Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has assured that the government will provide the necessary funding for the education of girls in the country and has noted that it is the responsibility of the Liberian government to better the lives of girls through education.
“It is important for a girl to grow up in an environment of love, peace, safety, and security,” she said. She made these remarks recently at a program organized by More Than Me in observance of International Day of the Girls Child held in Monrovia.
The vice president emphasized the capability of girls to reach their potential if given the right opportunity. “When girls are happy, they can produce,” she said. “They are multitaskers and are able to perform more than one task or activity at the same time than their male counterparts.”
She said the government must look at issues confronting girls such as sexual abuse, early marriage, empowerment, and educational opportunities and noted that placing school-going girls in dormitories will allow them to concentrate on their lessons.
She also said that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf embarked on the construction of dormitories for girls during the immediate past administration, and she looks forward to building on that legacy.
Her appearance at the program coincided with the release of a damning article alleging widespread negligence by More Than Me in protecting its students from sexual exploitation.
The organization operates its own private all-girls school, the More Than Me Academy, in addition to 18 public schools as part of the Liberia Education Advancement Program, previously branded as Partnership Schools for Liberia.
The article, jointly published by ProPublica and Time magazine, reports that a man who had helped Katie Meyler launch More Than Me, Macintosh Johnson, abused his position of privilege by sexually assaulting many of the girls in the academy.
In response to the article, the vice president said More Than Me was transforming the lives of disadvantaged girls. “There are difficulties everywhere, and we must look at the positive things coming out of the More Than Me Academy,” she said.
“Let us not look at the difficulty it is faced with because everyone got some,” she said. “The government will try to provide funding for some of the things that are lacking at the academy and also try to get the girls back on the dormitories so that [they] cannot be harassed.”