Several women’s groups in Liberia, including the National Empowerment Program for Women (NEP) and Rural Women of Margibi County (RWMC), have called on the government to implement the Maputo Protocol, which aims to strengthen the rights of women in the country.
Oxfam Gender Justice Coordinator Adolphus Gblorso spoke at a two day workshop organized by Oxfam GB over the weekend. He said the event was also intended to educate women on the significance of the Maputo Protocol for it to gain enough momentum so that government will implement it for the benefit of Liberians.
About 30 participants came together and agreed to work along with the government and other women’s rights organizations to join the process and highlight women’s issues.
Oxfam’s goal is to enhance the knowledge of women and girls to follow issues that impact their lives and on the Maputo Protocol.
Martha Sayklon, president of Rural Women of Margibi County and one of the participants, said if they created more awareness on the Maputo Protocol in all of the counties, women will understand their rights and work in collaboration with the government and other partners to promote their own rights through the implementation of the protocol.
“It is my first time learning about the Maputo Protocol, and through the two-day workshop I have learned the importance of the protocol and how we can work together for an improved environment for women and girls. We learned about the 1325 resolutions regarding peace and security, health issues, especially how to plan a good family by using family planning methods and what role women can play in maintaining the peace in the country,” said Madam Sayklon, who is also known as ‘Money in the Bush.’
She lauded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for contributing to women’s participation in the country especially through the launch of the gender policy document in 2009, which attached value to rural women in Liberia.
“We want the Maputo Protocol fully implemented for women’s voices to be heard in all sectors of life, especially for those women who are in the rural areas and do not have access to good health facilities, roads network, equal participation with their male counterparts, and better education,” added Madam Sianeh Omeze, the National Empowerment Program for Women’s Country Director.
She encouraged other women’s organizations to get involved in the process by coming up with more training and awareness in all parts of the country to enable the implementation of the Protocol on the Rights of African Women.
Madam Omeze was one of the three women that represented Liberia at Mount Kilimanjaro where women’s groups from all parts of the world assembled to seek equal or 50-50 land rights and for their voices to be heard.
At that gathering, Liberia was among the 36 countries that reached the peak of the mountain, a trip that took six days of climbing to the summit and returning to the base of the mountain, an act that reportedly demonstrated the importance of the Maputo Protocol to the participating women.