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Vivian Neejay Innis

Chicago, IL | 30

Growing up, I was always interested in poverty and gender issues. Of particular interest was the relationship between gender inequality and poverty. Through work and life experience, I learned that poverty plays a key role in the unequal power positions between men and women. My interest led me to working with women groups in the communities, and at the national level. I began to strengthen women’s leadership capabilities, and facilitate their direct engagement in community and public decision-making processes through an organization I founded in 2011 call Women Alert Liberia (WAL) in Liberia. Overtime, I came to the realization that poverty and gender inequality is socially constructed and man-made, it had been my desire to pursue academic discipline addressing poverty and gender related issues.

I am from Liberia, West Africa were human resource needs are undisputed, and the situation among women is particularly alarming. Illiteracy rate has been around 85% for the past two decades.  In a bid to constructively contribute to society; I move to the USA 2012 to reach for a better education and hoping to start soon.

The fifteen-year civil war in Liberia has further exacerbated the problem for the general population. The war has greatly destroyed the political, social, and educational structures of the country. Some 64% of Liberians fall below the absolute poverty line and 48% below the extreme poverty line. It is this challenging environment to which I intend to contribute my quota by evolving meaningful and optimal solutions to various problems associated with the formation and implementation of public policies relevant to the most vulnerable group.

With the knowledge acquired from EDX “The Challenges of Global Poverty” Women Alert Liberia (WAL) will work alone with government and civil society organizations to put in place a strong social policy that will protect children, women, and the poor and vulnerable households from the worst impacts of food and the general deprivation caused by extreme poverty. This course has enhanced my leadership skills and my ability to influence policies affecting Liberians and the world at large.

I am Presently doing the ER22x Justice course with HarvardX and looking forward to start the Energy 101 with UTAustinx September 2013.