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Liberia: 3,500 citizens benefit Social Cash Transfer

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Says Gender Minister Saydee-Tarr

The Government of Liberia announces disbursement of over 1.2 million United States Dollars (US$1.2m) to approximately 3,500 beneficiaries in Grand Kru and Maryland counties in over four cycles of its Social Cash Transfer Program.

 The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr says payment for the next two cycles is scheduled for August 2021.

Speaking Thursday, July 16, 2021 at the Ministry of Information weekly press briefings in Monrovia, she said as of July 1, 2021 approximately 1.2 million United States Dollars has been transferred to households in Monsterrado County with 13,350 out of 15,000 beneficiaries receiving full payments, while the rest are to follow.

She explains that the Social Cash Transfer Program is in alignment with Pillar One of the government’s Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development which anchors on providing greater income security to an additional one million Liberians, and reduce absolute poverty by 23 percent across five out of six regions through sustained and inclusive economic growth driven by scaled-up investments in agriculture, infrastructure, human resource development, and social protection.

According to the Gender Minister, the Program aims to protect children and empower women as it provides subsistence to households, thereby strengthening their ability to provide for the basics and respond better to shocks. 

“The Program is providing income support to approximately 10,000 extremely poor and food insecure households in Liberia through regular cash transfers and Accompanying Measures. These transfers are being implemented in Maryland and Grand Kru with Bomi and River Gee counties in the pipeline. These counties were selected because they had the highest rates of poverty and food insecurity in Liberia”, she adds.

At the same time the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has reunited 22 children with their families. 

Minister Saydee-Tarr narrates the children were trafficked from Gbarpolu County and later rescued in Margibi County by the Liberia Immigration Service on January 29, 2021, and subsequently turned over to the Ministry.

She says the Ministry will routinely monitor the children’s welfare and remain engaged with court proceedings as the alleged trafficker identified as Anthony B. Sumo is being prosecuted.

“We are reaffirming our commitment in achieving PILLAR 1 of the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, (Power to the People) 2. 4.2, which highlights Children protection as a key priority of the Government of Liberia.”

Commenting on the 2021 Generation Equality Forum that was recently held in Paris, France, where she accompanied President George Manneh Weah along with other officials, she notes that the Forum nourished a powerful and lasting coalition for gender equality by presenting a vital moment for activists, feminists, youth and allies to achieve transformative change for generations to come.

“It brought together governments, corporations and change makers from around the world. The stakeholders embarked on a 5-year journey to accelerate equality, leadership and opportunity for women and girls worldwide.”

Minister Saydee-Tarr recounts that during the three-day long Forum, she met with UNESCO Assistant Director for Education, Stefania Gianini, and stressed the need

to keep girls in school, especially, those residing in rural areas.

“I reminded the Assistant Director for Education that the coronavirus  pandemic has affected many young girls already, but noted that a change of direction to ensuring that girls and women are brought back to the classroom or ensure some form of digital learning that keep them busy and aware of their surroundings.”

The Gender boss details that during the meeting, she also emphasized the urgent need of a program that pushes capacity development of teachers in the sciences,  development of a WASH Program in schools and  a holistic education program to enhance education for girls and women.

Saydee-Tarr: “Madam Gianini assured the delegation that Girls Education, as in getting girls back to school in post COVID-19 situation, remains paramount to UNESCO and Liberia stands to benefit significantly through the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Education.

We were informed that UNESCO has programs to place young girls back in school due to lapses in their academic sojourn as a result of school closures, social and emotional effect, early marriages and pregnancy that have accompanied the COVID-19 Pandemic and affected many students around the world and Liberia is poised to benefit.”

She says during the Forum, Liberia reaffirmed pledge to join the Action Coalition’s commitment makers to promote economic rights and justice and that government has already launched a 2 million united states dollars rural women loan scheme to support vulnerable market women yearly.

Additionally, we have provided along with USAID a Stimulus package to support women businesses at a combined total of $13 Million US Dollars. We also committed and have starting rolling out Gender and Social Inclusion Units in government offices, and they are instituting Gender Policies”, she adds. 

She discloses that currently, government has established four GSIUs, which include Gender Ministry, Liberia Electricity Corporation, Ministries of Mines and Energy, and Public Works, respectively. 

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