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Amb. Belgrove Recommits UK’s Help to Girls’ Education

David Belgrove, British Ambassador to Liberia, has recommitted his government’s commitment to improving girls’ education in the country. According to him, gender responsive education is of utmost importance and, therefore, it would give women and girls the space to compete with their male-counterparts, unhindered.

Making special remarks recently at the close of the Renewed Energy Serving Humanity (RESH-Liberia) project, Amb. Belgrove said gender-responsive education in Liberia is a top priority of the UK government. The ceremony marking the end of the project, entitled, “Girls Education: Advocacy and Research Capacity-building for Gender Responsive Education,” was held recently in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

“Improving girls’ education in Liberia, and the world over is the priority of the British government,” he said, reiterating his government’s support to the improvement of women and girls’ education in Liberia.

Funded by the UK Government, the project is an initiative of RESH, a local organization that supports women and girls with psychosocial counseling and other services across the country. RESH collaborates with the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth office in Liberia and the University of Liberia.

The training was geared towards exploring gender-responsive, child-friendly school environments, and the promotion and inclusion of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in advancing gender-responsive education at district and community levels.

“We will continue to support gender-responsive education in Liberia. This is a priority of our government,” the British Diplomat noted.

He lauded the various CSOs that helped RESH carry out the survey for their many sacrifices and contributions to improving gender-responsive education in the educational sector of the country.

RESH-Liberia's Founder and Executive Director, Ernest Garnark Smith,Jr. told the Daily Observer that the issue of psychosocial services cannot be overemphasized. Smith, who is out of the country soliciting funding for the organization, reiterated the urgent need for mental health and psychosocial support for the population. RESH-Liberia is primarily involved in psychosocial counseling;community sensitization and mobilization; advocacy; capacity building, and research.

“This should be given urgent attention by major stakeholders in the country,” Mr. Smith said in a phone conversation.

He pointed out that RESH’s research is an eye opener for the country that lacks quality data, which inform donor decisions on funding projects in the country.

Meanwhile, one of RESH’s many volunteers, Franklin K.Wesseh, described some of the situation female students are constrained to learn under.

“Conditions in many of our schools are so deplorable to the extent that the facilities within these schools are badly damaged, thus endangering the learning conditions of our children. Something must be done to help these kids,” Mr. Wesseh recommended.

He called on authorities at the Ministry of Education (MoE) to address some of the difficult prevailing issues facing school authorities in Montserrado County. In order for female students to compete with their male counterparts, he noted, there is a need for schools to have improved facilities, especially bathroom, as well as other needed materials.

According to Wesseh, the lack of improved school facilities, which include materials for primary and secondary facilities are hampering the growth and development of some of the potential students.

RESH Director of Project, Prisie J.Badu, said the survey “has enabled schools across the country to manage and improve their relations with the students and teachers, looking at the girl children as the focal persons,” Badu said.

She also highlighted the significance of gender inclusive education in Montserrado County, whose Education Officer, Samuel K. S. Bondo, described the project as a “laudable initiative.”

“We want to appreciate RESH and its partners for the project. This has been a great help to our DEOs and other stakeholders,” Mr. Bondo said.

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