Monrovia — Hundreds of young women between the ages of 10-35 years surprisingly stormed the Ministry of National Defense wanting to form part of the new recruits of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
The young women were seen queuing up along the walls of the Barclay Training Center along the UN Drive Road.
Early this month, the Armed Forces of Liberia disclosed a plan to recruit 350 Liberians into the army beginning with a pre-recruitment training of only female applicants.
"The Ministry of and AFL are considering and prioritizing the recruitment of persons with professional civil specializations in the areas of Medical Specialties, engineers of all categories, lawyers, maritime professionals, agriculturists, information technology, band, and mortician," Assistant Minister of Defense for Public Affairs, Sam K. Collins said.
Majority of the females FrontPageAfrica spoke with were high school graduates which is the minimum requirement and a couple of them have university degrees.
They spoke with FrontPageAfrica on why they decided to join the army but asked that their real names are not disclosed in this publication.
Watta Jones (not real name) said, "I see this as an employment opportunity. I have been sitting home for years and you know it is not easy in this country. So, when my friend told me about this, I decided to take advantage. I wanted to join the police but no way, so, I'm trying the army. Even if the training is hard, I'll bear it because I cannot be sitting home doing nothing."
Princess Mulbah (not real name) said, "It's better to be doing something than nothing at all. After all, Liberia is not going to war against anybody. So, one thing I know is that if I'm lucky to recruited I'm not going to war, so, it's just free money."
Twenty-year-old Mary Gayflor (not real name) said, "I graduated from high school last year. I don't have means of going to college for now. I'm responsible for myself. So, if an opportunity like this come, why will I not take advantage of it. I know they're looking for more women, so I will be recruited."
Another woman hopeful of being recruited told FPA that she has always wished to be part of the army. "I love the army. I will love to serve my country. I will love to see myself looking smart in the army uniform. I will be very happy if I'm recruited," she said.
For most of the women, the recruitment exercise is an employment opportunity, however, they do not have an idea of what the training to become a soldier entail.
"I don't know what training they will give us. I think because we are women, our training will not be hard. It is just for us to know the basics," one of them said.
Another said, "I've selling around. The walking I've been doing hasn't been easy. So, what training can't I take," another said with a chuckle.
"I don't think the AFL training is harder than the hardship we're going through in this country. For me, I've gotten to a point where I am willing to do anything. We also have people looking up to us. If this is the employment opportunity the government has for us, we have not choice," another recruit-hopeful said.
She further thanked the AFL for affording more females the opportunity to form part of the army.
In a Defense Ministry Statement issued on Monday, Asst Minister Collins stated that, "The preparatory training exercise is expected to build the capacity of females residing in Montserrado County. Females in other parts of Liberia will take a preparatory aptitude test ahead of the main recruitment process that is expected to be announced at a later date."
He pointed out that those participating in the preparatory exercise are not guaranteed a space during the time of the main recruitment process, but will be enlisted into the AFL based on merit during the main recruitment drive.
Collins described the large turnout of females as encouraging; adding "It shows that Liberian females, over the years, have developed passion to render service to their nation through active duty in the Armed Forces of Liberia".
He disclosed that in the coming days the Armed Forces of Liberia will conduct preparatory aptitude test in the leeward counties for females interested in joining the AFL.
The Preparatory training exercise runs from the November 22, 2021- December 13, 2021.