Rural women explain tales of how peace hut project impacts lives
Women in Weala Margibi County were seen in a joyous mood on Saturday, March 24 when a high-powered delegation headed by the Swedish Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman of the UN Peace Building Commission in Liberia, Olof Skooj visited them.
Ambassador Skooj, who was accompanied by officials of UN Women, UNMIL and Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Lewis Brown had gone to get a first-hand experience on how rural women are benefiting from the Peace Hut Project. The project was supported by UN Women and a host of other partners, including Sweden and UNMIL.
The Peace Hut Project is a community-driven structure created by the various women-based organizations that had led mass action for peace in Liberia to continue to empower women, provide them with a space in which their voices could be heard on priority issues.
The Peace Hut Project also focused on reconciliation and peacebuilding processes and to address specific security needs regarding sexual and gender-based violence and economic empowerment.
At an interactive forum held at the Peace Hut, the women lauded UN Women and partners and noted that the project positively impacted on their lives.
Sharing her success story, Hawa Kango said the training she acquired along with the village saving project has been helpful to her and the family.
Madam Kango said she started the business with just LD$500 in 2016 and now operates a shop.
“With the LD$500 from the village savings, I started to sell peanuts on my head. From there, I added plantain and other things. By the grace of God, the LD$500 business I started in 2016, today I have a shop,” she said.
She added “My husband and I can pay our children’s school fees and take care of our family. Today I can proudly say that I am self-employed. Interestingly, my shop is called Surprise Business Center, because I came from nowhere to somewhere.”
Fatu Coleman, chairperson of the Women Peace Hut Project said “The village saving helps a lot. Money generated is used to support our children, pay their school fees and provide other important needs.”
Ambassador Skoog said he was impressed with the level of progress the women have made in promoting peace and pledged Sweden and the UN’s commitments toward the Peace Hut Project.
“I am very happy and proud that my country Sweden is supporting you and I want you to know that we will continue to be here with you, the United Nations is here with you and I feel very good about Liberia’s future when I see all of you,” he said.
Ramon Garway, UN Women Program Manager for Women’s Economic Empowerment told the visiting guests that the women through the support of UN Women, civil society groups and the Government of Liberia are now playing a key role in ending violence against women including domestic violence, gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, and abuse as well as the involvement in economic empowerment.
For her part, Margibi County Gender Coordinator, Danilette D. Asilton called for more support for women empowerment, adding that for a nation to be empowered, women have to be empowered.