The Liberia National Red Cross Society or LNRCS and the Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) have signed a Tripartite Cooperation with the Swedish Red Cross Youth (SRCY) to integrate the Girl Unit (GU) concept of the Swedish Red Cross into the Youth Program of both national societies.
The Tripartite Cooperation would contribute to the development of the girl groups in all three countries by sharing experiences, knowledge and challenges and jointly work towards solving challenges and incorporate shared experiences and knowledge in the project in all three countries.
The three national societies in a letter of intent pledged to promote empowerment of girls and fight gender discrimination by creating safe space where girls will be able to interact and discuss the problems they face without interference. They will also support one another in learning and sharing about the good practices pertaining to girl groups’ implementation.
They pledged to support each other in working against gender inequalities by empowering young girls to enable them to stand up for themselves and strengthen their self esteem and self confidence amidst boys, and assist participating national societies in promoting safe and conducive environments for all girl group members in order for them to realize their dreams of becoming productive future leaders.
The three national societies also pledged to promote awareness of the plight and strength of girls if given enough support and support capacity building efforts and training for girls in order to equip them with life coping skills. They will also collaborate with each other in reviewing the resource materials, the implementation and impact of the girl unit program.
In late 2007, the concept was introduced to the national societies in Southern Africa and in 2008 the Malawi Red Cross expressed interest in starting a similar project as in Liberia.
Already 14 Girl Unit leaders have been trained and the units established in seven schools in Montserrado and Bomi Counties directly reached a total of 105 girls during the first phase. The project has so far been extended to Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount Counties.
Currently there are 24 Girl Units established in the four chapters of the LNRCS in which the project is being implemented.
Speaking Friday during the signing ceremony in Monrovia, Miss Jenny Saren, Desk Officer for Southern and Western Africa of the Swedish Red Cross hoped that the three National Societies would develop the cooperation and work together to enhance the project.
LNRCS’ Secretary General Daniel Clarke said the cooperation is a manifestation of Strategy 2010 of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRC) which provides the platform for cooperation amongst National Societies. He said the collaboration was significant, saying, “When we cooperate in these initiatives it has a multi-value effect which transcends racial and other divides.”
Mr. Charles Makhuyula-Nkhoma, Branch and Youth Development Manager of the Malawi Red Cross also thanked the LNRCS and the SRC for the collaboration saying he hoped the cooperation between the GU projects of the three national societies can be developed.