Top: Women protest for land rental fees in Monrovia. The DayLight/Harry Browne
By Emmanuel Sherman
MONROVIA – Women have been called upon to take up their legal space in community forest leaderships ahead of their elections this year.
Letla Mosenene, team leader of Multi-stakeholder forest Governance and Accountability Programme (MFGAP) urged women to consider their role in forest management key, as they are mentors of their families and are primary users of forest resources.
“Nobody’s going to give them space; they have to take it themselves,” Mosenene said as MFGAP turned over a vehicle to the National Union of Community Forests Development Committee (NUCFDC). The NUCFDC comprises all 11 CFDCs, established by law to represent the interest of communities in the governance of over a million hectares of forestland across the country.
Women are guaranteed at least a seat on community forest development committees across the country under the National Forestry Reform Law of Liberia. However, that has not been the reality. Of the 230 members of the leaderships of communities affected logging permits awarded by the government, just 52 or 23 percent are women, according to the National Union for Community Forest Development Committee (NUCFDC). Only one community leadership is headed by a woman, Ruth Milton. Just two other women Betty Tarwoe and Tupee Zolue are co-chairpersons of their respective leaderships, while four communities do not have a woman in their leadership.
“We are aware that there will be lots of elections taking place this year and instead of them hiring vehicles to participate they have their vehicle now,” Mosenene said as she handed the keys of the Toyota Hilux pickup to the NUCFDC at a short ceremony at her Sinkor office.
“All they need to do is to service it correctly, put in gasoline and take off to supervise the elections,” she added.
Vincent Doe, president of the NUCFDC said the gesture was timely and will ease the transportation difficulty of the union. “We have been facing a lot of difficulties in terms of transportation to meet other affected communities. Today, that we have gotten a raw [vehicle] from our partner that is always there, is a plus for us,” Doe said.
The vehicle was donated to the NUCFDC by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) UKaid, through MFGAP, its forest-governance implementing partner in Liberia.