By. Leila B. Gbati
The Eminent Women Training Activities in Montserrado County were completed over the weekend by Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security (ABIC) and ZOA.
The Women Situation Room (WSR), a flagship initiative created by ABIC in collaboration with ZOA and supported by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, includes the Eminent Women Training Activities.
The project “Sustainable and inclusive peace in Liberia through promoting women’s leadership and involvement in civic and political life and their stronger role in conflict resolution” includes the Eminent Women’s Training.
However, the concluding ceremony, which was held at the Cecil Dennis Auditorium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Capitol Hill, brought together women and youth leaders from ten villages surrounding Montserrado County.
The Establishment Coordinator of ABIC, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, informed the women in her closing remarks that since they are Liberians, they are accountable for maintaining peace and that there is no place like their country or for them like Liberia.
The fact that the women were able to learn from and pay attention to what ABIC taught them during the session excited Cllr. Wureh.
She said that the ladies had learnt and demonstrated their potential for change, highlighting the fact that there is no capacity larger than the capacity to change for the better.
You’ve proven to us that you can take in. This program will continue, and our partners will continue to help us because it is crucial. “My people, a war has already been declared. The incidents we had on July 26 and the day after I don’t have to tell you because you can already see it,” she added.
Cllr. Wureh urged the mothers to keep explaining to their kids that while protesting and trying to make a point is perfectly OK because it is their right, it should be done quietly without being attacked with stones or shot at.
“March the next day if you don’t like what they are advocating for. Liberia and this democracy are involved. Since they are marching, there is no need to throw stones at anyone, she said.
The ABIC Establishment Coordinator also reminded the women leaders that they are the ones who keep the peace in closing. As a result, whenever they are present in their respective communities, they defuse tension.
She pledged that ABIC would continue to assist the ladies since they have a country to establish and control over Liberia’s peace.
In a special speech, the chair of the ABIC board of directors, Hon. Olubanke King-Akerele, also spoke and advised the women to support the young people who are the next generation because they will rule Liberia after them.
The Honorable King also urged them to maintain Liberia’s operande, or method of doing things, while working to change the country.
You cannot keep pulling down your home; you must have some pride and dignity, she reminded the ladies of Liberia, adding that “ABIC will have to undertake some mental training so that people may change their perspective.” Where is our self-respect? We should be ashamed of what the United States just did to us because it violates our sense of decency.
Hon. King asserted that if Liberians do not adapt, they will not advance, stressing that even inside the community, individuals should love one another and work to uplift one another.
She took the opportunity to thank the women and notable women of the WSR for their contributions to the program and to urge the women to maintain peace because it is in their hands.
Cllr. Pearl Brown-Bull, an Eminent Woman of the WSR, stated in her speech that the Eminent Women Training has brought about a shift that the women, including paramount chiefs and clean chiefs, are already speaking out as a result.
She claims that some of the ladies have already gained the attention of local officials simply by speaking up.
You have the power to make a difference and put an end to the bloodshed before the 2023 elections if you stand up and take charge. She declares, “We are proud of you all, from Bong to Montserrado County.”
Additionally, Mr. John Dennis from the United Nations PeaceBuilding Fund (UNPBF) praised the Eminent Women of the WSR for their assistance with the project in a special speech, stressing that it was because of their efforts that the initiative was able to produce positive results.
According to Mr. Dennis, the UNPBF will keep funding the project, but this time it will be carried out under the heading “Peaceful Election Environment,” and ABIC will collaborate closely with UNDP.
He claims that although the project’s final draft will be sent to New York, it has already been authorized due to the excellent job done by ABIC and the coordination provided by the project’s female communities.
He pointed out that there has been some change and it is not just here in Montserrado but also in Bong county, given the assertion made by the women leaders of the ten communities that some of those areas were violent prior to the implementation of the program.
Mr. Dennis said that they were pleased to be a part of the program as a whole and that it had been a success.
He came to the conclusion that the UNPBF also has partners who are collaborating with other programs in an effort to increase coordinated efforts and guarantee that Liberians continue to enjoy the peace they currently enjoy. He came to the conclusion that there might be possible violence in the run-up to elections, and the only way to stop it would be to keep ABIC strong enough to continue the program. UNPBF will continue to work with ABIC as long as it continues to support Liberia.
The women leaders praised ABIC, ZOA, and UNPBF for the program and urged them to continue it because it had opened their eyes, speaking about the project’s effects in their respective areas.
Various forms of violence, particularly violence against women, were being committed against the women, according to the project’s participants, but thanks to the program’s intervention, they are now able to stand up for their rights and speak out against issues that are affecting them in their communities and homes.
The women admitted to ABIC that before the program, they had never had the bravery to speak up in front of a group of people, especially among their male counterparts, but that now they were fearless and had the confidence to do so. The women added that because Liberia is all they have, they are using the initiative to assume leadership roles in their communities and teach the youth to abstain from violence.
Cllr. Frances Johnson-Allison, Maureen Shaw, Korpo Howard, and ZOA Country Director, Jaa Van Kranenburg were among the distinguished women who attended the program.