Empowerment project known as P.E.A.C.E., and at the same time thanked SOS Regional Office for initiating the process.
Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Andy Quamie, called the girls to be ambassadors of change by sharing the skills and knowledge learned with their friends and the community.
Madam Hawa Dunor Varney, Director of Adolescent Girls at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, thanked SOS-Liberia and partners for the program.
The students extolled the SOS Children’s Villages for the support, but appealed to the organization through its head for more collaborations, so that the program would remain impactful to the participants.