SOURCE: LENNART DODOO
The Speaker of the Liberian Children Representative Forum, Satta Sheriff, has called on government, the international community to pave avenue that will give young girls the opportunity to speak on the issues that affect them.
According to Satta, in Liberia, girls are on a daily basis being abused and marginalized from making decision on the issues that affect their lives.
She was speaking at the program making the observance of World Population Day. The program was held on Monday on the campus of the University of Liberia. This year’s World Population Day was held under the theme: “Investing in Girls’ Education”.
“Investing in girls should start from a level where girls will be given an opportunity to talk about the issues that affect them. It starts from a level where the programs that we implement – when it comes to the Agenda for Transformation, the Sustainable Development Goals and other policy documents that should help Liberia be on par with other developed countries around the world,” she said.
Satta also condemned forceful marriage and said it takes the collaborative efforts of all Liberians to abolish such an act. According to her, forceful marriage has been a major factor for girls dropping out of school in some parts of the country.
Also speaking, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Oluremi Sogunro, says issues regarding girls in Liberia need serious attention from policy makers and stakeholders to address teenage pregnancy.
Dr. Sogunro noted that Liberia is among eight countries around the world that have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, noting that this should not be taken for granted, and that appropriate action should be taken to prevent teenage pregnancy in Liberia.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Julia Duncan Cassel, has disclosed that the ministry is working along with partners to address issues confronting girls and boys in the society.
Minister Cassel noted that education is the foundation for girls’ development and that this must be given priority in the formulation of girls’ programs across the country.
She stressed that boys should also assist girls in school positively to enhance their academic potential which will tremendously contribute towards building a vibrant nation for all.
In remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Charles N’tow, said investing in teenage girls will require the commitment of the girls, families and communities to make use of available opportunities in the society.
Minister N’tow indicated that parents should be willing to take advantage of needed programs to educate teenage girls, rather than engaging them in early marriage which, he noted, is undermining the potential of girls in the country.