Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara
FM Kamara Asks GERLS Girls To ‘Assume Responsibility For Success,’
MONROVIA, April 11 (LINA) - Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara is urging beneficiaries of the Girls Ebola Recovery Livelihood Support (GERLS) project to utilize the opportunities being afforded them under the project.
“Through this assistance you assume some accountability and responsibility for success. You must do your part to prove worthy of the confidence demonstrated in you,” she said.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Madam Kamara made the assertion when she delivered the keynote address at the official launch of the GERLS project at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Tuesday.
The GERLS project, which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the World Bank Group and the Liberia Country Office, has as its overarching objective the reduction of vulnerability of young women and girls.
The project provides life and business skills training, as well as cash grants to support the re-generation or expansion of businesses of targeted adolescent girls and young women.
The training is free while it also provides mentoring to beneficiaries to guide the growth of their businesses.
Foreign Minister Kamara indicated that the selected beneficiaries are being given a second chance to recover from the disastrous impact of the Ebola virus, shape or reshape their destiny, become productive members of society and champions of the rights of girls and young women.
“Please see this as an opportunity of a lifetime – do not take it for granted as it may not come your way again,” she warned.
Madam Kamara stressed that beyond the loss of human lives and immense suffering, the Ebola virus devastated the country’s economy, including every segment of society which was adversely affected.
Highlighting the problems that girls and young women encounter regularly, Foreign Minister Kamara named high level discrimination and violence in public and private spaces, trafficking, sexual, physical and psychological exploitation, as well as difficulty in obtaining paid jobs in the labor market.
“Economic empowerment and education of the girl child has been proven to be one of the most impactful strategies for poverty alleviation,” she said; adding, “Eliminating the culture of dependency by investing in adolescents through livelihood support and vocational and life skills training is vital for nation-building.”
She expects that this GERLS project will empower the girls and young women selected in a manner which gives them greater access to social and economic opportunities.
The project is expected to benefit 2,000 adolescent girls and young women in three counties - Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa - who are interested in improving and expanding their businesses.
About 1,000 girls and young women will be alumni of the Empowerment Project for Adolescent Girls (EPAG), while the other 1,000 will be Ebola virus disease affected girls and young women.
Officially launching the project, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Julia Duncan Cassell, said the event is one of government’s response programs to reduce suffering caused by the debilitating effects of the Ebola virus disease on the economy.
She stressed that as the Ebola virus disease led to the loss of livelihood for many Liberians, the government is forging partnerships to come up with a breakthrough strategy and this was one of those strategies.
Minister Cassell stressed that the project will provide income support to adolescent girls who have lost their livelihoods because of the EVD crisis in Liberia.
In separate remarks, the Auditor-General, Yusador S. Gaye, and Brewerville City Mayor Curtis, thanked the donors for empowering the young girls and women in the country but admonished the beneficiaries not to squander the opportunity afforded them under this project.
For his part, the World Bank acting Country Manager, Mr. Adubi Abimbola, reminded the facilitators that the project is planned, scheduled and expected to be completed by the end of September 2017.
“All efforts should be focused on implementation to ensure that the funds are utilized before the end of the project,” he urged.
He hoped that at the end of the exercise, the project would have made the intended impact.