The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection or (MGCSP) has reaffirmed its commitment to working with international and national actors to take seriously the call to commit to putting adolescent girls at the center of sustainable development in the country.
According to the ministry, the surest way of achieving such is by investing in high quality education, skills-training, access to technology, as well as other learning initiatives that prepare girls for life, jobs and leadership.
During the official program marking the 4th observance of the Day of the Girl Child held under the theme: Ensuring Quality Education for Girls Empowerment in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, the Minister of Gender, Julia Duncan Cassell said the day was important to all adolescent girls in and around the world owing to the fact that they were people faced with the huge burden of violence in society.
Minister Cassell indicated that just five years ago on December 19, 2011, the UN declared October 11 each as the International Day of the Girl Child to recognize girls right and the unique challenges they face around the world. According to her, it was the day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss and take actions to advance the rights and opportunities for girls everywhere.
The Minister, however, indicated that girls in Liberia were no exception to the unfortunate situation faced by other girls around the world, saying several reports and studies have revealed that rape is a crime mainly committed against young women between the ages of 10-19. The minister pointed out that girls under the age 15 report that they are being forced into sexual activities against their will, saying 11% of girls are married by age 15 and age 18.
She noted that a UNFPA report in 2008, indicated that girls were at risk or affected by harmful traditional practices, stressing that they still lack access to education and communication – situations that pose many crucial problems to them and other young women in Liberia.
According to Minister Cassell, through the different stakeholders programming on girls rights in Liberia, there were signs of positive change of attitudes toward girls. “As we reflect on these achievements over the years and plan new sustainable development goals, it is an opportune time to consider the importance of social, economic and political investments in the power of adolescent girls as fundamental to development growth of our nation,” she added. By Lewis S. Teh -Edited by George Barpeen