The founder and chief executive officer of the not-for-profit organization, Helping Impact Liberia (HIL), Paulita Wie, says the three-day conference (Dec. 6-8) that revised the Liberia Women’s Manifesto Framework – 2017 provided the foundation for women to understand strategies to involve them in the governance of the country.
She told the Daily Observer in an interview yesterday that the conference, held in Monrovia, which benefitted over 150 women, a majority of whom came from rural Liberia, exposed them to essential tools necessary for nation building.
“The Manifesto was initially held in 2005 to ensure that women are aware of everything that goes with elections and how women can use their knowledge and skills to come into the mainstream to acquire recognition of their participation in the country’s governance,” she said.
Ms. Wie, who is a representative aspirant for Montserrado District #9, said the four themes discussed at the conference included empowering women in the economy, healthy families, safe communities and political rights and leadership (women’s participation).
With over ten years experience in social advocacy, Ms. Wie said now that she is turning her attention to get involved in politics, the discussions on political rights and leadership that involves women’s participation exposed her to strategies useful to her objectives.
She said she was also encouraged by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, US Ambassador Christine Elder and Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell. Also in attendance was veteran educator and women’s rights promoter, Mother Mary Brownell.
Ms. Wie noted that she was impressed with President Sirleaf’s statement at the conclusion of the conference that she would give women her fullest support as they work as hard as possible in their pursuit of national leadership roles.
She said although Ambassador Elder spoke on anti-social behaviors, such as rape and violence against women, her statement of admiration for Liberian women’s determination to do everything to lead the next generation was encouraging and gave her food for thought.
“I learned a lot from strategies during the plenary sessions with groups, particularly from rural communities and I am developing my own strategies to encourage women’s togetherness and the means to create opportunities for our development,” she said.
Ms. Wie said Madam Ruth Caesar, one of the organizers, who also spoke at the occasion, impressed her, especially when she pointed out that their consultations were meant to identify strategies that could be used as their platforms to address critical issues facing women when it comes to competing with their male counterparts during the 2017 elections.
The Liberian Women’s Manifesto Framework – 2017 came about in 2005 before Liberia’s first elections in that year. It was the time when Liberian women came together and developed a policy framework document aimed at identifying and making policy recommendations to government.
This year’s conference was organized by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with funding from USAID.