13 September 2017

Liberia: 'Women Have Not Done Enough for Themselves'

Eddie Williams, protocol and communications officer of Grand Bassa County, has urged women and girls to take advantage of every available opportunity to empower themselves. Mr. Williams said, "In terms of decision-making in Liberia, women have not done enough for themselves, citing the number of female lawmakers in the legislature and the number that registered as potential voters with their male counterparts."

"The government of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has done more to empower Liberian women and to give them a voice among the men," Williams added.

He made the observation at the start of a two-day workshop under the auspices of the Buchanan City Women's Initiative for Self Help (WISH)-Liberia Incorporated, held in Buchanan on WISH's nine (9) months project titled: "Rescue My Sister."

The project is a campaign for the abandonment of Female Genital mutilation (FGM) and violence against women and girls in rural communities and to promote and encourage girls to go to school to increase their capacity in decision-making.

The participants were drawn from a cross section of the Liberian society including teachers, community, religious and youth leaders, students, civil society representatives and the Grand Bassa County authority. The participants were taught about the root causes of gender based violence and the harmful effects of FGM, the need to sensitize young girls about the importance of education and the negative impacts of early marriage.

WISH program officer Louise Harvest Hilton, who served as a facilitator, said the project has been a dream of the organization's to advocate for girls in rural communities to turn away from vices that often retard their progress. "I am not against cultural practices; all I am promoting is education. Let them continue their practice, but they should allow the girls to grow up and be mature and decide for themselves where they want to go," Madam Hilton said. She said the FGM practice is executed with harmful instruments that are used on many girls at the same time, which she said cause a myriad of medical conditions for the girls.

Imam Mohammed L. Gaytaweh of the Vai Town mosque in Buchanan, said he wants men to respect the rights of women and treat them with love and kindness. "Let the women have their will, let the women have their freedom. We must give our women free will," he said.

The "Rescue My Sister" project is funded by AmplifyChange-UK and implemented by WISH Liberia Incorporated.

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