…. As ABIC, ZOA and partners launched Sustainable and Inclusive Peace in Liberia to promote women’s leadership and participation in politics
By: Leila B. Gbati
The Establishment Coordinator of Angie Brooks International Centre, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh has called for women unity to lift Liberia.
Cllr. Wureh made the call over the weekend when ZOA and Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) along with partners launched the Sustainable and Inclusive Peace project in Liberia.
With funding from United Nation Peacebuilding (UNPB) the project through promoting women’s leadership and participation in civic and political life is expected to strengthen their role in conflict resolution.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, which was held at Bella Casa Hotel in Sinkor, Cllr. Wureh said one of the problems women in politics face is that they come out too late with their ambition and when that happens they are not able to do anything before elections.
She said that the other thing is to get women motivated to come forward because of the male dominant society. “They feel that they should not be seen nor heard, we are going to change that and make sure that the voices of women are heard”.
“We are going to be heard, we are going to step forward and women are going to support women, we started that with Botoe Kanneh and Edith Gongloe-Wleh with the Lappa Revolution which has started and my people are not going to stop, Cllr. Wureh said.
She indicated that the partnership between ZOA and the Women Situation Room has not just started but has successfully been done as such ZOA uses if “appreciative inquiry” which according to her is something they are all looking forward to because she said it is a methodology that ZOA uses to protect the voices of women continuously.
“We are excited about it and are looking forward to inclusion in this project, both ZOA and ABIC are not talkers but doers, we accomplished what we set up to do and we are telling you the inclusion of women and appreciative inquiry. These are things you are about to see happening. You will see women step up to the front,” she said.
She noted that women promote coexistence and peaceful conflict resolution among political actors as the aftermath of the midterm senatorial elections has shown. She said authorities and traditional leaders have improved conception and commitment to women participation in politics and leadership, which are the two major level outcomes. Cllr. Wureh said they want to actually get women to start thinking now ahead of 2023 and to get them understand and step upfront now.
The ABIC Coordinator further said that the project is important because it is transformational in terms of how they are going ahead to solidify national agenda, emphasizing that the United Nation Peace Building Fund (UNPB) has recognized the need for women to participate not only in political process but also in mediation and peace building.
She maintained that when women lead things happen and there are changes that happen in Africa when women lead. Women are disruptors when they lead and not only that they build and make changes.
According to her the peace building fund has recognized the uniqueness of ZOA and ABIC and ZOA has appreciative inquiry which is something that is utilized to have inclusive dialogue with people as they go along, which she said it is a necessity as they look toward peace building.
The Liberian stateswoman also disclosed that the project is geared towards supporting meetings with traditional leaders to have them recognizing the inclusiveness of women in political processes.
Cllr. Wureh concluded by saying ABIC is excited to be in partnership with ZOA and appreciative of the fact that the UNPBF decided to fund the project to make a difference which she assured that they are going to make a difference.
Also speaking at the occasion the Manager of program quality control at ZOA, Marleen Spieker said that they started the project with ABIC because they believe women are strong leaders and they play key role in politics and make right decisions for the whole society.
Madam Spieker indicated that women are also great peace makers and they are the ones who can mediate conflict and resolve conflict, as such they have a key role in society. Madam Spieker said they have recognized the fact that women have many barriers that prevent them from fully participating in society.
“So we are happy that we are here today to do something about it and see how we can support these women to become more active and to take a leading role in society and to make Liberia a bit more better.
She added that when they talk about women not just few but from different backgrounds whether young or old, “We all need them to make Liberia a better society and to make it a valuable place for all of us to live”.
“We are happy that we can kick start this project in the right way. Thanks to ABIC, UNPB and to all the women local CSO and ZOA, we will work really hard to make this project successful.
Representing CSOs, the Program Manager of the Young Women Christian Academy (YWCA), Sarnor A. Saul stressed that it is known that where there is a woman there is magic and women have strength within them.
She said what women need from the world is to be recognized and also change wrong perception about the strength of a woman. She said it is no longer the time that women sit home and take care of children but she said it has reached a point for women to take the lead and be change makers in peace building and conflict resolution.
She thanked ZOA, ABIC and UNPB fund for choosing them as implementing partners, which they look forward to a cordial working relationship.
The ceremony was graced by both the private and public sectors, rural and traditional women and leaders from CSOs, women organizations and the government of Liberia.
The project is meant to provide intervention to the aftermath of the December 2020 mid-term senatorial elections, and the constitutional referendum. The project also provides interventions towards the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections in Bong and Montserrado Counties.
ZOA and ABIC together aim to promote women’s leadership and participation in civic and political life, as well as strengthen their role in conflict prevention, resolution, among others. The project through the Women Situation Room (WSR) mechanism and basic Appreciative Inquiry (AI) seeks to enhance women’s capacity and agencies within the political, civic and mediation spaces. The project is in line with the ‘Strategic Roadmap for National Peace building, Healing and Reconciliation.