By Lincoln G. Peters
The People’s Republic of China through its Embassy near Monrovia has donated a mini-bus and further pledged the country’s unflinching support to the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center).
The move by China which came on Thursday, 14 April 2022 is an effort toward enhancing women’s participation in governance and breaching the gender gap in Liberia and the continent of Africa at large.
The official turning over ceremony of the mini-bus and China’s pledge of commitment to the EJS Center was held at the Chinese Embassy in Oldest Congo Town Back Road.
Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Ren Yisheng officially signed and dedicated the bus to the EJS Center which was represented by the Executive Director of EJS Center, Dr. Ophelia Weeks.
As the first democratically elected woman president in Africa, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf is passionate about supporting the next generation of women in public.
The EJS Center was founded in 2018 to be a catalyst for change across Africa by helping unleash its most abundant untapped power— and it was officially launched on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020, with the aim of preparing African women to reach the highest echelons of public leadership.
Through a unique blend of programming, advocacy, research, and exhibitions, the Center advances women’s public leadership and social development on the continent.
The Amujae Initiative, the flagship program of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, prepares and supports African women for the highest levels of public leadership.
The Amujae Initiative has created a unique sisterhood of strong, ambitious, and experienced women leaders.
The network they have built has come to be an essential source of support and inspiration.
As the network continues to grow over the next year, Amujae Leaders will join the effort to shift the landscape for women in public leadership in Africa and bring other women along.
Amujae Leaders, participants in the program receive world-class mentorship and training. It is the only initiative in the world that is specifically designed to support talented African Women leaders through direct coaching from high-level leaders including former heads of state and heads of international organizations, who have forged the path before them.
This includes receiving advice and insight from former African women Presidents including Madam Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf.
Making the donation on behalf of the People’s Republic of China, Chinese Amb Ren Yinsheng extolled the EJS Center for the great initiative and empowerment they are providing in preparing women across the continent in order to enhance gender equity in Liberia and across, adding that China remained committed and supportive to the initiative.
According to the Chinese Ambassador, it’s time that women be supported and given the rightful training and education they need in order to serve in leadership.
He said when women are developed, the country will be developed, adding that they are working with the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights to host a first ever workshop on the ‘’Right to development’’ in the near future and the EJS Center will be invited to share with the participants, its vision.
‘’About some years ago when I came to Liberia as Ambassador to Liberia, I met former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and she told me of an idea of building the capacity of women to prepare them for leadership in governance,” Amb. Yisheng explained.
“I embraced the idea after listening to explain the intent and motive of the institution. The Chines government will provide scholarship, training and other learning, networking opportunity for the EJS Center and they will be in partnership also with the China Women Federation which will be in Liberia after consultation,’’ Amb. Yisheng noted.
He said women are very creative and sincere while in leadership, therefore it’s time that people do away with the mentality and believe that women are to be in the back.
He noted that women are people of great potential, adding that China has realized its mistakes and has gradually taken shift in supporting and developing women to public position of trust and influence.
Receiving the bus, EJS Center Executive Director Dr. Ophelia I. Weeks expressed thanks and appreciation to the People’s Republic of China through its Ambassador to Liberia Ren Yisheng for the support and partnership, adding that they are deeply grateful for the gesture.
“And again on behalf of Former President Madam Sirleaf, we want to say thank you so very much and we appreciate your generosity, your friendship and partnership,” she said.
“Together, we will work for there to be equity, equal representation between men and women in leadership. I am eager to see the great heights that women will reach and the things they will achieve,” Dr. Weeks continued.
According to her, Women’s representation at the highest levels of leadership – not just in Africa, but around the world – is essential as they seek to confront the collective challenges and build back more inclusive, resilient societies.
She noted that the women in the Amujae Initiative are unafraid to show their ambition and use their voices to call for change.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/esj-center-opens-applications-for-third-cohort/