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Empowered adolescent girls hold the key to ending poverty

“Liberia needs to invest in adolescent girls in ways that empower them to make important life decisions and equip them to one day earn a living, and engage in the affairs of their communities,” said Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, UNFPA Representative at the launch of a campaign by the Vice President of Liberia Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor to mentor adolescent girls to value their bodies.

“With 63 percent of the 4.6 million people under 25 years, and declining mortality and fertility, Liberia is supposed to begin moving towards the tipping point for a demographic dividend.  But the benefit of this youthful population can only be harnessed if the adolescents and youth; especially the girls are allowed to realize their full potential.” Dr. Ndyanabangi said.

He said adolescents and youth in Liberia are faced with many social, and economic challenges, including inadequate access to health and educational services, and limited employment opportunities.
Dr. Ndyanabangi called for more collaborative efforts in meeting the sexual reproductive health and education needs of adolescent girls in Liberia.  “Educating adolescent girls is key to gender equality. Girls who are educated are more likely to be employed and less likely to live in poverty. They tend to marry later and to have smaller, healthier families. Education often translates into greater economic opportunities for women and their families,” Dr. Ndyanabangi said. 

He indicated that UNFPA has supported the Government of Liberia to integrate comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in the National Curriculum for both in and out-of-school youth and train specialists in curriculum reform and delivery of CSE. 

From left to right: Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, UNFPA Representative;
Dr. Miriam Chiimoa, UNAIDS Country Director, and 
Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President, Republic of Liberia


“UNFPA has also partnered with the Government to reform health laws and policies; ensuring that adolescents have access to family planning services to help them prevent unwanted pregnancies,” Dr. Ndyanabangi added. 
The campaign to mentor adolescent girls across Liberia to value their bodies which is under the theme-“Your body, your Choice-” is an initiative by the Vice President of Liberia under her Jewel Starfish Foundation.