Gender Minister Attracts Support For Street Children

Jamesetta D. Williams

Liberia’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr has disclosed that her Ministry has attracted a commitment from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) towards addressing the alarming situation of street children.

In the a discussion with UNESCO, Assistant Director General for Social Sciences, Mrs. Gabriella Ramos, held on Tuesday, in Paris, France, Minister Saydee-Tarr made Liberia’s case by highlighting the successes and challenges of the Liberian Government in addressing key thematic issues ranging from the elimination of FGM, street children, SGBV and transitioning from cash in transit to digital delivery benefits under key social protection programs in Liberia.

Mrs. Gabriella Ramos recognizes the pivotal role of the traditional leaders in helping to ban FGM in Liberia. The Gender boss also briefed the UNESCO ADG on the alarming Child Labor situation in Liberia, early girl marriage stressing the urgent need to tackle those issues.

ADG Ramos was thrilled after listening to the deliberation of Minister Saydee-Tarr and thereafter, she insisted that the success story of Liberia be documented on UNESCO’s website to show how the use of culture works as a medium to eradicate FGM. She recommended that the Minister presents her candidature to the 42th Session of the General Conference Subsidiary Organs (Management Of Social Transformation Programmes) in November 2023.

In that direction, UNESCO ADG Ramos reassured the Gender Minister that she would look into the project Criança Esperança, a success story that has associated itself with TV Globo’s, one of the largest communication companies to get children out of the streets.

The Criança Esperança Programme, a Globo TV initiative in partnership with UNESCO, is a social mobilization project aimed at transforming the future of vulnerable children and young people. Criança Esperança is able to draw people’s attention to early childhood development and raises awareness on the rights of children and adolescents.

Mrs. Ramos extended an invitation to the Minister of Gender to attend the upcoming meeting in SAO PAOLO in Brazil on Transforming Mentalities. She insisted on the recognition of UNESCO to eliminate all kinds of violence against women and girls must be a priority on the agenda of the Governments and Private Sectors, undertake research and collect data to better understand effective ways of ending violence against women and girls.

She also stressed that she wants to empower women and girls as there is a lack of representation. ADG Ramos emphasized on how it is crucial to have a gender-based approach to eliminate exclusion and discrimination against women.

UNESCO has main priorities for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the improvement of the human condition.

In another discussion, the Deputy Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Ms. Marilyn Zoe Gaye, suggested to Minister Saydee-Tarr that Liberia organizes a side event on FGM during the 42th Session of the General Conference in November 2023.

For her part, Director Justine Sass, Chief Section of Education for Inclusion and Gender Equality narrated how Gender Equality is a global priority at UNESCO. She further elaborated on UNESCO’s Strategy for Gender Equality amongst others.

In response, Minister Saydee-Tarr expressed appreciation to ADG Ramos and team for all the support that UNESCO is giving to Liberia. The Gender boss also lauded the Director for the concrete report and further elaborated on the projects that the Ministry is doing in Liberia including gender directed cash transfers and working with her colleagues from the Ministries of Education, Health and Youth and Sports, on the issues of girls’ retention in school, fighting SEA, access to TVET and to see gender effective policies put in place.

Mrs. Saydee-Tarr further appreciated UNESCO for its own targeted support to Liberia’s TVET program stressing that their support has helped innovate and improve the program. MinisterTarr also spoke on the role of the ministry in mentoring female trainers, ensuring that girls can freely discuss and own menstrual hygiene,  working with the traditional leaders to end FGM, actions taken with the political will of the President against Gender Based Violence to include His Excellency’s  declaration, making ‘Rape’ a National Emergency and the setting up of an Anti SGBV Taskforce with accompanying logistics to fight the scourge of SGBV in Liberia.

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