Miss Marit Woods, a 21-year-old Liberian model, leaves Minnesota on Sunday October 19, 2008, to represent Liberia in the 2008 Miss Earth pageant in Manila, Philippines.
The contest, which brings together national beauties and talents between the ages of 18 to 26, is also part of a bigger effort to promote global environment causes.
Since her selection in August, Marit has launched a series of events to solicit community support, all of which have now crystallized into a huge momentum around her candidacy and widespread public endorsement of her participation in the forthcoming pageant.
Last month, Marit organized an “Open and Closed Auction” at Vicky’s Restaurant in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. The event, she said, was part of an effort to raise funds to underwrite the cost of her trip to Philippines.
On October 5, she was featured in a star-studded event at Klub Afrika, a local African club in Minnesota. With a crowd twice the size of the club’s regular attendance, Marit succeeded in making a case why her participation in the contest is likely to contribute to environmental and health issues that remain at the heart of our common humanity. (See Marit in Pictures below)
The occasion, interspersed with performances by Liberian singer Vee Washington and Ghanaian Dancer Christian Adeti, provided a unique moment for Marit to highlight the issues that have long struck her, especially as an emerging advocate on topics that have come to spur and define discussions on health and the environment.
“It saddens me daily to realize that on a daily basis the basic necessity that all citizens within a country deserve is not accessible to all. As Miss Earth Liberia 2008 my objective is to educate Liberians and others around the world on how to keep their water resources safe and sanitized. Using this knowledge they can come together and approach their elected government officials to change practices and laws that are preventing sanitized water from being available to all”, Marit said, with a passion unparallel in its authenticity.
Carousel Productions, Inc. the organizer of the pageant, is reported to have said: ”…Beauty queens would be good and effective advocates of worthy causes”.
Marit could not agree more. For her, the pageant is only a means to a greater end. She is quick to point out that the event itself provides an important platform for her campaign, to pursue goals that are clearly critical to the health of the world, especially third world countries.
She admits that her contribution is not the “long-awaited” solution to the global environment and health problems but that, in a way, it adds onto other efforts aimed at making things little bit better for those who have suffered as a result of inaction.
“In some countries the need for sanitized water is vital. Clean drinking water is not accessible to all. Clean water should not be a commodity that is accessible to a select few. We need to act in our own little ways”, she added. “Sanitized water is vital to our health and well-being”.
Editor’s Note: Marit Woods is the daughter of Samuel Kofi Woods, a life-long Liberian Human Rights Advocate. He is also Liberia’s Labor Ministry. The organizers could not immediately release detailed information on the participation of other contestants prior to the publication of this story. The Liberian Journal wishes Marit Woods the best of luck.