At a glance: Liberia

Digital Diarist Lydia, 18, discusses the challenges of education in Liberia

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© UNICEF Liberia/2009/ Gordon
Lydia, 18, one of the participants in a youth radio workshop in Liberia. Lydia’s story was about the difficult transition from teenage life to young adulthood.

MONROVIA, Liberia, 24 November 2009 – When Lydia graduated from school a few months ago, her future should have been boundless.  She had done well in school and was expecting good results on her university entrance exam. 

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But after talking to her family, she realized that even if she passed the exam, it would not matter. The family did not have enough money to send their daughter to university. 

It's a common problem in Liberia: At a crucial moment in life, right after high school graduation, many young girls are forced to choose employment over continuing their education. "It is very difficult to be an 18-year-old girl in Liberia," says Lydia.  "We are vulnerable to many dangers."

Monrovia radio workshop

In August, Lydia was one of the participants in a week-long radio production workshop for seven young people from Liberia. UNICEF Radio – in partnership with UNICEF's ‘Back on Track’ programme on Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition, UNICEF Liberia and Talking Drum Studios – conducted the workshop with three boys and four girls chosen from around the country.

The youths learned how to record, edit, write and produce a radio story of their own.

Lydia's testimony offered a rare look at the helplessness that many young, educated Liberians feel, and detailed the stark choices many girls face when university is financially out of their reach.

"At times, you forget about school," Lydia explains in her 'Digital Diary'.  "You say 'I don’t have support' or 'I have no means to go to school so it’s better that I use my body to make money.' I know so many girls who do that."

Youth perspectives

This was the second in a series of workshops conducted by UNICEF Radio and the Back on Track programme. The aim is to bring young people's perspectives into the debate around education in emergencies and post-crisis situations – and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Meanwhile, UNICEF Liberia continues to work with community radio programmes throughout the country, in order to involve new youth journalists and empower young people by giving them the chance to broadcast their voices and their views.


 

 

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Digital Diarist Lydia, 18, from Ganta, Liberia, on the pressures of being female and getting an education.
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