Press Briefing Delivered By Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr At The Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism July 15, 2021
Press Briefing Delivered By Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr At The Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism
July 15, 2021
On June 28, 2021, I and few of my colleagues accompanied the Feminist-In-Chief His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia to Paris, France to participate in the 2021 Generation Equality Forum.
The Forum nourished a powerful and lasting coalition for gender equality by presenting a vital moment for activists, feminists, youth and allies to achieve transformative change for generations to come. It brought together governments, corporations and change makers from around the world. The stakeholders embarked on a 5-year journey to accelerate equality, leadership and opportunity for women and girls worldwide.
During the three-day long Forum, amongst other engagements - I had a meeting with UNESCO Assistant Director for Education, Stefania Gianini.
I extolled UNESCO for the many collaborations that it already has with Liberia and stressed that all needs to be done to keep girls in school, with emphasis on rural areas.
I reminded the Assistant Director for Education that the coronavirus pandemic has affected many young girls already, but noted that a change of direction to ensuring that girls and women are brought back to the classroom or ensure some form of digital learning that keep them busy and aware of their surroundings.
I emphasized the urgent need of a program that pushes capacity development of teachers in the sciences, the development of a WASH Program in schools and the development of a holistic education program will be needed to enhance education for girls and women.
Madam Gianini assured the delegation that Girls Education, as in getting girls back to school in post COVID-19 situation, remains paramount to UNESCO and Liberia stands to benefit significant through the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection and Education.
We were informed that UNESCO has programs to place young girls back in school due to lapses in their academic sojourn as a result of school closures, social and emotional effect, early marriages and pregnancy that have accompanied the COVID-19 Pandemic and affected many students around the world and Liberia is poised to benefit.
During the Forum, Liberia reaffirmed her pledge to join the Action Coalition’s commitment makers to promote Economic Rights and Justice.
The country committed and have already launched a 2 million united states dollars rural women loan scheme to support vulnerable market women on a yearly basis.
Additionally, we have provided along with USAID a Stimulus package to support women businesses at a combined total of $13 Million US Dollars.
We also committed and have starting rolling out Gender and Social Inclusion Units in government offices, and they are instituting Gender Policies.
Currently we have established four GSIUs, which include Gender Ministry, Liberia Electricity Corporation, Mines and Energy, and Public Works.
We have had validation at the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Commerce and Labor. The Agriculture policy validation is pending.
We have engaged additional four MACs which include, Education, Health National Investment Commission, and Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.
There are ongoing assessments at these MACs and responses from the establishment from the GSIU are all positive.
The Ministry is developing its own strategic plan in line with the PAPD. It is expected to be launched in few weeks.
We are working on developing a Gender Equality profile, and this will bring about closing the gaps for the development of women in Liberia. This initiative is in partnership with UN Women, with implementation by DATA POP International.
Within the context of Women, Peace and Security and UNSCR 1325, our security sector have recruited more women in leadership positions, and our child justice system accounts for 35.3% women.
On the Status of the Government of Liberia & Partners Anti-SGBV Roadmap 2020-2022
The Anti-SGBV National Conference was held last September, which led to the validation of the Roadmap and subsequent endorsement by His Excellency, the President and the Cabinet;
Issuance of a Proclamation by His Excellency, the President, declaring rape a national emergency with initial measures that included the appointment of a Special Prosecutor for rape; the setting up of a National Sex Offender Registry; the establishment of a National Security Taskforce on SGBV, and the allotment of an initial amount of US$2 Million to beef up the fight against rape and SGBV in the country.
Procurement of a DNA machine by the Government- first time ever. In addition to the procurement of the DNA machine, the Government has disbursed US$300,000.00 to the Ministry for additional implementation of the Roadmap;
Engagement began with the Law Reform Commission for the revision of SGBV-related laws;
Relaunch of the HeForShe campaign.
Continuous engagement with traditional leaders, as well as monitoring visits, relating to ending HTPs, including FGM;
Continuous awareness raising in communities nationwide by all actors, including the Ministry;
Capacity building and Livelihood programs conducted for 180 at-risk adolescent girls in 5 counties, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado Counties. Startup kits was provided for all beneficiaries.
With support from the ITSGBV members, and other stakeholders including international and national actors (CSOs inclusive), the Ministry is proactively promoting effective leadership to include planning, implementation and monitoring of all interventions across all levels.
Now to Trafficked Children.
On July 3, 2021 with permit from the Ministry of Justice we reunited 22 children with their families.
The children were trafficked from Gbarpolu County and later rescued in Margibi County by the Liberia Immigration Service on January 29, 2021 and turned over to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The Ministry will routinely monitor the children's welfare and will remain engaged with the court proceedings as the alleged trafficker identified as Anthony B. Sumo is being prosecuted.
We are reaffirming our commitment in achieving PILLAR 1 of the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, (Power to the People) 2. 4.2, which highlights Children protection as a key priority of the Government of Liberia.
Update on Social Protection and the Social Cash Transfer Program
Social Cash Transfer Program is aimed to protect children and empower women as it provides subsistence to the entire household, thereby strengthening the ability of the household to provide for the basics and respond better to shocks.
The Program is providing income support to approximately 10,000 extremely poor and food insecure households in Liberia through regular cash transfers and Accompanying Measures. These transfers are being implemented in Maryland and Grand Kru with Bomi and River Gee counties in the pipeline. These counties were selected because they had the highest rates of poverty and food insecurity in Liberia.
Summary of Southeast Cash Transfers Over 1.2 million United States Dollars dollars has been transferred over four cycles to approximately 3,500 beneficiaries in Grand Kru and Maryland
The next two cycles payment is scheduled for August 2021.
Summary of Social Cash Transfer COVID-19
As of July 1, 2021 approximately 1.2 million United States Dollars has been transferred to households in Monsterrado County
13,350 completed out of 15,000 (receiving all payments)
942 expecting payment 1 (July 8th)
797 expecting payment 2 (July 8th)
The Social Cash Transfer Program is in alignment with Pillar One of the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development which anchors on providing greater income security to an additional one million Liberians, and reduce absolute poverty by 23 percent across 5 out of 6 regions--through sustained and inclusive economic growth driven by scaled-up investments in agriculture, in infrastructure, in human resource development, and in SOCIAL PROTECTION.