Closing Ceremony of the 1st Phase of the Rural Women Adult Literacy Program

Closing Ceremony of the 1st Phase of the Rural Women Adult Literacy Program 

 

The Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security on Saturday May 7, 2016 ended the first phase of the rural women adult literacy project with a colourful ceremony at the Chief Suah Koko Center for Women’s Empowerment, situated on the campus of Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County. 

The ceremony was graced by several key personalities including Hon. Jewel Howard Taylor, Senior Senator of Bong County, who served at guest speaker, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, Establishment Coordinator of ABIC, Hon. Olubanke King Akerele, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of ABIC and Madam Hannah Karbo, Gender Analyst and head of the UNDP team.   Others were former Education Minister, Madam Etmonia Tarpeh, the Vice President of Internal Control at Cuttington University, Dr. Bamkaley Kamara and representatives from the office of the County Superintendent.

The program was marked by cultural performance, remarks by students, lectures, organizers and guest as well as demonstration of learning experiences by the students.  Student Deborah Gbongo Kollie, who graduated with high honour, presented a motivational statement during the occasion titled, “Never Too Late to Learn”.  She cautioned her colleagues not to be deterred by age and other factors but they should be focused and willing to learn.  She admonished her fellow graduates to keep studying so that they can learn how to read and write.

The guest speaker of the occasion, Hon. Jewel Howard Taylor, Senior Senator of Bong County urged the graduates to be ambassadors in their communities to encourage other women to join the adult literacy program.  Honourable Taylor pointed out the significance of more women joining the program and becoming educated because of the viability it brings to the community.  She noted, “If you learn something, you transform your mind, family, communities and the greater community”.

 

Extending her thanks and appreciation to UNDP-Liberia and ABIC for the initiative, Senator Taylor pledged twenty five thousand United States dollars (US$25,000.00)as her commitment to improve and expand the program so that many women have the opportunity to enrol with the hope that the program will be replicated in all fifteen counties of the Republic of Liberia.

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Dedication of Chief Suah Koko Center

Dedication of Chief Suah Koko Center:


On June 9, 2014, The Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security dedicated the Chief Suah Koko Center for Rural Women’s Empowerment as part of activities commemorating five years of existence. The Chief Suah Koko Center is constructed at the front entrance of the Cuttington University campus in Sua Koko, Gbarnga, Bong County in honor of Madam Suah Koko, a prominent and renowned Liberian female paramount chief in the eighteen hundreds. She is known historically as a legendary peacemaker and stateswoman, when women were rarely seen and even more rarely heard. Her diplomatic forays to get warring chiefs to join the Republic of Liberia and establish a strong nation is still unsurpassed.

Liberia PresidentThe completion of the physical structure of the Chief Suah Koko Center fulfills a promise by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the launch of the Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in Fendell during the International Women’s Colloquium on March 8, 2009. During that event, President Johnson Sirleaf praised women, whose contributions to Liberia remain of great historical significance, pinpointing Madame Suah Koko, as a national hero. President Johnson Siirleaf stated that whereas, Angie Brooks was Liberia’s icon, admired and respected within the international circle, Madame Suah Koko was an emblem of peace and was hailed nationally for her numerous contributions to the Republic of Liberia. President Johnson Sirleaf noted that based on these contributions a center, specifically for the empowerment and capacity building of rural women will be constructed in honor of Madame Suah Koko. The Angie Brooks International Centre then committed itself to secure funding for the construction of the Chief Suah Koko Center with the intent to create linkage between the two entities and to support the government of Liberia’s endeavor to empower women through the Ministry of Gender and Development.

The dedication for the newly constructed edifice was performed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the presence of senior government officials, traditional leaders, local authorities, national and international partners including the Executive Director of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Dr. Theodosia Sowa at a colourful ceremony.

