Liberia’s first female Vice President Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor urges women across Africa and the globe to go beyond words and take action to provide protection and education for the ‘African girl child’- a segment of people that is mostly marginalized solely because they are girls and are perceived as being less valuable than boys. She said though this may seem impossible in the mind of some people, it is a reality in many African countries that girls do not go to school.

VP Howard-Taylor made the statement on July 5, 2018 at the United Kingdom House of Parliament where she received the prestigious “Excellence In Public Office & Community Impact” award given by the 2018 African Achievers International Lectures & Award..

The ceremony was chaired by Susan Fajana Thomas -former Mayor of the London Borough of Hackney & Chairperson of the African Achievers Awards Board and hosted by Rt. Hon. Diane Abbott (Current Shadow Home Secretary, United Kingdom) and held on the theme; Girls right to Education; a case for Africa”.

 The honoree used the occasion to pay tribute to the world’s longest serving female Monarch of Great Britain, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II, and other great female icons on the African continent including the former President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, South Africa’s iconic female figure, the late Winnie Mandela, and Africa’s first female pilot, the Kenyan Madam Irene Mutungi, and others, whose lives she said epitomize the determination, brilliance, commitment and dedication that women bring to the table of influence whenever given an opportunity to serve.

The first Liberian Female Vice President asserted that these women and many other unsung heroines are stellar examples of reasons why the African girl child must exercise not only her right to education, but must be given the opportunity to rise and soar in her chosen field.

She said it has been proven by statistics that in Sub-Saharan Africa, some 16 million girls are not in school. VP Howard-Tayor blamed the heart-wrenching stats on complex social, political, traditional and economic factors, cultural beliefs, marriage practices, as well as disease and poverty which keep girls out of schools in Africa.

According to Chief Dr. Howard-Taylor, some of the surest ways to change the tragedy into a stepping stone of success are eliminating  extreme poverty on the African continent; working to change the biases against education for girls; showcasing and celebrating women of excellence as well as  building strong early learning childhood development programs, among others.

A dispatch from London quotes VP Jewel Cianeh Howard-Taylor as stressing that each of these suggestions is a collective action which helps reduce the large numbers of out of school girls adding “each of us must make a personal decision to be a crusader for this worthy cause.”

She informed her audience that more than 20 years ago, she began the process of mentoring and providing scholarships for under privileged girls. “With the hundreds I have helped along the way, it all seem so small an effort. But I know that if each of us, looked around and began a process to help one girl in our communities, then our goals would be realized sooner than later,” the first Liberian Female Vice President intimated.

VP-Howard-Taylor therefore rallied the collective efforts of everyone in addressing the core issues affecting the education of girls around the world, particularly the African continent.

“There is an African proverb which states: it takes a village to raise a child. This means that each of us must be a part of the solution to this unacceptable reality,” she added.

The awards ceremony was climaxed with an exclusive dinner for award recipients and special guests at the Westminster Hilton in London.

VP Howard-Taylor shares the hall of fame with Arch. Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela Foundation, H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Margaret Blick Kigozi, University chancellor and sportswoman. Currently, she works as a consultant at United Nations Industrial Development Organization(UNIDO). She formerly served as the Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority, Dr. Paul Enenche (Senior Pastor Dunamis International), Mrs. Titi Horsfal, Sir Celestine Omehia, Mr. John Momoh. (He is the Chairman and Founder of Channels Television), Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, Kofi Annan Foundation, Justina Mutale Foundation, Dr. Justina Mutale, The African Development Bank (AFDB) Sinach (International Gospel Songstress), Dr. Mathews Phosa, Moggesukkel Foundation, H.E Dr. Dlamini Zuma former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Josephine Ojiambo Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General.

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