Liberian Leader Dedicates “Women Behind Wheels” Program; Congratulates First Beneficiaries

(MICAT) – The Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has praised beneficiaries of the “Women Behind Wheels” Project being undertaken by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for their exemplary entrepreneur deportment. The program is an offspring of the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (EPAG) Program and is being implemented by the Community Empowerment Program with support from both national and international partners.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader spoke Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at a dedicatory and certification ceremony marking the start of the “Women Behind Wheels” Program. Ten (10) females were certificated for completing heavy and light duty vehicles training as the first batch of beneficiaries.

She congratulated each of the beneficiaries for making the personal decision of pursuing skills that will change their lives and called for concerted efforts in pushing for an increase in women’s involvement and empowerment at different levels of society.

President Sirleaf pointed out that women’s participation in transportation industry creates opportunities that give confidence about how their work can have a great impact on communities. She said government’s commitment is to work with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the beneficiaries to use the knowledge acquired for the development of the country. She assured them that institutions of government will patronize them as a way of making them self-sufficient, productive and independent.

She encouraged the media to give attention to programing that will promote women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship and strengthen women’s participation in the commercial and private sectors. She pointed out that such effort will help create jobs and advance women’s economic right.

Also speaking, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Julia Duncan Cassell described the project as a dream come true and praised President Sirleaf for her support. “This is an initiative strongly supported by the President of Liberia. It seeks to develop and implement measurable strategies that will advance more opportunities for women throughout the country and enhance the proficiency, growth and sustainability for adolescent girls and young women”, she pointed out.

Minister Duncan Cassell also indicated that since the launch of EPAG Project in March of 2010, the project concluded its third round of implementation in 2014, training nearly 3,500 adolescent girls and young women in business and life skills. She narrated that the trainings were followed by five months of Micro Enterprise Advisory Services, job placement support and monitoring in three Counties, including Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa aimed at increasing young women’s empowerment and income generation.

UNICEF-Liberia Country Representative Sheldon Yett, LBDI’s Vice President Gloria Menjor, and Transport Minister Angela Bush Cassell lauded the efforts of EPAG, CEP as well as President Sirleaf for creating the space for women’s empowerment and the promotion of women’s issues.

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