Feminist Humanitarian Network Launched

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Women at the launch of the Feminist Humanitarian Network in Monrovia on Thursday August 22, 2019.

-Promote Women’s humanitarian Initiatives

The Liberia Feminist Humanitarian Network, collective of local and national organizations, has launched a network aimed at promoting women’s rights organizations to contribute to Humanitarian responses in Liberia and other parts of the world.

The Feminist Humanitarian Network (FHN) is an international collective of local and national organizations, international organizations, academic institutions, and individuals committed to transforming the humanitarian system I a way that promotes a feminist humanitarian agenda.

The launch of the FHN was held on Thursday August 22, 2019 at the Millennium Guest House in Congo Town. The program, marked by a panel discussion, brought together leaders of several local and international organizations.

The organizations included the National Rural Women of Liberia, the Women in Peace-building Network, Liberia Feminist Forum (LFF), the National Civil Society Council, and the National Union of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities, International Rescue Committee and 50/50 Group of Sierra Leone.

Naomi Tulay-Solanke said the goal of the network is to strengthen the agency and amplify the voices of all women most affected by and least supported in humanitarian emergencies.

Mrs. Tulay-Solanke, member of the FHN, said they have recognized that the existing humanitarian system does not adequately respond to the specific and disproportionate needs of women in crisis or recognize their leadership.

“Together, we are committed to redressing the power inequalities in the humanitarian system by ensuring those who identify as women are at the center of leading and delivering humanitarian action,” Tulay-Solanke said.

According to her, the vision is to transform the humanitarian sector at all levels into a sector that is led by feminist principles, that listens to, is accountable to, and is accessible to women and their organizations in all of their diversity and challenges and doesn’t reinforce structural inequalities.

She said the network is working to achieve four major objectives: “To proactively encourage and support women’s rights actors and movements to contribute their expertise in humanitarian spaces and responses; to convene women to collectively build feminist leadership and share evidence and learning, which transforms and acknowledges the roles of women in humanitarian spaces and responses; to influence governments and other stakeholders to increase resources to women’s rights actors and movements for work in their areas of expertise; and to work with women’s rights actors and movements to promote humanitarian advocacy based on feminist principles.”

Kebbeh Monger, president of the Rural Women Association called on international Non-governmental Organizations to increase support to women, while indicating that “every woman is important and working with Liberian women will bring change.”

Madam Monger said in the absence of degrees, Liberian women should be given the opportunity, because they can still play a special role to help in the development of Liberia.

“You say Liberian women do not have the capacities to implement programs, but depend on them to give you all he information needed to support your work. You move to the various communities and recruit them to work, yet you refuse to give the funds because, according to you, they don’t have the capacities,” Madam Monger said referencing international organizations implementation programs in Liberia.

“We sell our greens and peppers to send you people to school… come and empower us to help ourselves. We are strong and prepare to work if given the chance,” Madam Monger said.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) Country Director, Faith Cooper, expressed support to the Liberian women for the establishment of the organization that will give women the space to perform humanitarian services.

Madam Cooper said humanitarian response during a disaster is a moral responsibility of every individual, irrespective of their gender.

She pledged the support of her organization in promoting humanitarian response but wants the local organizations to increase their visibility to ensure their partnership with international organizations.

“If you want to hold the international organizations’ feet to the fire, we are also going to hold your feet to the fire to do more, especially transparency. We have to shift to a new level, especially shift our thinking,” Madam Cooper told women at the launch.

Director Cooper said called on both local and international organizations to take ownership of the feminist humanitarian organization by cooperating fully to achieve its goal and vision.

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