“If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”

Experiences from Else, an intern at Cadena and a student from Tilburg University studying ‘Global Management of Social Issues’.

For my bachelor, I need to do an internship at an international oriented company, therefore, I am currently working as an intern at Cadena IDP. One of the objectives of my internship is to write a consultancy assignment for Cadena on an issue or problem that the company is dealing with. The report shall provide Cadena and other project stakeholders with recommendations for the future.

For the report, I decided to look at the Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Project (YEEP) in Liberia. Since this is a three year project, quite some ‘challenges’ can be experienced during the implementation. It was agreed to focus on the second component of the project, which is related to ‘Job readiness skills’ for students at the University of Liberia. Next to this, I was also interested to see how gender is (or is not) integrated in the implementation of the component but also in the University as a whole.

In order to collect data for the research I spend two weeks in Liberia at the beginning of November. In general, it was my first visit to Africa, so the first days I was just amazed by all the things that I saw, the people with all their bright and colorful clothes, and I experienced how the country operates. It was really interesting to see and experience Africa in real-life, since I always heard a lot of stories, read books, and also saw a few documentaries about the continent.

For the consultancy assignment, I managed to interview staff from the University, many students from the University, staff from Cadena and an employee of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It was really interesting to speak with all the stakeholders and beneficiaries and to see their view on the project, but also on issues in the country like youth unemployment and gender. We had a lot of interesting discussions on how the country changed pre- and post-war, but also whether or not gender is considered to be a problem in Liberia.

Now that I am back in the office, I am busy analyzing my data and writing the report for Cadena. I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to go abroad, to Liberia. The most apparent thing that I learned during my stay in Liberia will probably be the proverb that one of the students brought up during an interview: “if you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.

Else Hagers
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