Evaluating the Impact of The United Methodist Church on Women Education for Development in Yelequelleh Community, Bong County, Liberia
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The importance of women’s education is a major concern and is gaining growing support in many parts of the world. Education, like other forms of investments in human capital, helps to contribute to the growth and development of women, thus enabling them to acquire their full potential. In particular, this study seeks to find out in which ways the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church is either succeeding or failing to help educate and improve the lives of women in Yelequelleh. The thesis seeks to find reasons for this by asking the women themselves as well as pastors, church leaders and community leaders. In the end it summarizes the findings and gives recommendations about how to accomplish these goals. Through an empirical inquiry involving interview, this thesis evaluates the status of women in Yelequelleh, the role and ministry performance of the LAC/UMC consistent with the social, economic, educational and development needs of the informants and their community. Through interviews and analysis, this study shows that the ministry of the LAC/UMC over 58 years has not provided a form of education that significantly impacts the lives of Yelequelleh women. The study further indicates a great need for a clearly defined educational program that will sustain growth and development in the lives of women, their families, the church and the community. It is the duty and commitment of the UMC as transcribed in the Social Principles of the Book of Discipline to help educate and develop its members through the practice of its ministry both in words and deeds in every given human community of the world. This qualitative in-depth study can probably function as a wakeup call to the LAC/UMC to address the high rate of illiteracy and decrease in membership of the Church in Yelequelleh as women are leaving the United Methodist Church and joining other churches like the Lutheran and Pentecostal Churches on grounds that they need education and skill training for a better living standard. The provision of education for rural women as indicated by this thesis will give them a sense of self-worth, empowerwment opportunity, the freedom to make choices, and will prepare them to fully participate in the development of Yelequelleh. The combination of these efforts, by the LAC/UMC, will probably help to impact the lives of Yelequelleh women. Moreover, the LAC/UMC will retain its numerical strength in terms of membership amongst women in Yelequelleh.