This article originally appeared in the Daily Observer.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has revealed as a top priority of her administration, the empowerment of Liberian woman through skills training initiatives as a key poverty reduction strategy. She said lifting women from poverty through capacity development programs will help groom them into becoming leaders and entrepreneurs. That way, she continued, the women will be able to create opportunities not only for themselves but for others. According to the Liberian leader, a prime concern of her government is to make serious reduction in poverty, if not end, poverty – not simply by increasing a woman’s bottom line from a dollar, to two dollars a day.
An Executive Mansion dispatch from New York said the President made the remarks when she delivered the keynote address at the Goldman Sachs Foundation Cocktail and Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on last Sunday. In her address, the President asserted that although Liberia’s growth depends on the private sector, the country needs small and medium-sized businesses that will provide the linkages to the large investors.
“One of our efforts is to empower women and girls, many of whom have been neglected; many of whose talents had gone unnoticed,” the Liberian leader told the more than 150 invited guests.
“We will continue to work with women and with girls, as 70 percent of our population is 35 years and under, with half of them female,” President Sirleaf indicated. She added that it is critical, for a bright future for our country, to invest in education and the training of our youth. “It’s to our country’s benefit when our women are educated and can contribute as equal partners in government and the private sector.”
She praised the Goldman Sachs Foundation for considering Liberia as one of the beneficiaries of an exemplary program, which seeks to empower 10,000 under-served women worldwide by providing them with business management education.
“By this intervention,” President Sirleaf said, “underprivileged women’s lives are changed, their roles no longer limited to being mothers, but extended to functioning as entrepreneurs and recognized contributors to the nation’s economy.”
President Sirleaf also expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to CHF International that’s implementing the 10,000 Women Certificate Program in Liberia, in partnership with the Cuttington University College and the Liberia Business Association. “Initiatives such as these are critical to Liberia’s stability and prosperity,” she noted, adding, that “Our country is blessed with natural resources, but we know that it is our people, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or religion, who are our most precious assets.”
‘10,000 Women’ conducts a comprehensive training program for women, offering business advice and helping them gain access to capital for growth-oriented small business. By the time the program ends in the next two years, 265 Liberian women would have benefited directly, but with a multiplying effects to families and communities.