Monrovia - In observance of the International Day of the Girl Child, 15 adolescent girls sat around a table at the offices of Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia, (WONGOSOL) to brainstorm on what they learned from their work during the just-ended Presidential and Legislative Elections in Liberia.
The Day was celebrated on Tuesday, October 10, worldwide but celebrated in Liberia on Wednesday, Oct. 11, because of the elections.
Nineteen-year-old Antoinette Suomie, for the first time is lucky to partake in an election and observe the process at her polling center in Monrovia.
“This is my first time seeing and taking a part in elections. I am glad that I was able to observe the process along with my friends."
"We noticed that some of the poll officers came late."
"We also noticed that first preferences were given to pregnant women, elderly and baby mothers."
"And we noticed that the entire elections were calm and peaceful,” Ms. Suomie, a high school graduate of the Monrovia College, said.
Ms. Suomie believes that education is very important and that every girl child should be educated, in order to stop discrimination against women.
“Education is very important because if you are not educated as a woman, you cannot gain any respect from men. Even our men of today, will treat you like trash when you are not educated, so I prefer that every girl should be educated,” she added.
Speaking from the WONGOSOL office in Monrovia, Program Assistant, Mrs. Linda T. Cummings, said the International Day of the Girl Child, under the national theme: ‘Take a girl to work,’ was WONGOSOL way of celebrating the day bringing together adolescent girls from 15 high schools and universities in Monrovia to work and observe the electoral processes in Liberia.
“We took them through the elections process to observe and discuss what they learned from the exercise, and we had them involved in the peaceful protest on the rape amendment law."
"WONGOSOL also works along with men. We engage men in all of our programs, because the issue of rape or women’s rights cannot be addressed in the absence of men."
As men are the perpetrators in rape and violence against women, they have to be involved in ending discrimination against women,” she added.
Madam Cummings further said their project; ending discrimination against women funded by their international partners, WONGOSOL is currently working in three counties, Montserrado, Grand Gedeh and Sinoe.
And they are working in five communities, and one of those communities is the Gwen Town community.
“The women in this community are creating awareness on women’s rights.
In the Southeast, women suggested that we create training for their husbands so they would know what women’s rights are, so they would reduce violence against them in their homes.
"So in these communities, women are now considered agents of change, which is our whole aim at WONGOSOL,” said Linda T. Cummings. Speaking on the importance of educating a girl child, Madam Cummings pointed out they at WONGOSOL support female education and are encouraging parents to educate their girl child so that they will know their place in society.
“I think we need to re-socialize our children to erase the notion that women place is in the kitchen or they are only considered as babies manufacturing machines,” she stressed.