The three groups comprising of 25 members each all of whom are traditional women called Vornebah which in the Gbandi language means togetherness, Winlia which also means togetherness in the Lorma language and Yalazeagawugu which in the Loma language means hold my hands so I can wake up over the weekend benefited from $16,290.00 United States Dollars Grant.
On Saturday February 20, 2021 was a screen of jubilations in Vezala Town which is the administrative seat of Voinjama District when three Village Saving Loan Associations or VLSA groups of Traditional women in Lofa County benefited.
The project is being implemented by Plan International Liberia through local CSOs in five of Liberia’s Fifteen Counties aim at providing alternative income raising livelihood for traditional women as they say no to the practice of Female Genital mutilation the FGM.
Speaking Saturday February 20, 2021 at the disbursement mini grant in Vezala Town, the Program Officer of Women Solidarity Incorporated or WOSI C. Mackins Pajibo said implementing Plan International Liberia project in Lofa is part of the Alternative Livelihood for FGM Practitioners Project sponsored under the European Union / UN Woman Spotlight Initiative for Liberia.
Mr. Pajibo said the provision of the mini grant for the 75 traditional women followed several capacity building trainings in the areas of Village Saving Loans, Business, Agriculture and Adult Literacy.
According to him, the funds are intended for the traditional women to engage in various businesses in order to better their lives while at the same time continuing their savings as groups.
“What we want to see is that if you are selling one sack of water today, the next time we come, we should see you selling more sacks that, this is what we want to see”. Pajibo noted.
He encouraged traditional women to be regular in the payments of their dues in the various VSLA groups; something he said will help in sustaining the various groups thereby working with their leadership for a successful implementation of the project in curtailing violence against women and girls.
Each of the VSLA groups received an amount of $5,430.00 USD or five thousand four hundred thirty United Stated Dollars.
The 75 traditional women in 2020 cultivated over 20 acres of upland rice farm under the agriculture component of the program and are expected to continue their farming activities while at the same time increasing their savings.
For his part, Lofa County Assistant Superintendent Samuel Mulbah on behalf of the county local authorities praised the Women Solidarity Incorporated (WOSI) as implementing partner and Plan International Liberia for the project towards improving the lives of the traditional women in the County.
Mr. Mulbah noted that the county authorities were grateful to the European Union and the UN woman families for the Spotlight Initiative in the County.
“I can assure you that our mothers will not make you shame, they are well prepared and willing to make all of us proud as a County”. Mulbah indicated.
In separate remarks, officials of the National Traditional Council in the County, the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection amongst others thanked the European Union/UN Woman for empowering the traditional woman in the county.
Meanwhile beneficiaries of the mini grant projected expressed appreciation and the level of support they continued to receive since the launch of the Spotlight Initiative in the County.
Two of the beneficiaries Madam Jarso Nyound and Domowa Saizia narrating their success stories disclosed that the training over the years have taken them to another level in life.
The two women in a joyous mood praised the EU/UN Woman family through the implementing organization Women Solidarity for lifting their lives.
“Before this program, most of us could not afford to send our child to school and even cater to their health needs but for now, we can do those things all by ourselves” so we say thank you’’ they said
They also vowed to ensure that the funds will be used for the intended purpose which will not only bring pride to them as traditional women but to the county and the country as well.