The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Angie Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment (ABIC) has turned over 10 of 11 motorbikes to the female motorcyclists’ association, the All Girls “Pink Panthers Motorcyclists” of Montserrado County.
During the turning over ceremony recently, at the UNDP compound in Monrovia, UNDP Deputy Country Director for Programmes, Cleophas Torori said that the donation is intended to empower the beneficiaries to help themselves.
He said the 11 motorbikes form part of a US$40,000 dollar package for ABIC, which includes training and other logistical support from UNDP to the post Ebola recovery of Liberia. “The motorbikes we are donating are to improve and build up the career of female motorcyclists to let them earn their living,” Mr. Torori explained.
He encouraged other women and girls in the country to focus on their future by finding something very important to do. The Executive Director of the Angie Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment, Cllr. Yvette Chesson Wureh, described the Initiative from UNDP as a dream that has come true for the female motorcyclists.
She said they are not only receiving the motorcycles but will be trained to use the bikes to do business, because an arrangement has been made with the Liberian National Police (LNP) to protect them while carrying on their daily transport business.
“Our main focus at ABIC is to empower women by supporting them and fostering the next generation of Liberian youth through our Inter-generational Legacy Initiative,” Cllr. Chesson said. One of the bike recipients, Nathaline Saah explained that as a high school graduate, with no real job opportunity, she decided to enter an arrangement with a community member to help operate a motorbike to earn an income.
“I started riding bikes from New Georgia to the main junction over the past eleven months, and reporting 1,500 Liberian dollars, equivalent to a little over US$20.00 weekly” Nathaline said. Ms. Saah narrated that as a female motorcyclist, she faces many challenges in traffic while performing her duties.
“Many days the male passengers don’t pay our money whenever we take them to their destinations, while our male counterparts treat us like we are all men”. Nathaline however mentioned that despite these challenges, she’s proud to be among recipients of this gesture from UNDP through ABIC.
She used the occasion to encourage other females to make use of the opportunities around them by finding useful ventures that will help empower them.
By Ethel A. Tweh