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ChildFund Supports Women’s Roles in Africa as Part of International Women’s Day

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Contact: Cynthia Price, 804-756-2722

Richmond, Va. – March 8, 2011 – “In Liberia, women are a major driver of positive change,” says ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard. She recently visited the country, where ChildFund has worked since 2003. She met with the country’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female ever elected president of an African nation.

Liberia is slowly recovering from a 13-year brutal civil war and now faces challenges from a growing influx of refugees from the Ivory Coast. “If there was ever a country ChildFund needed to be in, Liberia is one,” Goddard says.

Goddard reflected on her trip in light of International Women’s Day, commemorated each year on March 8. “Women are enthusiastic about contributing,” she says. “There is a feeling of hope; it’s a fragile sense of hope, but it’s palpable.”

“The president is well-liked and perceived as effective,” she says. “People are saying that they have peace and good leadership, and that’s what’s moving the country forward.”

Goddard was inspired by how women in Liberia are taking the lead in restitching a social fabric left in tatters by years of civil war. She visited with women’s groups and repeatedly heard their call to action: “Don’t just sit there; do something positive.”

ChildFund’s work in Liberia initially focused on helping child soldiers reintegrate into their communities. UNICEF recognized ChildFund as number one in child-protection work. Today ChildFund’s focus has expanded to child nutrition, early childhood development and education. “Advocacy for children’s rights is a big part of our work in Liberia,” Goddard said.

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ChildFund International is a global child development and protection agency serving more than 15.2 million children and their family members in 31 countries. For more than 70 years, we have helped the world's deprived, excluded and vulnerable children survive and thrive to reach their full potential and become leaders of enduring change. As a member of the ChildFund Alliance we create supportive environments in which children can flourish.