-As SOS-Liberia, Penn State University Unite
By T. Saye Goinleh
The SOS Children’s Village-Liberia in collaboration with students from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States has concluded a one-month “peace’’ summer school program that sought to empower adolescent girls to be future confident leaders in their communities.
The forum which was held at the organization’s main national offices in Matadi was held under the theme: “promoting education and cultivating leadership” brought together over thirty students from various high schools in Monrovia and its environs.
Making remarks at the official closing program when she served as guest speaking, a youngest female policy analyst at the Governance Commission and founder of Storm Cashia Venture and Consultancy, Janice C. Pratt encouraged the girls to go out to know their values and strength.
Madam Pratt informed the young females that if they want to succeed, they must be prepared to go out to grow, especially those whose parents are not Bill Gates (well-off); adding that winners never quit, therefore they should not be a quitters. “Life is a game and we all are players on the field.” she admonished the girls.
Addressing the participants, SOS Children’s Villages-Liberia national director, Augustine A. Allieu told the audience that some of the reasons why girls must be empowered is as the result of the United Nations and partners October 11, 2015 gathering which highlighted the importance of girls to achieving the global goals for sustainable development stressing that to realize these objectives, it is necessary to reach out to girls.
He maintained that indeed the summer program was very much in line with SOS global theory of change for youth development which has life skills development as a key component. Allieu also went on to say that the process is also in line with the SOS care promise framework, part of which is about child development. “When girls are educated, healthy and empowered, families are healthier’’, he declared.
Allieu indicated that equally important is the fact that summer programs which also include vacation and sporting activities like basketball and kickball contribute very well to the SOS Liberia Youth empowerment program as part of the events of SOS that provide life skills education and confidence-building to young people as a way to ensuring that they succeed in life.
Director Allieu concluded by saying he feels proud to partner with the students from the University of Pennsylvania through the promotion of education and cultivation empowerment project known as P.E.A.C.E. while at the same time expressing gratitude to the regional office of SOS (WCAF) and SOS USA for initiating the course.
In a brief remark, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Andy Kwamie urged the girls to be ambassadors of change. He at the same time called on the girls to share the knowledge learned and their skills acquired with their friends and the community.
At the same time, director of Adolescent Girls at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection Madam Hawa Dunor-Varney thanked SOS-Liberia and her partners for organizing the program. She admonished the students from Penn State University and other associates to always continue working with SOS Children’s Villages-Liberia to reach out to more children.
For their part, the Students from the University of Pennsylvania extolled the SOS Children’s Villages for the support to P.E.A.C.E to facilitate such as an important girls’ empowerment program and appealed to the organization through its head for more collaborations. The students said they are hopeful that the program will be impactful and the knowledge acquired will constructively benefit the participants.