Banner Image: Miatta Pratt, a member of the Gola Konneh Community Forest displays meeting minutes she attends. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue
By Varney Kamara
MONROVIA – Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI) has embarked on the training for civil society organizations in Monrovia for the enhancement of women’s participation in the country’s natural resource sector.
Liberia has passed laws guaranteeing the participation of women in the country’s natural resource management, including the Land Rights Act of 2018, the Forestry Reform Law of 2006, and the Community Rights Law of 2009 with Respect to Forest Land. However, only a few women participate in governance activities across the extractive sector, pushing stakeholders to rethink ways to increase their number.
“Women’s issues are national issues. They are societal problems,” said Cerue Konah, facilitator and gender specialist at the Carter Center, at a daylong training on Friday held at the LEITI headquarters in Monrovia. “This meeting is intended to give stronger voices to women in the national resource governance sector and hence, we must take actions such as reviewing the laws and policies to reflect our collective desire for change.”
Despite the laws, the patriarchal nature of the Liberian society has posed hindrances to women’s exerting their rights, according to a report by Client Earth, an international environmental law charity, last year. In order to guarantee enhanced women’s participation, it suggests a thorough analysis of the formulation of laws and policies on the environment, including regulations that strengthen these efforts.
“One of the ways for us to end marginalization against women is providing education,” said C. Mike Doryan, Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the chairman of the multi-stakeholder group (MSG), the LEITI’s board of directors. “Let’s look at the laws and policies and see how we can empower our women so that they can influence things in the society.”
Participants expressed their desire to work together in order to make women’s empowerment a reality.
“I expect that women’s voices will be strengthened in the natural resource sector of this country after this training,” said Teresa Viskinda, president of the Liberia Labor Congress (LLC. “I am also here to ensure that we take this message to all labor unions across this country.”
“My expectation is that this meeting will help to identify the role of the youths, especially young women, in managing the supply access to the state’s natural resources,” added Banica Elliot of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY).