July 14, 2016

First Lady Michelle Obama Meets Girls in EDC Project in Liberia

First Lady Michelle Obama hears from Rebecca Flomo, a learner in the USAID Advancing Youth Program in Liberia. Mrs. Obama’s visit was part of the Let Girls Learn initiative.

Like many women in Liberia, 26-year-old Rebecca Flomo had no access to formal schooling when she was a child. Her first teacher was her younger brother, who taught her the basics of literacy.

But a few years ago, Flomo enrolled in an adult basic education class offered by the USAID Advancing Youth Project, which is managed by EDC. She learned to read and write, and she now works for the Firestone Rubber Company, one of the largest employers in Liberia.

On Monday, June 27, Flomo was one of a group of young women who met with First Lady Michelle Obama, who had traveled to Liberia as part of Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government initiative to ensure adolescent girls have access to quality education.

Obama joined Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and several young women, including Flomo, for a roundtable discussion about the challenges facing girls’ education in the country as well as the opportunities. The event took place at the RS Caulfield Public School in Unification Town, Margibi County.

“From the talk we had I learned that education is very important and anyone can learn as long as you are willing,” said Flomo. “The talk also made me strong in achieving my goal in being a nurse. I will not stop learning because I know one day I will be someone.”

Since 2011, the USAID Advancing Youth Project has enrolled more than 22,000 learners of whom 69 percent are women. The project has also conducted training for nearly 2,000 public school teachers and administrators to enhance the delivery of basic education.

“We are so pleased that our girls were able to share their stories, including their challenges and successes, with the First Lady and the rest of the world,” said EDC’s Chief of Party Denise Clarke-Reeves. “Working with partners such as the Ministry of Education and others, we have managed to reach many thousands of youth since the start of the project, with girls and women accounting for nearly 70 percent of our total enrollment.”

Other project partners include the Liberia YMCA, Liberian Youth Network, National Adult Education Association of Liberia, Liberia Initiatives for Developmental Services, and World Organizations for Educational Resources and Technology Training.

Photo credit: White House
First Lady Michelle Obama hears from Rebecca Flomo, a learner in the USAID Advancing Youth Program in Liberia.