LIBERIA: RICCE Conducts Gender-just Forest Governance Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing Workshop for some members of WONGOSOL

Participants posed for group photo

The Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment (RICCE) in collaboration with the Green Livelihood Alliance (GLA) partner has strengthened the capacities of 20 persons from ten women civil society organizations (CSOs) on gender just forest governance in Monrovia.

The training of the women organizations is part of project activities currently being implemented by RICCE as gender technical partner to Green Livelihoods Alliance (GLA 2.0) Forest for a Just Future Program with the SDI as the lead in Liberia.

The two days training titled Gender–Just Forest Governance capacity building and knowledge sharing workshop for Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia WONGOSOL members was under the theme: “Strengthening women knowledge and solidarity to advocate for gender-just conversation and governance in Liberia with funding provided by the Global Forests Coalition (GFC), an alliance member of the Green Livelihoods Alliance.

As a member of the GLA 2.0, RICCE is tasked as the gender technical partner to ensure that all partners programs under the GLA 2.0 Forest for a Just Future program are gender responsive and inclusive.  The GLA project is being implemented in two landscapes in Liberia; the northwest and the southeast landscapes.

Giving the overview of the two days training, the Program Manager of RICCE, Madam Renee Gibson reminded the participants that her organization is working in partnership with SDI  and all GLA partners to ensure community rights are protected especially affected communities around monoculture plantation mainly two large oil palm plantations in Liberia.

Madam Gibson further reminded the participants that as partners, they are working to ensure that women and children in concession affected communities are protected.

“Today, we are here to strengthen our capacities as women organizations get into advocacy for respect and protection of the rights of communities by large-scale concessions and not only focusing on sexual gender based violence (SGBV) and skill training, but also into community rights issues especially affected communities around concessions,” she calls on the participants to be proactive and get involve in advocacy for community rights.

The RICCE Program Manager further said “Look into the forest sector, there are lots of abuses taking place; go into concession areas and you will see exploitations, bad labor practices, child abuse among others on the increase.”

“It is only us civil society organizations actors those communities depend on to ensuring that their rights are protected. So, we are empowering you to engage the duty bearers, concessionaires, government  authorities among others to ensure that communities’ rights are protected and they are in compliance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed  with communities and  ensure that communities get their benefits because they are the owners of the lands,” she added.

The intensive and practical training was facilitated by certified trainers. They include Mr. Dayugar Johnson and Abdul Razac Sherriff.

Mr. Johnson facilitated on how CSO actors and all should identify the identities of others in their advocacies as well as inter-sectionality.

The participants demonstrated these traits which gave them the clear understanding and how they see themselves in these reflective exercises.

For Abdul Razac Sheriff, he presented on mainstreaming gender in Natural Resource Management (NRM). With this, the participants were drilled through what constitutes NRM; how access and control over natural resources remains deeply unequal across much of the world; understanding gender issues in natural resources management; domestic responsibilities of women and girls in relation to NRM which normally results in significant burdens for them undermining their ability to undertake productive activities; this includes education, decision-making and entrepreneurship among others.

Speaking on behalf of the female participants at the end of the two days training, Madam Roseline W. Dweh of the Actions for Girls and Women Survival lauded RICCE, and GLA partners for the training and promised to return and make the difference based on the knowledge they have acquired.

“I want to appreciate RICCE, and GLA partners for the training. What we have learned here were very meaningful and it gives us reflections of our individual lives and how to work for an inclusive society by treating each other fair as well as the communities we work for,” the excited Roseline W. Dweh said at the end of the training.

Also speaking, one of the participants, Paul Williams representing Humanity Above Self Foundation (HAOSF) commended RICCE, and partners for providing such knowledge that will help them shift their advocacy into real issues based and result-oriented activities as civil society organizations.

“The reflection exercise was one of the very important parts of the training. It shows that organizations need to work together by encouraging everyone and leaving no one behind,” he said.

Williams also said “The Natural Resource Management (NRM) training which talks about marginalization of women and children is very common in our society. It is an established fact that anything that comes in this country; women and children can suffer a lot and we men don’t go through these kinds of stress. We pray that these kinds of workshops will continue for us.”

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About Cholo Brooks 13020 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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