By Antoinette Sendolo
In an effort to empower women affected by the Ebola virus outbreak, the Young Women Christian Association of Liberia (YWCA) in collaboration with Activa International Insurance Company recently launched a self-sustainable initiative aimed at making women self-reliance.
The project which is being sponsored by Activa International Insurance Company is named “Women In Sustainable Enterprise” and it is intended to provide basic skills and psychosocial training to women in Ebola affected communities in Liberia mainly, Medina, Grand Cape Mount and Tumanburg, Bomi County.
Speaking at the official launch of the project, the National General Secretary of YWCA Madam Roseline K. Toweh, said statistics from recent field assessment shows that over 45 percent of women affected by the virus are faced with stigmatization and discrimination from either their family or community members among others noting that the project will help women improve their lives.
“At the end of the project, women will set up businesses in teams. This model of business will depend on the women supporting each other and utilizing a range of skills which will increase the livelihood of business ceiling. Profits will be shared equally and the women will decide how to divide the work load,” Madam Toweh explained.
She stressed that most women who survived from the virus or lost their husbands are currently faced with some psychosocial problems noting that about sixty women (forty from Cape Mount and 20 from Bomi) are expected to benefit from the project something which she said will help build the capacity of the participants and enable them sustain their families.
“After carefully identifying the numerous challenges faced by Ebola affected women in the two counties, the YWCA of Liberia decided to work with other partners to help deal with some of the challenges Ebola affected women faced on a daily basis,” Mrs. Toweh stated.
For his part, the Managing Director of the ACTIVA International Insurance Company Atty. SayeGbalazeh who officially launched the project, urged the women to take advantage of the project in order to make them self-reliance.
“It is my honor to officially launch the women in sustainable enterprise (WISE) project with US twenty thousand dollars, funding from the ACTIVA Group Foundation. This funding is intended to foster the empowerment of women affected by the virus and help them become independent,” Atty. Gbalazeh asserted.
According to the ACTIVA M.D, the 20 USD given to the YWCA of Liberia is his institution’s way of giving back to the people of Liberia as part of their corporate social responsibilities.
“ACTIVA Group Foundation, the provider of the funding to YWCA of Liberia, is a non-profit arm of ACTIVA Insurance Group with the aim of being a private profit partner working with communities across Africa and the world,” Atty. Gbalazeh noted.
“I sit on the board of the ACTIVA Foundation domiciled in Mauritius. So I was able to push Liberia’s agenda to secure twenty thousand for this project to help build the capacity of women affected by the virus in Liberia,” he added.
At the same time, the Commissioner of Medina Town, Mohammed Kiatamba, defined the WISE project as “a huge development for the people of Medina Town.”
“This is a great initiative and it will be good enough for us to work together to ensure the success of this project,” Kiatamba said.
Meanwhile, YattaDosii, contact person of the Medina Women said in order for the project to be fruitful, it is important for the women to unite stressing that hatred and petty jealousy won’t help.
“Let us unite and do this job. If we work together, this project will help improve our lives,” Madam Dosii stressed.