The Inclusive Vocational Empowerment Program Launch according to the organization’s founder and Executive Director, Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh, is part of the organization’s expansion to increase girl and women access to opportunities in order to bring about economic reliance and financial independence to fight off their vulnerability. The launching program took place on November 7, 2020 in Duazon, Lower Margibi County. Giving the overview of the program, Just a Girl’s founder- Madam Seagbeh informed the audience that the need to expand the vocational program being offered at the organization became increasingly necessary by the willingness and desires of most girls and women wanting to acquire skills to empower themselves and to help boy and men get gainful skills rather than spending their times at betting centers, watching football games or at attire centers, but to become empowered.
“One mistake we as organization, CSOS and NGOs have done and continue to do is by empowerment the girl and women and leaving out the men which is creating what I call ‘social economic empowerment gap’, therefore when we empower girls and women alongside men and boys it brings about better and empowered communities and families and it builds up a stronger entrepreneurship sector. Additionally many of our young boys some of whom are high school and college graduates but all they have to spend their times betting centers or attire centers and they have no skills.”
“The perception many persons hold about vocational skills, is when they fell that life has failed them and things are not working, that’s when they turn to vocational skills programs, whereas in Ghana and other African sisterly countries young people are becoming entrepreneurs and owners of business (es) and getting themselves out of poverty just by making maximum use of vocational opportunities such as these,” she said. She then encouraged the new beneficiaries to make proper use of the opportunity Just a Girl has provided through the support and partnership the P. Lawrence G. Cooper Foundation has provided them. The new beneficiaries will be trained in tailoring, catering, pastry, decoration, soap and bleach (chloride) making.
The partnership between Just a Girl Initiatives and the Foundation, the Lawrence G. Cooper foundation provided the beneficiaries department uniforms, will provide the materials needed for the beneficiaries practical work and provide compensation for the skills training facilitator (teachers) and staff which had been a challenge for Just a Girl over the period due to the lack of funding opportunities. With the partnership fully being upheld; beneficiaries of the program will no longer drop from the skills training due to the lack of access to materials for their practical work. Since Just a Girl Launched its tuition vocational empowerment program in 2017 and its official start in 2018, at least 80 girls and women have so far benefited from the program. Beneficiaries were drawn from VOA, Baptist Seminary, Boy’s Town, R2, Marshall, Harbel, Duazon and other communities along the Robert Field Highway.
With the 115 new beneficiaries joining the current 40 beneficiaries in the program, it brings to total 155 beneficiaries with women accounting for 90 percent. Speaking when he served as keynote speaker, veteran Liberian Journalist, Mr. Peter Quaqua thanked Mrs. Seagbeh who is also a media practitioner by exhibiting true leadership by touching and empowering the lives of people within communities. “Evelyn has exhibited true leadership because, she did not have to be a politician to help solve a problem she sees in the community, neither did she have to wait for a government to come and solve it, but she took the leadership and lives are being impacted. Girl and women who had no skills now have and you- over 100 new beneficiaries are joining, this is true leadership,” Mr. Quaqua told the attendees at the occasion.
The former Press Union of Liberia President said one of the building blocks for country’ advancement and development is for the nation to invest in human resource capacity by capacitating its citizens with marketable technical and vocational skills. Mr. Quaqua added that when technical and vocational skills acquisition becomes a priority to a nation and its citizens, the country develops faster and it brings about jobs creation and boosts the entrepreneurship sector. He then called on young people (men and women) not to spend their times running after politicians who basically would do nothing much to impact their lives tangibly but that youths should endeavor to empower themselves with technical and vocational skills in order to come economically independent and not wait for handouts from politicians some of whom were invited to the occasion, but did not showed up.
As his initial support to the organization’ work, Mr. Quaqua made an initial cash contribution and promised to provide support to the best performing beneficiaries who will set themselves into a team of not more than 5 and not less than 3 to work together and run their corporative (business) upon their completion of the learning circle of the program at Just a Girl Vocational Program.