According to the Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) statistics from the presidential and general elections in 2011 —with the exception of general statistics produced by the National Election Commission and other organizations— showed that women’s participation was not fully recorded.
WONGOSOL’s focus during the upcoming senatorial elections will be to increase participation and awareness among women. Their aim is to ensure that female voters are more informed about their candidates, their rights and the electoral processes.
In order to attain the project objective, WONGOSOL will implement several activities ranging from tool development of specific indicators to monitor women’s participation throughout the electoral process, to holding consultative meetings on project awareness. They will also conduct leadership training for female leaders and conduct community outreach programs, regional forums, while taking part in monitoring and observation on Election Day. There are plans to produce a documentary on women’s participation in the process as well.
These projects which will be sponsored by IREX and are to be implemented in seven project counties including Grand Bassa, Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Gedeh, Montserrado and River Gee.
The project is expected to be implemented within the period of 8 months.
The disclosure was made yesterday when the organization in collaboration with IREX and its partners held a one day workshop with women organizations across Liberia.
The workshop under the women’s political participation awareness was held in the conference hall of the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) and brought together 28 participants.
In an interview with this paper, Rosanna Schaack, a participant from Touching Humanity In Need of Kindness (THINK) Inc., said the workshop is important since it will give participants the basic skills necessary to increase participation amongst women in the electoral processes.
“Some of the issues that were responsible for the low participation of women last election were the lack of financial support and degrading behavior from other people.
We are encouraging women to acquire more knowledge so they can track down information in regards to issues affecting women.
We are hoping after this leadership workshop, the whole idea of women’s leadership will not go down the drain. That is why we are constantly pushing for their participation in as many activities as possible,” she said.
Also speaking was Josiah F. Joekai, Jr., Director for Civic and Voter Education at the National Election Commission. Mr. Joekai said the step taken by WONGOSOL and IREX is important because it helps prepare women for elections.
“With this platform they should come to understand their role in Liberia’s democracy. They should become aware that we all have a responsibility to transform the country. The results from this year’s voter roll update, taken from 100% registered voters, shows women represent 37%, while men comprises of 63% of the total number. This shows that women are moving forward and taking responsibility,” Mr. Joekai concluded.