The Integrated Intensive Gender Empowerment Project conceived by Center for Media Studies and Peace-building, CEMESP was last weekend climaxed by a graduation ceremony in Bong County.
Keenan Institute, the partner of CEMESP to train the women in diverse vocational skills hosted the graduation ceremony at Goll Farm, Suakoko District in Bong County, Saturday 20th April 2013.
The Open Society Institute international Womens’ Program funded the project as an extension of serialized gender political empowerment training workshops implemented last year in Nimba, Grand Bassa and Bong Counties.
In a keynote address, Rev. Father Prince Wreh of Cuttington University Graduate School and pioneer of Keenan Institute, who incidentally stood in for Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, said it was in Ivory Coast that the vision for the establishment of a school for disadvantaged compatriots was born. He recalled that about fifty years ago, women were considered as domestic object, but lauded the gradual progress that has been ushered in to restore their lost dignity.
Whilst commending CEMESP and donors for touching the lives of the forty graduates, Rev. Wreh deplored cultural prejudices that continue to subjugate women, noting that it is high time women are liberated from the bondage of marginalization.
He challenged the graduates to arise from the place where society has placed them by applying the skills acquired in being in position to put food on the table for their families.
Representative Prince Moye of Bong County, impressed by the initiative, pledged USD $200.00 in gasoline coupons to Keenan institute and promised to market the process of sustaining such an engagement of transforming the lives of women in skills transfer using opportunities that exist in both County and Social Development Funds.
He asserted that everybody seems to be extolling formal education, “but that is not the end in itself”, pointing out that vocational skills can contribute to the local economy and urged the graduates not to underestimate what they have learnt.
Earlier, CEMESP’s Executive Director, Malcolm Joseph, reassured that efforts would be exerted to ensure that “this is not the end of the road”, but the possibility of providing start-up package will constitute an aspect of fund-raising drive to roll out this project.
He disclosed that study has uncovered that 85% of women contribute to the informal sector, yet 15% are involved in decision-making, which is not healthy development for Liberia, pledging US$250.00 for the procurement of a generator for Keenan institute, as part of the institutional capacity-building dimension of the project.
The Proprietress, Ms. Relhetta Wreh, in an update about the project, said the tailoring cosmetology component of the training will continue, noting that these disciplines require extended time for the trainees to be qualified.
Those graduated are from the bakery, soap-making, gara tie-dying, and computer literacy.