Nancy Obi, head of the Liberia chapter of Vital Voices, says that although women have potentials to change their environment for the better, they need mentors that would show them the way out and how to go about doing the right things.
Vital Voices is a global fellowship established by former First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton, aimed at creating empowerment opportunities for women around the world.
Speaking over the weekend during the celebration of this year’s Global Mentoring Walk Day, Madam Obi emphasized the great potential for women’s empowerment in the manufacturing sector.
“If women are to find opportunities that would eventually empower them economically as well as socially,” she told the gathering, “then it is time that they begin to look into the manufacturing sector.”
Madam Obi said the manufacturing sector, on a smaller scale (such as red palm oil or palm kernel oil and others), has great potential and a lot of opportunities that women can take advantage of to better their lives and that of their families.
The brief ceremony was held at the African Palm Kernel International Factory (APKIF) located in Fendell, Montserrado County.
Participating in the walk were scores of women from nearby communities, as well as Chief Judge of the Commercial Court of Liberia, Eva Mappy Morgan. They began at the University of Liberia’s Fendell Campus to the APKIF premises on Bentol road. The women went to the factory to see firsthand how the kernel oil is manufactured and to take cues from the many opportunities that the factory offers.
This year’s Global Mentoring Walk celebration was held under the theme: Positioning Yourself for a Career in the Manufacturing Sector.
Though resources, especially finance, are scarce for women to get into business, Madam Obi said if they can come together as a group, the opportunity to get loans from commercial banks to start their business would not be difficult.
“This is why we are here in the yard of the African Palm Kernel International Factory, where palm kernel oil is manufactured. We brought you to see firsthand the process of manufacturing palm kernel oil, which is used to make a variety of commodities. We want to show our women the numerous opportunities that exist in this sector so that they can take advantage of some of them,” she said.
She said a woman venturing into the manufacturing sector is an ideal means of empowerment. “A lot of the ladies have seen for themselves how the palm kernel oil is made. It is not only the issue about job creation in terms of factory work, but we are also looking at business empowerment opportunities for our women,” she said.
Upon arrival at the factory, the manager, identified as Victor, explained the processes involved in the manufacturing of the oil. He said manufacturing palm kernel oil is a good business that requires a lot of patience and commitment.
He said supplying the palm kernel to the factory is a big business all by itself and he is being supplied by three women who fetch the kernel from rural communities. The women were also taught how to make soap with the palm kernel oil.