By William Lloyd
They come from diverse religious backgrounds but have been joined by purpose—a strong desire to empower fellow women, the ones at the margin of the society and are striving to make it.
It is for this purpose that a group of 25 women from diverse faiths have come together in the Parker Corner community of Brewerville City, Montserrado County, to form the "Skilled Women for Economic Empowerment" Interfaith Peacemaker Team (IP Team).
Led by Elizabeth Nimely, their primary focus is to empower young girls and women in the community with valuable skills.
The formation of this group aligns with the mission of the OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership, which aims to counter religious extremism and religion-based oppression, domination, and violence by addressing social and economic issues.
The institute achieves this by training religious and civil society leaders to form Interfaith Peacemaking Teams in their respective communities. The IP Teams undertake strategic actions that are urgent, relevant, and achievable.
The OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership operates in seven countries, including Liberia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Uganda. With its headquarters in Chicago, USA, the movement has successfully trained over 4,500 peacemakers worldwide. These peacemakers are organized into 226 Interfaith Peacemaker Teams, each consisting of 20 religious and civic leaders.
In Liberia, the OMNIA Institute has trained 200 peacemakers, forming 21 Interfaith Peacemaker Teams in Montserrado, Bomi, and Grand Cape Mount counties.
Elizabeth Nimely, the head of the Skilled Women for Economic Empowerment IP Team, expressed that her participation in OMNIA training inspired her to take action in her community. She realized that her skills as a pastry chef could be used to empower unskilled women. Motivated by this vision, she reached out to other skilled women in her community, engaging them in one-on-one conversations to identify those who shared her passion.
Elizabeth successfully convinced 25 women from diverse religious backgrounds, including Muslim and Christian, as well as women from civil society, to join her in achieving their shared vision of empowering women in their community.
While the IP Team is dedicated to their cause, they face financial constraints. They hope to secure support in the near future to sustain their efforts. In the meantime, the group has taken the initiative to generate income by producing locally made soap for consumers.
Bishop Kortu Brown, the leader of OMNIA-Liberia Team, commended the IP Team's efforts and pledged his support and guidance. Bishop Brown, a former President of the Liberia Council of Churches, believes that if every Liberian organized themselves into various IP Teams, each focusing on different issues, Liberia can become the country its citizens aspire it to be.
The IP Team's initiative has garnered praise for its commendable work. With support from the community and active IP Teams throughout the country, Liberia can continue to experience positive change at the grassroots level.