By Gloria T. Tamba
The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), in collaboration with African Union (AU) Liaison office and the UN Women office in Liberia, are working out modalities for the establishment of a local chapter of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) in the country.
This initiative is in consonance with AWLN Secretariat and the establishment of the Liberia chapter will bring to fruition the ongoing efforts to implement the objectives and goals of the network, which aim to positively impact the lives of ordinary women and girls in the country.
At the end of the two-day AWLN third meeting of the steering committee in Monrovia this week, under the leadership of former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is the patron, a communique was signed with key focus on increasing women’s participation in governance, peace and security, empowering women in agriculture, social mobilization, youth and finances.
Madam Sirleaf, in her statement at that event, cautioned members of AWLN to continue identifying the needs, supports, finances and ways in which they can continue working in the interest of the women and youth of the African continent.
She disclosed that the establishment of the AWLN local chapter in Liberia will contribute immensely to the growth of the network because “Liberia’s chapter will serve as a driving force to the implementation of the aims and objectives of the network, especially with the common goals that will be identified.”
She continued: “Liberia’s chapter is particularly challenged because you have to move beyond the fear and see how you can put all the women together, especially looking at the difficulties our women face. Like the trade; we have to look at the continental free trade areas and principles on trade and make some investment because our women suffer because we don’t have the information, regulations, import permit declarations, etc.”
Discussing women’s participation in politics, she said, “unless we have leadership at all levels and include the young people who can make a difference, we will not have more women because its more than political elections. It’s about moving the political institutions forward and let’s identify trainings and empowerment at all community levels.”
She urged the steering committee to work tirelessly by ensuring that the AWLN national chapters are open in all of the African continent so as to have women playing greater roles in the society.
UN Women Country Representative, Ms. Marie Goreth Nizigama, expressed her organization’s commitment and willingness to open the AWLN Liberia chapter.
“We are really prepared and ready to launch our local chapter in Liberia because there is a need for call to action because the women really need our support, of which we must all all work together to empower them,” she said.
Madame Bineta Diop, the African Union (AU) Special Envoy on women, peace and security, lauded Madam Sirleaf for her endless support in guiding women on the right track and serving as the motivation to the women of Africa.
“We are going to work by ensuring that there is increased participation of women in governance, 50-50 No Women No Vote, support of women candidates in political elections, peace and security with focus on the implementation of UN Security council 1325, capacity building for young women, empowering women in agriculture and social mobilization, will include new technologies, media engagement and educational tools,” she explained.