Rosana Schaack (Humphrey Fellow 2008-2009) Wins Seat In Liberian Legislature

Last week, our Humphrey Fellow Alumni (2008-2009) Rosana Schaack -from the Liberian Liberty Party-, won a seat in the National Elections Commission’s magisterial office in River Cess, the county's first district. The district was heavily contested, with Schaack being the only woman. She is the second female to represent River Cess at the national legislature in six years.

Rosana Schaack’s efforts to transform lives began during one of the darkest periods in Liberian history, the country’s civil war, which claimed more than 150,000 lives and created some 850,000 refugees. Having witnessed the devastating effects of the civil war on her people, she felt there was a tremendous need to rehabilitate and regenerate many of the youth that were forced to become child soldiers during the 14-year war.

She came to the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs as a Humphrey Fellow in 2008. During her fellowship year, she focused on human resource management and child protection policy, building on her commitment to human rights advocacy. She worked with local initiatives focused on gender-based violence prevention and child protection procedures and practices in Minneapolis. She collaborated with University faculty and students and shared her knowledge and expertise on issues such as child soldiers, public health and war, and children in post-conflict situations. Her internship at the Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department proved to be a beneficial relationship for her and Hennepin County. She shared her experience of rehabilitation of former child soldiers during the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration process.

Before coming to the Humphrey Institute Ms. Schaack founded THINK INC. (Touching Humanity In Need of Kindness), a non-governmental organization whose mission is to demonstrate kindness to the poorest of the poor through programs that promote self-empowerment. Through THINK INC. Ms. Schaack developed the Rehabilitation and Reintegration Homes for Ex-Female Combatants, the Early Childhood Care and Development Program, the Educational Enhancement Program, and the Sexual Exploitation and Gender-Based Violence Program.

After her return to Liberia she has continued her work with THINK INC  as the C.E.O and also works with Liberia’s Ministries of Gender and Development, and Health and Social Welfare, and Justice, through the Women and Child Protection Section of the Liberia National Police and the Sexual Gender Based Violence Crime Unit. 

In 2010 she was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals from the University of Minnesota for her work as a public servant and her focus on empowering poor women. That she was recognized broadly in Liberia and abroad for her work was also part of the special citation.

Vital Voices, and international agency focused on empowering women around the world, honored her with a special award in 2012 for her work as an advocate for human rights in Liberia and around the world.

Congratulations to Rosana! Her work advocating for children and women in Liberia has had a great effect in her community and now she will continue the fight for many others to make their voices heard, not only from the non profit world but now also from the legislature.

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