Unemployment is an issue discussed in every corner in Liberia. From the ataye shops, to the heart of all communities, unemployment has claimed the attention of many women are committed to standing up and fighting against it by engaging in arts and crafts, cultural activities and the preparation of ethnic foods.
The country is now to a point where women are no longer dependent on men to support them. They no longer sit in their homes waiting for their husbands. They have risen to the occasion and decided to use their hands to become self-employed.
According to the CEO of Game -changers Liberia, Mrs. Fatu Gbedema, it’s better for Liberians to engage in arts and crafts to help them become self reliant and strengthen the cultural sector in Liberia by promoting tourism.
She said her organization along with others are promoting Liberian made products to boost the country’s tourism sector to encourage people to support ethnic crafts and indigenous foods as well as promoting local content entrepreneurship in the tourism and hospitality industry.
She explained that in order to improve the arts, craft and culture in Liberia, there is a need to send people to other African countries to observe their arts sectors and the systems and materials they use and apply them to Liberia.
“My dream is to see Liberia designing its own textiles. I also want for Liberian made products to become well known in other countries so we can have international partners coming to buy from us.”
The CEO also encouraged youths and older people to engage in handicraft, clothing, arts, and textile to help develop the country through their skills.
She said there is still much work that needs to be done for the youth to engage and be self employed.
She said the think tank Game Changers Liberia is an NGO that is helping many Liberians get training in the arts crafts so they can work for themselves.
Cllr. Althea Sherman, the General Counsel/Chief Operating Officer of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), has urged Liberians to promote made-in-Liberia goods on the local markets as well as strengthening the business industries of the country.
Madam Sherman said it was important to promote homemade goods in our country, so that they (made-in-Liberia goods) could compete with imported goods on the Liberian market.
NOCAL’s Chief Operating Officer made the commendation on Saturday, December 14, at the Monrovia City Hall, during the opening of the second Annual Liberian Arts, Craft and Culture Festival, held under the theme: “Promoting Local Content Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Tourism Sectors,” organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry with support from the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) in collaboration with the Liberia Coca Cola Bottling Company.
In her address, Madam Sherman explained that the festival is intended to promote and showcase Liberians homemade products of different kinds on the local Market, and thereby drawing the attention of entrepreneurs worldwide.
Madam Sherman said that Liberia has many artifacts to offer the world and that Liberians should begin to promote the works and goods of their local craftsmen.
She said artifacts play a major role in the tourism industry and they also create jobs opportunity for youths in the country.
Cllr. Sherman used the occasion to call on the Members 53rd National Legislatures to help strengthen the country’s tourism sector that would attract international investors to come into the country and invest more in our economy.
Meanwhile, the second Annual Liberian Arts, Craft, and Culture Festival brought together formal and informal business people, Government representatives, as well as civil society organizations in support of their homemade products.