(SUAKOKO, BONG COUNTY – Monday, June 9, 2014) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged Liberian women to rise up to the challenge by empowering themselves now that the pace has been set for self-actualization.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader, speaking at the launch of the Chief Suah Koko Center for Rural Women’s Empowerment in Bong County, said the launch of the Center was a promise fulfilled on a commitment to improving their lives.
The Chief Suah Koko Center for Rural Women’s Empowerment, located on the main campus of the Cuttington University in Suakoko, is named in honor of former paramount chief Madam Suah Koko for her role in the annexation of north-western region to Liberia in the late 19th century which includes today’s Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties.
President Sirleaf said the honoring of Madam Suah Koko was the rural women’s version of the same honor bestowed on Madam Angie Brooks Randall in whose name the Angie Brooks Randall International Center at the University of Liberia Fendell Campus is established which came as the result of the International Women Colloquium held in Liberia in March of 2009.
She challenged the 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.
President Sirleaf said she was happy for the level of involvement of Liberian women in decision-making and leadership which has come as the result of changing times and gender equality.
Speaking earlier, the national head of the Angie Brooks Randall 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,” as Cllr. Wureh called on stage the young girls in demonstration of how enthusiastic the women are with the establishment of an institution that is exclusively about them and their empowerment.
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.
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.
He 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 expressed excitement that a Center is now named in honor of someone she had honored before now. Senator Taylor named her scholarship in honor of Madam Suah Koko and gave a facelift of her grave in Sergeant Kollie Town (SKT) near Gbarnga.
President Sirleaf’s one day visit to Bong County also took her to a Leprosy Rehabilitation Center in Suakoko to acquaint herself with conditions there for possible intervention by Government.
At the center, the Liberian leader promised government’s intervention upon the passage of the 2014/2015 Fiscal Budget in which they will be included in social service delivery category.
President Sirleaf thanked the caretaker of the center, Mr. Steve Kennedy and admonished him to continue his service to humanity. She was responding to Mr. Kennedy’s request, on behalf of the lepers, who pleaded with President Sirleaf to reach out to the Center as they feel abandoned.
He complained of severe leakages in the school building and the lack of safe drinking water at the Center which President Sirleaf promised to intervene immediately.
Mr. Kennedy, though not a leper, after obtaining a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) Degree in Economics from the Cuttington University returned to the Center to pay back to the community where he began his primary education. President Sirleaf termed this as an excellent example of community service. She then promised him a motorbike to enhance his movement as he serves his people.