VP Howard-Taylor Pledges Support to Women, Youth Empowerment Initiatives

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Monrovia – Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has reemphasized the need to invest in the private sector.

VP Howard-Taylor speaking following a meeting with executives of the Design, IT and Training Institute (DITTI) and QUINTESSENTIAL Business Women Association-Liberia (QBWA) lauded the tremendous effort of the institutions and pledged her support them.

DITTI is a Liberia-owned vocational institution that is involved with training Liberians in basic skills including graphic design, cosmetology, masonry and carpentry among others. It is headed by Madam Fatu K. A. Gbedema; while QBWA is a non-governmental organization that empowers women through training in agribusiness and access to finance and headed by Andrea Kamara-Dunbar.

Vice President-Taylor has been a vocal advocate for women empowerment and on the campaign trail, she pledged to undertake initiatives that would empower vulnerable women and girls if elected.

She thanked the women for their ‘amazing work’ and pledged her unflinching support, beginning with scholarships to 25 women and girls at DITTI.

VP Howard-Taylor: “This is why leadership is important. That you put emphasis on those things that must be done. And I am just happy that someone else is doing it. All I must do now is to just provide the support and open the avenues for others to come in with their support to the programs and I am hoping that it will become a mega industry in my lifetime.  We will find a way to make these things sustainable.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of DITTI, Madam Fatu Gbedema lauded the Vice President for her visit and commitment towards women and youth empowerment.

Madam Gbedema emphasized that the rationale behind her institution is to provide opportunities to young Liberians and improve the private sector.

“Our role is to train people and become self-sufficient, make their own products and open our industry. We have a very small private sector, we want to open our industry, and we want to create opportunities and open our industry for young people to see what they can do in the sector. We are happy to have the Vice President lend her voice and support to our programs,” she averred.

She disclosed that classes will be opening within the next two weeks and “looks forward to partnering with the government and others to accelerate the development of the country.”

Madam Gbedema: “We want partners and donors to help us where they come to us and we can carry on economic development plan so that in the next three, four or five years, Liberians will get the skills and start their own business. Liberia has reach a point after the war to become more creative, more innovative and more doing and this is an opportunity DITTI and its collaborators are providing. We want to reduce people’s vulnerability. Everyone cannot work in Government. We have degrees and diplomats that are not taking us anywhere.”

Also speaking, the West Africa’s Vice President of the QUINTESSENTIAL Business Women Association (QBWA), Andrea Kamara-Dunbar revealed that her organization is currently networking with about 400 farmers cultivating pepper and cassava in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Nimba Counties.

She asserted that locally made products from these farmers are packaged and are sold at several super markets in Monrovia and its environs.

She noted that she decided to return home with her experience and knowledge acquired abroad to improve the quality of locally produced food.

Kamara-Dunbar: “The Liberia market hasn’t been receptive, but I think it is a matter of sensitizing them on the benefit and a matter of time. We are just giving them time to get acclimated to them.”

“Living abroad all my life and coming back to Liberia, seeing the state of our food products was unappealing to me as a person. Seeing the market, seeing the way people sell food was unsanitary. It didn’t seem conducive and the way it supposed to be. I have travelled. I have seen things, I worked in Nigeria for six years, and I have seen the same products we have here packaged well on the shelves, and there is no reason why it can be done in Nigeria and not done here. So I decided to do my best to fail the gap, so we decided to find a solution and that’s what we did.”

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