Liberia: Sisteraid Liberia Launches Watershed Innovation Leadership Clinic

The core barriers battling gender parity in political leadership positions and the active political life of women are steep and deep.

This situation requires CLINICAL intervention.

To this end, Sister AID Liberia (SALI) with support of UN WOMEN and funding from the Canadian Government over the weekend, launched a Women Political Empowerment and Leadership CLINIC at SALI's new headquarters.

The CLINIC is a major component of the SALI/UN WOMEN-Supported increase Women Political Empowerment and Leadership Project.

The clinic will focus on capacity-building, technical assistance, and alliance building.

Other services that will be available at the LEADERSHIP CLINIC include Capacity Building of women candidates campaign teams, and technical assistance led by eight technical experts who will provide hands-on support to candidates and campaign teams.

Constituency Research and Strategy, Partnership and Alliance Building, and Campaign Operations and Management; and C) fostering of partnership, alliances, and engagements with political parties and election of women candidates while addressing underlying causes to rigid traditional norms and social mores against women politicians and leaders.

Serving as keynote speaker, UN Women's Representative, Loretta Pope Kai admonished the participant and SisterAid for the organization of the empowerment clinic.

Madam Kai said the issue of women's participation is not the burden of women, but an issue that should be supported by the system.

She noted that if the system does not support women and see them as stakeholders or see women as key decision-makers, women participation will not be successful.

She stated that the promotion of women's leadership has to be demanding because it comes with a lot of responsibility.

She further cautions women that participation in politic requires visibility, fluent speaking, and marketing one's self.

"We all should push for transparency and accountability for the system to push for us but when we pushing for the system to work for us we need to develop ourselves," Madam Kai noted.

For her part, the Chief launcher of the clinic, Assistant Gender Minister for Children and Social Protection, Maminah Carr-Gaye expressed delight over the initiative and said the women political empowerment clinic is a historical program and the first of its kind in the country.

She, at the same time appreciated UN women and the Canadian Embassy for their support toward Sister Aid for the launch of the women empowerment and leadership clinic in the country.

"I am overjoyed and very happy to be the one to launch this program. This is a historical program, I don't see nowhere around the country I have seen this historical event," Minister Carr-Gaye averred.

Providing an overview of the program, the SisterAid Liberia Executive Director, Miatta Darwolor Thomas said the initiatives are efforts to promote women participation in politics as they continue to battle what she described as "deeply rooted barrels," including the low capacity of women participation in the leadership contest, among others.

Madam Thomas explained that based on the problematic issue affecting gender-parity, the personal level which mainly scopes capacity-building issues among others, SisterAid believes the situation needs clinical intervention.

She said the project has three components, including leadership clinic, capacity building, and technical assistance, public outreach, and education among others.

"We designed this women's political empowerment and leadership clinic to address the situation of women's participation in political matters," Madam Thomas said.

Meanwhile, the launch was followed by an intensive three-day training covering core competence tracks in women's political empowerment and leadership, including campaign research, strategy-making, operational planning, budgeting, fundraising, campaign operations, and management.

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