LIBERIA: SDI Organizes Female CSOs in Western Liberia into Regional Network -To Create Awareness on Land and other Rights
The Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) through the Green Livelihoods Alliance (GLA 2.0), forest for a just future program on August 27, 2022 organized a training session for fifteen (15) women from different civil society organizations (CSOs) in the western region of Liberia.
The women came from Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbarpolu Counties with Bomi serving as the host county.
At the launch of the Green Livelihoods Alliance 2.0 program last year, it was agreed that women would be trained and organized into structures in the western and southern regions of Liberia as a means of strengthening them [women] so that they are able to speak against injustices and social norms that are adversely affecting them.
In an introductory statement, the National Program Coordinator of the Community Rights and Corporate Governance Program (CR&CGP) at SDI, Mr. James Otto informed the participants that the aim of the training was to strengthen and help the women of the western region (Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, and Bomi) organize themselves into a regional network that will do collective advocacy, fight against social injustices, and support other women initiatives.
“You need to speak with one voice as women and support your colleagues that want to move to higher offices in the nation. If you guys are united, it will be possible and you will do a lot of good things,” James G. Otto of SDI said.
The one-day training session was used by the participants to achieve several other things including the development of a draft constitution for the proposed network, the development of a work plan to inform their activities, and the development of an information exchange platform for the network.
At the end of the one-day session, the name “Western Region Women Network Association” was adopted as the name of the proposed regional network.
Speaking during the interactive meeting, the National Program Assistant at the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) Community Rights and Corporate Governance Program (CRCGP), Sampson Williams said his organization will work to support the women develop themselves into a powerful structure that will ensure women voices are heard in the region and that they are leading awareness on laws used in governing natural resources and community rights in the nation.
“Women, you are the main users of the forest and land and so, I believe you need to be a part of every major decision that are made in the land and forest sector within the region and SDI will support you in achieving this,” Sampson Williams said.
The one day training session was seen full of excitement. The women were full of enthusiasm and felt elated that they were now working together as a region in their cause to end discrimination against women and fight for their civil spaces among other things.
“This is the first time that we are coming together to organize ourselves into one regional body. We have been fighting our individual fights, but with the establishment of this network, I believe we can achieve a lot of things together,” Mrs. Lydia Ballah, head of CSOs in Gbarpolu County added.
Jenneh S. Kemokai, the head of CSOs in Grand cape Mount County praised SDI for been so farsighted in organizing them into a regional hub that will share information and do joint campaigns across the region.
“I am pleased to extend my gratitude to SDI for bringing us together into a regional group. This group will not fail you SDI. We are going to unite and do joint campaigns that will change the way decision are made in this region,” Jenneh Kemokai of Cape Mount County said.
Currently, more than seventy-five (75) women led CSOs/CBOs have already joined the Western Region Women Network Association from the three counties.