By Antoinette Sendolo
The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with UN-Women yesterday officially launched a Joint Program on accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women in the country.
The launch of the rural women empowerment program which was held in the conference room of the Ministry of Gender is intended to improve nutrition, security and sustain women livelihoods by creating, supporting and developing rural women’s led enterprises, supporting women’s role along the chains and promoting their linkages to high value markets.
Giving the overview of the project, the project coordinator of the Rural Women Empowerment program, madam Naomi saydee, said the project seeks to ensure a more gender responsive policy environment for the economic empowerment of rural women and a policy reform for the effective enforcement of rural women’s land rights and their access to decent wage employment, social protection and infrastructure.
Madam saydee noted that the project will also help support rural women enhance leadership and participation in rural institutions and in shaping laws, policies and programs in order to promote their agency in rural producer organizations, and in local governance.
Speaking during the ceremony, Gender Minister Julia DucanCassell said the rural women empowerment project will restore what has been lost from rural women stressing that rural women play an important role when it comes to agriculture and food security in Liberia.
The Minister added that rural women in the country have played a major role in developing the rural areas stressing that there is a need for them to be empowered.
At the same time the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Charles McClain said that there are up to seventy percent of those involved in agriculture who are rural women and they carry a huge burden.
Mr. McClain noted that the involvement of rural women in the development process is welcoming and significant adding that the Ministry of Agriculture will be actively involved in order to strengthen gender equality in the agricultural sector.
For her part, WFP Country Representative, AdamaDiop-faye emphasized the empowerment of rural women as being keen and significant to the development of Liberia.
The WFP representative noted that rural women in the country are faced with several challenges adding that there is a need for those challenges to be addressed through a comprehensive approach.
Speaking on behalf of the rural women, the national president of the Rural Women Structure, Madam Kebbeh Monger, extended thanks to the Ministry of Gender and UN-Women for the initiative noting that they have always wished for such program.
Madam Monger called on all rural women to take advantage of the project noting that the project will be a turning point for women involved in agriculture.
Meanwhile, Geraldine Doe-Sheriff who officially launched the project said the initiative is a five-year plan intended to increase the economic status of rural women across the country.
She stressed that it is important to support rural women for sustainable development something she said will help empower the younger generation.