Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon Kamara has encouraged adolescent girls to make use of opportunities, adding that issues of women and girls empowerment is close to her heart.

She spoke at the launch of a project aimed at benefitting 2,000 adolescent girls and young women under the name “The Girls Ebola Recovery Livelihood Support Project”.

Accordingly, the project target a thousand girls in Montserrado, 500 in Grand Bassa, and 500 in Margibi Counties.

The Girls Ebola Recovery Livelihood Support Project is expected to provide life and business skills and training as well as cash grants to support the re-generation or expansion of businesses of targeted adolescent girls and young women.

The training which will end September this year is a free-of-charge for girls and a certificate of participation would be awarded upon completion of training.

Minister Kamara who served as guest speaker at the launch of the project thanked the World Bank and other partners for their invaluable technical and financial support to the project.

She said the project will provide income support to adolescent girls whose livelihoods were destroyed by the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014.

“Even before the Ebola crisis, the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in Liberia in 2013 showed the precarious situation of Liberian children. 56% of them fewer than 18 years were not living with both parents.”

“The unemployment rate among young women aged 15-24 in Liberia is twice that of young men in the same age group.”

“This gap can be attributed, in large measure, to differences in opportunities especially in the areas of education and skills training.”

“Additionally, young women assume family obligations quite early because one in every three Liberian adolescent girl has had a child”, Minister Kamara.

“Eliminating the culture of dependency by investing in adolescents through livelihood support and vocational and life skills training is vital for nation-building. Enhancing the productive capacities of girls and young women has multiple impacts; it boosts their self-esteem, the prospects of gainful employment, and the courage to resist injustices and assert their equality with male counterparts.”

She cautioned the girls and young women who had been selected from the three counties to be the pioneers and beneficiaries of the project.

“I want to advise you to utilize the opportunities being afforded to you under this project.”

“Through this assistance, you assume some accountability and responsibility for success. You must do your part to prove worthy of the confidence demonstrated in you.”

For her part, the Gender Minster appreciated the partners, adding that the Ministry will ensure that the project is effectively implemented.

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