And so... this week, the Harvard presence creeps into Monrovia as the other interns arrive in one's, two's and at times three's.
Our crew now has Lucera, Nick (MPA IDs), Diana (HBS), Rana (fellow MPP) and myself. Ellen has us working at the National Investment Commission, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Public Works, Philanthropic Department and the National Port Authority (as far as I know). So keep tuned to hear about us various experiences in this weirdly strange country that seems to growing on me. I have a home opposite the Ministry of Gender, twenty brisk steps away from lunch and a growing network of friends in a small but fascinating community of locals and expats from all around the world; all meshed together. Weekend road trips are also being planned to Monkey Island, Ducor Palace and canoeing in the Paul river.
The obligatory work update :) - Yesterday, I attended the monthly meeting of the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Taskforce within the Ministry of Gender. Chaired by the Deputy Minister of Research and Technical Services and an expected attendance of 30 representatives from various UN agencies, NGOs, IGOs and other ministries to talk about progress on various issues like the 3 week old initiative by the Ministry to take young prostitutes off the street.
What is this initiative? Last week, 16 girls were 'arrested' (age: 11-24 years) and currently being housed at the local YWCA...till the Minister decides the best way to deal with them. I wonder how these girls were identified, why the pimps were not identified and arrested along with them....and if this will help in an environment lacking capacity of peer counseling, peer support and at a base level, safe houses for these kids.
As I progress...ever-so-slowly in my research paper on 'economic empowerment and business entrepreneurship' for Liberian women, I feel this is the only concrete way forward in a country brimming with entrepreneurial opportunities and money to be made. This, and increasing women's participation in politics could just be the killer combination.
...just like $2 Club beer and 10$ lobsters (5 pieces) @ Robertsport.