Source: Front Page Africa
The Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) says it will shortly dedicate the Chief Suakoko Center in Bong County.

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday in Monrovia, ABIC establishment coordinator Yvette Chesson-Wureh said the center’s establishment was in fulfillment of a promise made by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the launch of ABIC in March 2009.

“As you may be aware, Chief Suakoko was a renowned Liberian female chief who contributed immensely in assisting the government of Liberia’s expansion drive to areas in Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties.

“The president stated that chief Suakoko was an inspiration for Angie Brooks, who in turn was her inspiration. Since that pronouncement by the president, ABIC has committed to support the establishment and construction of the center in Bong County.

“ABIC processed all the legal paper works and started the physical construction. As we speak, completion works are taking place onthe structure situated on Cuttington University in Bong County.

“We are thankful to funding from the government, through the office of the president, and also support from our partners. We are hopeful that the center will be dedicated by the end of April,” Chesson-Wureh declared.

ABIC is dedicating the Suakoko Center as part of activities marking its fifth anniversary since it was launched on March 8, 2009. It undertakes women’s empowerment, leadership development, international peace and security.

ABIC promotes gender equality and support the issues of women’s empowerment and involvement in mediation andpeace initiative in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. And Chesson-Wureh said it is glaringly noticeable that women in leadership positions have increased in the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Quoting a survey done by the Ministry of Gender & Development, she said 25-percent of ministers, 29-percent of deputy ministers and 25-percent of assistant ministers are women while 28-percent of 25 key agencies of government are being headed by women.

But a gender equity bill, which sets aside a threshold for women’s participation in elected positions, still languishes in the corridors of the National Legislature. So what is ABIC doing about the bill’s passage?

“I must say that we have been involved in it. We have been on the ground floor [of the Capitol Building]; we have liaised with the Ministry of Justice. We have looked at the bill and have lobbied with senators. We have tried to educate both members of the legislature and women about the bill.

“So, it is something that we have been very hopeful will get passed. It will not just be watered down. And that is our greatest concerns because when you do a bill and look at it, you really know that each word in that bill is really important,” she added.

ABIC will host its third annual lecture series in the ballroom of the Monrovia city hall on the topic: “Liberian women’s political participation” on Wednesday.

Gender and Development Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell will speak on the ministry’s role of attaining greater women’s political participation ahead of the special senatorial elections in October while Emma Shannon-Walser, the first Liberian female circuit court judge, will chair a panel of female senators on the same topic.

Former Sierra Leonean ambassador to Liberia Marie Jilo-Barnett is in Monrovia as special guest to provide her perspective on the topic while Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and Foreign Affairs Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan will lead an array of government officials to the program.

Marie Jilo-Barnett (L) and Yvette Chesson Wureh address media launch of ABIC 5th anniversary celebrations

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