Liberia churchwomen campaign for girls’ rights

United Methodist Women in Liberia have launched a campaign to promote the rights of girls, including access to education and freedom from violence.

The group approved the resolution Jan. 29 at the end of its 70th annual meeting, which had the theme “Women Arise.” The resolution took inspiration from Sarah Q. Nah, the group’s president and sister of Liberia’s Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr.

“The church must create an environment that will protect the rights of the girl child,” Nah said.

In the Liberian resolution, the United Methodist Women committed themselves to making sure that each district sends a girl to school while local churches seek to do the same. In their resolution, the women also called for seeking ways the church can end gender-based violence.

“We will dialogue with traditional leaders to find a creative way of ending female genital mutilation in Liberia,” the resolution states.

Although that church has made efforts to protect girl children, Nah said in her report that more needs to be done.

“We don’t want our young girls to be raped and denied education opportunities in a culture where males are given priority in education,” she said.

Nah further called on her fellow women to engage local church leaders to begin the dialogue on the full implementation of the denomination’s Resolution No. 3089 “The Girl Child,” which was part of the 2008 and 2012 Book of Resolutions. That statement puts particular emphasis on providing girls with education and health care and preventing their exploitation.

“It will take time to make these changes in our society, but the discussion must start now,” she said.

In addition to the Liberian resolution, the United Methodist Women increased the number of scholarships offered to young women who want to go to universities, especially the United Methodist University. Pastor Rose Farhat, the head of the women ministries, said the scholarships would be awarded to young women who are both in need and demonstrate high academic standards.

“Scholarships are for scholars,” she emphasized.

Farhat said the women’s ministries would expand the scholarship plan beyond the universities to the secondary level and onward to the elementary schools.

In his closing sermon, Quire challenged United Methodists in Liberia to invest in the education of young women and girls to ensure a better future for the church. He indicated that the United Methodist Women in Liberia have the capacity to do whatever they want to do.

Alluding to the meeting’s theme, he added, “Women arise and shine for a better United Methodist Church.”

Swen is a communicator in Liberia. News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests

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