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The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) has launched the fourth round of its Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) Project this time with the inclusion of boys.

The ceremony which took place on Saturday, April 30, 2016 in kakata, Margibi County also had past beneficiaries from the first, second and third rounds of the EPAG Project narrating their stories and explaining how they have benefited from the scheme significantly.

Launching the scheme, Gender Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell announced the inclusion of adolescent boys for the first time in the EPAG Program, stressing that the ministry will expand the initiative to other parts of Liberia 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 sectors. Evidence has shown that social and economic empowerment of

irls can yield major dividends in national development,” she reiterated.

Recognizing the role of the World Bank in administering the EPAG project in partnership with the Government of Liberia, Mrs. Cassell said the ministry has further refined the EPAG project model based on lessons learnt.

She also described the project as one with a goal, seeking to maximize employment outcomes at the same time preparing for further scale up and expansion of its scope. She further indicated that the project has made strides in reaching girls at an earlier age; helping them to stay in school, providing them with health education and access to services, protecting them from gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and providing them with skills and livelihoods training.

Minister Duncan-Cassell furthered that the EPAG Project succeeded in empowering girls to make good decisions for their growth and development. “I urge you to use the training you receive to become productive members of society. Strive to have a positive impact in your families and in your communities. Make the most of this opportunity. Serve yourselves and your country well,” the minister added.

She also motivated beneficiaries of the nine months training program which will include four months of classroom training to be followed by five months of placement and support with a practical demonstration. “Let’s all take inspiration from today’s activities and use this energy to move Liberia forward.”EPAG, a Swedish Government funded project through the World Bank, have had three successive rounds of training with all girls. During rounds one and two, the project reached out to 2,491 girls, while round three witnessed the training of additional 1000 girls across the country.

 

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