Plan International Liberia Unveils Plans To Support 100 Million Girls Worldwide
Monrovia – A one-day national strategic stakeholders consultative meetings organized by Plan International Liberia in collaboration with its partners has ended with stakeholders recommitting to empower girls.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
Speaking at the opening session of the gathering on Monday, January 14, the Country Director of Plan Liberia, Evelyn Moorehead revealed that her organization is in the process of defining its new five-year strategy which will be focused on ensuring children have access to their rights and equality of girls.
According to Madam Moorehead, the program is line with the implementation of Plan International’s five-year global strategy in supporting 100 million girls to learn, lead, decide and thrive which runs from 2017 to 2022.
To achieve the goal, Plan Liberia will partner with the Liberian Government through its Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and other non-governmental organizations including UN agencies and civil society groups.
Madam Moorehead: “The organization has a new global strategy which focus is on 100 million girls to support them to learn, lead, decide, and to thrive. So, as a country office, we are looking at our country strategy about how we support girls in this country. Much of that work needs to be done with other partners, specifically the government through the pro poor agenda and other INGOs, the UN and other civil society organizations. We are one organization, we are ambitious, we are driven, but we need to work with other organizations.”
She further that as part of the country office’s strategy development process, Plan Liberia recruited an external consultancy firm, Africa Development Associates (ADEAS) to complete a Child Right’s Situational Analysis of Liberia.
Meanwhile, a group of Liberian children activists including Sanctus W. Solomon (age 16), president of the Adults and Girls Advisory Panel and Abigail Bembo (age 14), a member of the Children and Youth Advisory Board of Nimba County has condemned the ‘alarming rate’ of violence perpetrated against women and children, especially girls and called on policy makers to institute measures to curb the menace.
Miss. Solomon, speaking at the event named rape, teenage pregnancy, early marriage, lack of girls’ education on sexual reproductive health and rights and inaccessible and unaffordable quality education as vices hampering girls from reaching their potential.
“Rape is one of the menaces that greatly affects girls. It makes me sick whenever I heard that a child is rape. I have been searching to find out why people rape, especially little girls of age nine, ten and eleven years old. All I can find is nothing but just wickedness. And despite rape being a non bailable offense, it is still on the increase,” she lamented.
Abigail Bembo (age 14), called on the government of Liberia to include comprehensive sexuality education in the national curriculum to teach girls and youth about their sexual health.
She added that girls will have adequate knowledge on their menstrual cycle and will take care of themselves properly whenever they are seeing their menstrual cycle while in school; something she noted keep them away from school.
Also speaking, Plan International’s Sub-Regional Director, Sven Coppens cautioned against the use of cultural practices and poverty as justifications to perpetrate sexual and Gender Based Violence against women and girls.
He hailed the children for speaking out and pledged the organization’s continuous commitment in joining the global forces in creating a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
Also speaking, the Assistant Minister for Development Planning at the Ministry of Finance, Benedict Kolubah welcomed the plan and called for sustained cooperation between government and the private sector including national and International NGOs in achieving the goals.
Meanwhile, ADEAS in its presentation of the report conducted in several counties including Montserrado, Margibi and Lofa noted that violence against women and girls is on the increase and most of these stems from cultural and traditional practices.
Madam Moorehead welcomed the report and noted that it will be validated following series of consultations with its partners including UNICEF, who she said had conducted similar survey in the past.
Founded during the Spanish civil war in 1937 by British Journalist John Langdon-Davis and aid worker Eric Muggeride to promote the rights of children, Plan International has extended in over 80 countries across the world.
In Liberia, the organization is currently active in four counties Bomi, Lofa, Margibi, Montserrado and Nimba, and according to Madam Moorehead, plans are underway to reach out to other parts of the country, mainly the southeastern region.
“We are aware that other parts of the country are equally marginalized and we look at opportunities as they arise to see how we can work with partners in specific areas; especially in the South East,” she averred.