Monrovia –Laura Golakeh has put in the work – and now she’s finally rewarded. President Joseph Boakai’s nominee for Deputy Minister of Gender for Administration comes with a bag of experience which could bring a fresh face to a ministry always under the microscope – for all the wrong reasons.
Golakeh is a gender expert and education advocate. A first-generation college graduate born during the civil crisis in Liberia; Ms. Golakeh, has shown that no matter one’s circumstances, one can always rise with commitment and determination.
Her passion for gender issues were ignited at the Angie Brooks International Center for Women, where she worked on several women’s empowerment, peace and security programs in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Kenya. After her graduation from college at the tender age of 20, Ms. Golakeh pursued her first graduate degree in Gender and Peacebuilding from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. Upon her return to Liberia, she was given her first opportunity to work in Government where she worked as the focal person for WASH, Education and Gender in the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU), in the office of Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Driven by the famous quote, “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”, she founded a community organization promoting early literacy among less-privileged children especially girls.
The organization promotes early grade reading among children and promotes the advancement of quality education. Because of her contribution to Liberia, she was one of 500 young African leaders selected from more than 50,000 youth in Africa to be a part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, an initiative of Pres. Barack Obama in 2014. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. As a fellow she spent six weeks in the United States, at the Arizona State University learning skills in Civic Leadership and interacting with top US Leaders including Amb. Susan Rice, Amb. Linda T. Greenfield and Pres. Barack Obama in Washington DC at a Presidential Town Hall. She also presented to Mrs. Michelle Obama the opportunities and challenges that girls face in accessing education in Africa and her conversation with the former First Lady was one of the driving forces behind her, Let Girls Learn initiative, which she launched to improve girls’ access to education around the world.
Golakeh founded a consulting firm in 2018 specialized in educational leadership, evaluation as well as gender and development. Through her firm, Ms. Golakeh provided consultancies to many international organizations including UN Women where she worked as National Consultant to develop the Liberia National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and build the capacity of staff of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as other government agencies and civil society organizations to implement the action Plan. She also worked as Liberia Education Context Specialist for USAID on a mid-term evaluation of the Accelerated Quality Education Project and most recently as Gender Expert for the German Institute for Development. Laura provided consulting services to the World Bank country office in Liberia through its Social Protection and Jobs program, Concern Worldwide, United Nations Development Program, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) among others.
She has contributed to the development of several policy papers including National Gender Policy, Liberia Gender Equality Profile, Liberia National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325, Liberia National Action Plan on Persons with Disabilities, Liberia Conflict Assessment, and several other reports.
Ms. Golakeh has also worked in various program and media capacities at non-governmental organizations including the Wellesley Center for Women in Boston, Massachusetts, the MMCRP Project and the Liberia Media Center. Ms. Golakeh is currently a part-time instructor of Gender Based Violence and Counseling at the Graduate Program at Mother Pattern College of Health Sciences.
Ms. Golakeh has a Master of Arts in Gender and Peacebuilding from the University for Peace, a Master of Education in International Education Policy from the prestigious Harvard University and is a graduate of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia. Ms. Golakeh obtained her graduate degree in Sociology from the African Methodist Episcopal University.
She is a former member of the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Committee and a board member on several boards in Liberia and the United States of America.