The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection through its Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) Project in Liberia will graduate 1,170 students from Round 4 of its Project in Grand Bassa,Margibi and Montserrado Counties respectively.
The EPAG Project was launched by then Ministry of Gender and Development in 2009 with the goal of increasing the employment and income of 2,500 young Liberian women by providing livelihoods, life skills training and facilitating their transition to productive work. Given the success of the project to-date, Round 4 of the training is being funded by the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency (SIDA) through the World Bank.
The graduation exercise will kick off in Grand Bassa from 25th to 28th October, 2016 at the following venues across the county: Compound 2, Compound 3/Gorblee, Bacconnie, Korkowein and Gorzohn. The EPAG Round 4 has being successfully implemented, training a total of 970 girls and 200 boys in Business Development Skills with an addition of 60 girls who are being pilot tested in Montserrado.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Julia Duncan-Cassell, announced that the inclusion of adolescent boys for the first time in the EPAG Program demonstrates the Ministry’s assurance of its intentions to expand to other parts of the country with the recruitment and inclusion of more boys. “It is and will be to Liberia’s benefit when our girls and boys are educated and contribute as equal partners in government and in the private sector. This is not a hidden fact that social and economic empowerment of girls can yield major dividends in national development,” She added.
The project seeks to maximize employment outcomes at the same time preparing young women and girls for further scale up the expansion of its scope and it is implemented by NEAL and EDU Care; two organizations that are the service providers of the program. The EPAG Project has had three successive rounds of training with girls as the only participants and during rounds one and two, the project reached out to 2,491 girls while round three witnessed the training of additional 1,000 girls across the country respectively.
According to a World Bank reports the program’s impact are found on the employment and earnings outcomes of program participants, relative to a control group of non-participants. The EPAG program has increase employment by 47 percent and earnings by 80 percent.
In addition, the impact evaluation documents positively affect a variety of empowerment measures, including access to money, self-confidence, and anxiety about circumstances and the future. The evaluation finds no net impact on fertility or sexual behavior. At the household level, there is evidence of improved food security and shifting attitudes toward gender norms.
The graduation will climax in Monrovia, in November this year with the graduation of another set of students who successfully went through the training program.-Press release