As three women led organizations formed a coalition to foster equality in girls' education in Liberia, the Assistant Minister for basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education has called for inclusion of boys in the project.
Launching the 'Educate Her-Liberia Project' over the weekend at HOPE Office in Congo Town, Felecia Sackey Doe-Sumah said recent survey shows more girls are in school than boys as such there is a need for the three organization to gather data in that direction.
According to Madam Doe-Sumah, the data shows huge gap between the number of girls attending schools than boys, noting that more boys are dropping out of school, thus emphasizing the need for the project to include boys.
"If you go around the country, our boys are dropping out of school by the hundreds. Boys are not going to school as before while girls are now going to school. The boys are riding bikes and forgetting about school."
Sumah furthered; "and if you happen to go to Cape Mount, the boys are leaving schools to go fishing; they are leaving school for mineral mining and I'm very show the team can pick up some of the data as they move around."
"Over the years, we have advocated for girls to go to school and be retained until they complete school. While we are solving one problem another is opening, so let keep our minds open and include the boys as well," she recommend."
The educate her coalition is led by HOPE, CAREFOUND-Liberia and the Paramount Young Women Initiative with strong focus on women's rights transformative leadership and gender equity and equality in education.
The objective of the three years program is to contribute to the effective implementation of the national policy on girls' education in all 15 counties in Liberia by 2023.
At the end of the project, the education sector budget will be increased to promote gender equity in education in Liberia and that education stakeholders' capacity and coordination will be enhanced for the effective implementation and monitoring of the National Policy on Girls Education (NPGE).
Remarking at the event, Alton Kesselly, Deputy Minister for Planning, Research and Development at the Ministry of Education said the 'educate her project' brings to four the total number of projects funded by the global partnership for education in Liberia.
According to him, the project is largely intended contribute to the NPGE in the country thus lauding GPE for the level of support to the Liberian education sector.
Kesselly noted that the project is so unique and has serious linkage with lot of the activities currently carrying out at the ministry of education.
"We are developing the national girls education strategy so since the program is intended to encourage the enforcement or implementation of the policy we already are working on, it makes this project very easy to implement because we have a clear role map."
It is another exciting moment for the worked that all of us do to support the ministry of education in achieving our girls education in Liberia, facia Harris, Executive Direction of Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI) said.
According to her, the project takes partnership very important in the achievement of its objective noting "we realized that based on the different experience and research, partnership is very important if we want to achieve equality in the education sector and promoting girls education in Liberia.
She holds that full implementation of the national education policy cannot be achieve if they do not partnership.
"This is not just about girls going to school, or having access, but more to that it is about ensuring that these girls feel safe when they go to school; that they are able to make career choices that will promote their own livelihood and contribute to national development," she added.
Similarly, Madam Aisha Cooper Bruce, Executive Director of HOPE says the project is a three years initiative that will end December 2023 but activities will continue beyond that point.
According to her, they as implementors going to ensure that the policy is felt in all 15 counties as mean of achieving their goal.
She further disclosed plans to carryout budget advocacy as a mean of increasing financial contribution in the implementation of the national policy on education.
Presenting on gender equity and equality in education, Care-Found-Liberia Executive Director said women are half of Liberia's population and have a role to play in creating a more prosperous country however, women and children, especially girls are the most vulnerable population in the country.
Cllr. Evelyn Barry noted that women and girls are still excluded from participating in decision-making as such, the voices of women and girls are not considered when decisions are made on the issues that impact their lives.
She mentioned that each year of secondary education reduced the chances of child marriage which generally leads to better outcomes for both mother and kids with safer pregnancies and healthier newborns.