By: Sylvester Choloplay
Liberia: A local non-governmental organization, Team-Liberia, has completed a one-day interactive dialogue on the awareness of personal hygiene and Sexual Gender Base Violence (SGBV) against women and girls with dozens of students in Monrovia.
The one-day workshop was meant to educate and mentor students (mainly females) on issues that often bring setbacks in accomplishing their life-time goals and dreams.
Speaking at the program, Team-Liberia Executive Director – Madam Rita D. Kollie disclosed that the goal of Team-Liberia is to provide excellent interventions for all marginalized and underprivileged in a society where everyone is empowered, and live a fulfilled and sustainable life regardless of who they are.
“We at the Team-Liberia are here to train, educate and mentor women and girls on social issues affecting them. Our mission is to promote a sustainable, democratic life through empowerment, training, advocacy, and equitable participation in the Liberian Society”, Madam Kollie asserted.
She then revealed that the one-day dialogue was held in commemoration of the “International Day of the Girl Child’ with students as the first project of Team-Liberia.
International Day of the Girl Child is declared by the United Nations and celebrated on October 11 annually; it focuses on the need to address the challenges girls face while promoting girls’ empowerment.
Speaking further during the one-day interactive workshop, Madam Kollie admonished students to practice good personal hygiene by properly managing themselves and their environment to avoid coming in contact with diseases and sicknesses.
She urged students, mainly girls, to take good care of themselves rightfully in order to do away with factors that may have the tendency to endanger their careers and dreams.
The Team Liberia’s Executive Director also advised the students to be determined and have the spirit of self-esteem while at the same time setting goals that will elevate their lives.
The one-day meeting, which brought together school administrators, students, and women advocates, among others, was held at the Marvii Sonii Elementary and Junior High School in Clara Town in District 14, Montserrado County over the weekend.
In Liberia, women and girls often face multiple obstacles such as access to justice, rape, domestic violence, and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence including female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, teenage pregnancy, among others.
But addressing dozens of students dominated by females at the Marvii Sonii School, the Programs Director at Team-Liberia, Madam Elizabeth Addy encouraged the students to serve as ambassadors of positive change and fight against threats against the progress of women and girls in Liberia.
She also admonished the students to desist from habits that would delay them in achieving their careers and dreams.
Madam Addy named early sex, early marriage, and peer pressure as some factors that distract female students from completing their education and subsequently abused by their male counterparts through rape, lack of support, and unwanted pregnancies.
She encouraged students, mainly females to endeavor to achieving their life-time goals while making significant positive impacts in the communities and their country at large.
Meanwhile, several students who attended the one-day symposium were astonished and overwhelmed by the messages and education from Team-Liberia.
“What I really learned today I have never heard them before and I want say many thanks to the team from Team-Liberia for the great educative awareness today”, a participant noted.
“Team-Liberia has made me to understand the importance of girls in our society and I learned something about rape. Rape has to do with some forceful penetration of the body and men too can be raped by forcing them through their anus as well. So, we were advised to have good friends and be careful at all times with friends, especially those who we follow and trust”, another participant intruded.
“For me, today I learned a lot about personal hygiene – we as humans need to take good care of our bodies. For example, bathing three times a day, and washing our hair constantly, all these things reduce our bad odors and help us to be healthy. Well, today, I learned that we have to clean our environment every time, we need to clean our homes, school to curtail the filthiness of the environment and to also avoid sicknesses and other diseases caused by mosquitoes, cockroaches, and dirty water. Also, we were told that we have to be determined and focused on our education, and forget about early sex, and those things that distract us, the female students. So, it was really nice and we wish that Team-Liberia continues this initiative” a few numbers of female students expressed their excitement at the workshop.