As part of efforts to improve ability to train on gender equality, development and women’s land rights, the Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) has completed the capacity-building of 29 men and women from various civil society organizations (CSOs), government’s ministries and agencies as well as community’s representatives.
The Training of Trainers (ToT) on gender equality and women’s land rights, held at a resort in Monrovia, is aimed at improving participants’ knowledge on gender equality, land tenure and women’s land rights for development and socio-legal perspectives.
According to LGSA, the training is also intended to enhance the understanding and application of gender dimensions in their land rights work and better comprehension of key provisions of the Land Rights Act and family laws pertaining to women’s land rights and land governance.
Dr. Yohannes Gebremedhin, Chief of Party of the Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA), said discrimination and monopoly continues to exist in other societies in the world, including land issues, but the degree of the situation varies.
Dr. Gebremedhin indicated that social and legal issues, including marriage, inheritance, employment, and divorce continue to be a serious problem in many societies, thereby leading to discrimination.
He said discussions of gender equality and women’s land rights should be redefined on the discriminatory activities and practices. Dr. Gebremedhin further said the desired results can be achieved when women become aware of their Constitutional Rights and also become capable to change the status imbalance.
According to him, even the provision of Constitutional and primary legislations do not make it easy to circumvent the deeply discriminatory norms and practices, because societies confirm it in the face of power imbalance.
“It is not debatable that such discriminatory activities need to be changed. We all know that the desirable change cannot be achieved overnight. This will be achieved with seriousness and persistence. The society as a whole must start the discussions and I believe that it has started already,” Dr. Gebremedhin said.
Commissioner Ruth Jappah of the Law Reform Commission and a participant said the training provided participants the proper direction in advocating for the women of Liberia on land rights and gender equality.
“Women’s land rights is new in Liberia but the more opportunity to talk about it, especially to the front burner, the better it becomes for the people. Women’s land rights are here to stay and they have to be the championed to ensure that the people are educated,” she said.
According to Madam Jappah, women make of 50 percent and it is unfortunate to depend on the other 50 percent of men for sustenance.
Commissioner Atty. Adams Manobah, acting chairman of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), called on the women to be strong in their advocacy. He reminded them about the importance of gender equality, equity and the war against discrimination.
“The challenge now is telling our zoes to consult with the women and the young girls regarding land issues, especially in the rural parts of the country. We are aware that achieving women’s rights in Liberia will take longer time, due to mindset of our society,” Commissioner Manobah said.
According to him, land rights alone have brought total change to Liberia, especially to women and communities.
“You have to be the change you want to see in society first, because men are not going against women only because they are women, but it’s first between woman and woman. You have to confront the norms that exist in our society before the society can be changed,” he said.
Ellen Pratt, Commissioner on Land Use and Planning at the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), expressed gratitude to the women for participating in such important training.
“You have shown how passionate you are about women’s rights and gender equality. Our champions (the women) already know what they want to do, but just need the support. We need to keep up the momentum and the LLA’s doors will always be opened to you,” Commissioner Pratt said.
Meanwhile, the 5-day training brought 26 women and three men, who were empowered to provide training on gender equality and development and women’s rights.