Youth-led summit makes its debut in Liberia

By Global Fund for Children | April 12, 2022 | Africa & The Middle East | Gender Equity, Youth Empowerment

This article was written by and originally published in Memunatu Magazine

Memunatu Magazine spoke with the girls organizing the first West Africa Regional Adolescent Girls Summit in Liberia about their hopes and plans for the event. The summit, supported by GFC and local partners in GFC’s Ending Violence, Empowering Girls initiative, brings together girls and boys from rural communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

For youth without youth? Not here! The first West Africa Regional Adolescent Girls Summit in Liberia from April 12-14 has youth working together to bring a vision of girls’ empowerment to life. Driven by adolescents from Sierra Leone and Liberia, and amplified by Global Fund for Children, the summit’s goal is to empower African adolescent girls and create a space where they feel seen and heard by their peers and community.

“The summit is the only place where I can share my thoughts, especially the things that are affecting me as a young teenage girl,” says Tenneh, age 17.

Currently, members on the Adolescent Girls Summit team are collaborating on committees, such as marketing and communications, in order to spread the word about the summit. “I’m working on writing letters of invitation to dignitaries and stakeholders that we, as girls, want to see on that particular day,” Ester, age 17, says. The team wants their summit to emphasize equal rights and how early marriage affects youth in the community, among other issues that affect girls and adolescents.

Young people smiling

© Memunatu Magazine

When asked what they hope to get out of the summit, some students reflected on ways that their work could affect their community around them. “Upon completion of the summit meeting, I will be well capacitated in ensuring that the issue of sexual gender-based violence against children, especially, girls has been minimized in my community,” says Dynnah, age 15.

“What I want to achieve is to see a world where girls will have equal rights as boys, and also be included in decision making,” says Joyce, age 13.

Others hope that the summit will inspire personal feelings of advocacy in those who attended. “My hope is that after the summit, adolescent boys and girls will have a better understanding of their rights and are confident enough to speak out on the issues affecting them,” says Francis, age 17.

Read more about the Adolescent Girls Summit team in the upcoming issue of Memunatu Magazine. Sign up here to be the first to know when it launches!

Header photo: A youth leader speaks during a meeting in Liberia. © Community Healthcare Initiative

Feature photo on blog landing page: Amé Atsu David, GFC’s Regional Capacity Development Specialist for West Africa, with members of Children’s Forum Network, one of the partners in the Ending Violence, Empowering Girls initiative. © CFN

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