On Friday, September 24, 2021 the Kids’ Edcautional Engagement Project (KEEP) launched a book called “Free To Be Me”.
The book is an activity book designed to be used for students in grades 3-5 as a tool educators and parents can use to discuss gender and social norms.
Launching the book Assistant Minister of Education, Felecia Doe Sumah noted the importance of such literature being developed for school going children and how critical it is to ensure both boys and girls understand they can pursue any career path they desire.
Speaking on behalf of OXFAM Liberia, Mrs. Lisa Kindervater Sieh, Deputy Programs Manager, noted that the book is exactly the kind of transformative tool needed to shift conversations around gender and gender equality. She thanked KEEP for the idea of the book and seeing it grow from a seed to full actualization.
KEEP’s Executive Director, Mrs. Brenda Brewer Moore remarked that it is crucial to have difficult conversations with children. Especially in today’s world where they can easily access information from multiple media. She said often times parents restrict their kids from playing with certain toys, which limits them from exploring perspectives and in many cases, career paths as they are told “this is for boys; this is for girls” and thereby placing them in a box.
She noted that the books will be distributed across the project locations and trainings will be held with teachers and PTA on how to use the book. she also informed the guests that the book will be made available on KEEP’s website subsequently.
The book provides guided activities and conversations that parents would find as a useful to teach and explore not only gender norms, but also career planning, family life, and confidence building.
The Book has a parental guide on each page as well as a user guide at the back for ease of reference for parents or guardians. As such, we want all parents or guardians to have basic information they can use to teach and have fun with their child/children.
Although written for children, the messages will remind parents of the need to also act safely and create an awareness on things they may not have thought of before as inappropriate for their child(ren).
KEEP has been championing literacy over the years through several programs and stratrgies. In the last 6 years, the organization has created 22 Reading Rooms and 3 Learning Resource Centres in 9 of Liberia’s 15 counties.
For the development of the book, KEEP Liberia partnered with OXFAM Liberia through the Enough! Project funded by the European Union.
The Enough! Project covers empowering women, girls, boys and men to take positive action in ending SGBV in Ghana, Liberia and Mali is a multi-country programme funded by the European Union through Oxfam and the Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI). The project creates an enabling environment for girls and women to know, exercise and claim their rights to end sexual and gender-based violence.