The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: World Bank Gives Over U.S.$169,000 Grant for Adolescent Girls

In an effort to support the newly established Adolescent Girls Unit at the Ministry of Gender & Development, the World Bank has given a grant in the tone of US$169,280.00. According to Gender Minister, Julia Duncan-Cassell, the amount was given to support and build the institutional capacity of the newly established Adolescent Girls Unit at the Ministry of Gender. Minister Cassell disclosed that the grant is the first grant from the World Bank that is going to be independently, directly managed by the Ministry of Gender and Development and will cover two (2) years.

Minister Duncan-Cassell said the grant is also expected to cover activities which include the raising of awareness on issues pertaining to adolescent girls, identifying the gaps in terms of program focus, improving the Financial Management and Procurement capacity of the AGU and Ministry of Gender and Development, improving the capacity for coordination.

She said there are several organizations working with adolescents in Liberia and there is a need for coordination and establishment of a resource center which will serve as center where adolescent girls will be able to find information on employment and training programs.

"The resource center will also function as a referral service for existing support services which include referral to GBV support Services," she intimated. MadamCassell said it is well known that Adolescent Girls are amongst the vulnerable groups in society, adding that they are generally overlooked by many existing structures addressing youths or women issues.

Madam Cassell added that Adolescent Girls are amongst the vulnerable groups in society. She said they are generally overlooked by many existing, structures addressing youth or women issues.

She noted that evidence has shown that social and economic empowerment of girls can have a major impact on breaking the cycle of poverty noting, "Since the launching of the unit in March of last year, there has been tremendous effort in making impact on the lives of adolescents especially girls."

For her part, the World Bank Manager to Liberia, Ms. IngunaDobraja said the World Bank is providing a 2-year Institutional Development Fund (IDF) grant of $169,280 to support the development of a platform for government, civil society organizations and local communities to work better together on adolescent issues.

Madam Dobraja said theactivities will focus on coordination, advocacy, and monitoring activities. She noted that supporting a robust Adolescent Girls Unit (AGU) of the ministry will lead to greater awareness of adolescent girls issues, identification of gaps in terms of program focus and optimization of national programs and policies so that the work better for girls in Liberia.

"This grant marks the first time where the Ministry of Gender and Development will be responsible for both the financial management and procurement activities," Madam Dograja asserted.

She named some innovative activities that will be supported by the IDF as setting up of an adolescent girls resource center at the Ministry of Gender and Development where adolescent girls can find resources on training and employment opportunities; development of a database of adolescent girls programs in Liberia and a best practices toolkit; development of a communication campaign to raise awareness of adolescent girls issues in Liberia; and creation of a Girls Advisory Panel composed of adolescent girls from all over Liberia who will be tasked with providing feedback on the activities and objectives of the Adolescent Girls Unit.

Madam Dograja added that the IDF is part of a fruitful partnership between the Bank and the MoGD which also includes the successful implementation- of the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women Project (EPAG).

"At the end of the 3-year implementation and two rounds of training, both the monitoring and impact- evaluation results clearly demonstrate that the EPAG project has been very successful," she concluded.

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