Liberia PresidentPerforming the dedication at a jam-packed ceremony, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf challenged Liberian women to rise up to the challenge by empowering themselves now that the pace has been set for self-actualization. The first and only elected female president of Africa said the Center was a promise fulfilled on a commitment to improving their lives. President Sirleaf said the honoring of Madam Suah Koko was the rural women's version of the same honor bestowed on Madam Angie Brooks in whose name the Angie Brooks International Centre is established during the International Women Colloquium held in March 2009. Noting her happiness for the level of involvement of Liberian women in decision-making and leadership, the Liberian leader challenged rural women to seize the opportunity that the Center will offer, which include but not limited to training, research and advocacy for their common good.

Suah Koko CenterSpeaking earlier, the Establishment Coordinator of the Angie Brooks International Center, Cllr. Yvette Chessen-Wureh, paid tribute to President Sirleaf for leading the way for sustained women advocacy in Liberia as demonstrated by the creation of women advocacy centers and at the same time honoring the two great Liberian women. She informed the Liberian leader that her involvement in the establishment of the Centers have further motivated women to get involved in leadership roles, decision-making, advocacy, and physical work though most of them are either half lettered or completely illiterate. “Most of the work you see Madam President in the construction of this Center was done by females who are students of the LOIC Gbarnga Satellite,” Cllr. Chesson-Wureh remarked, calling to the stage the young girls, who had volunteered with LOIC Gbarnga Satellite in the construction of the new edifice. Cllr. Wureh than announced that the giant pot in which the honoree cooked her food to offer strangers would be on display at the Center.

For his part, the President of Cuttington University, Dr. Henrique Tokpa, renewed his institution's commitment to supporting the Center, women rights and empowerment as evidence by the donation of the land on which the Center is built. Dr. Tokpa joined President Sirleaf and other speakers in urging the rural women to make use of the facility in advancing themselves through training and empowerment. Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor also expressed excitement that a Center is now named in honor of someone she had honored before now.

The project started since 2010 with support from national and international partners including the Government of Canada and ECOBank Liberia. The Government of Liberia through the office of the President provided the remaining funding for the successful completion of the Chief Suah Koko Center for Rural Women’s Empowerment.

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Chief Suah Koko Center

Chief Suah Koko Center:


Chief Suah KokoThe idea of the establishment of a center that will focus primarily on the training and empowerment of the rural women was conceptualized by Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the launch of the Angie Brooks international Centre (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in Liberia.

On March 8, 2009, during the launching of the ANGIE BROOKS INTERNATIONAL CENTRE, an outcome of the International Women’s Colloquium, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, extolled women whose contributions to Liberia remain of huge historical significance.

President Johnson-Sirleaf pinpointed Madame Suah Koko, describing her as a national hero. President Johnson Sirleaf noted that, whereas, Angie Brooks was Liberia’s icon, admired and respected within the international circle, Madame Suah Koko was an emblem of peace and was hailed nationally for her numerous contributions to the Republic of Liberia. The President described Madame Suah Koko as a true inspiration to Angie Brooks and that in-turn Angie Brooks had inspired her today.

Chief Suah Koko was a female Chief who helped the Republic of Liberia in the expansion drive. She helped the central government of Liberia advance its territorial and political gains by consolidating the various chiefdoms to unite under the umbrella of the Republic of Liberia.

President Sirleaf said it will be based on these facts that a center, specifically for the training of rural women, will be constructed in honor of Madam Suah Koko at Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County. The center is expected to bring together women from all parts of Liberia for the purpose of training and empowerment.

The center is a purely nonprofit, non-governmental organization, established under the laws of Liberia for the purpose of training and facilitating of workshops on rural women’s empowerment, leadership development, and promotion of peace and security throughout Liberia.

The Angie Brooks International Centre has committed itself to securing funding to support the Chief Suah Koko Center, with the intent to create linkage between the two entities and support the national endeavors and programs of the Ministry of Gender and Development and Government of Liberia under whose jurisdiction the Chief Suah Koko Center falls.

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