A local women organization, Community Women Empowerment Organization (COWEO) will on December 22, 2018 host its 6th annual convention in Kolba City, Kolahun District.
Established in September 2012 in Kolahun, COWEO is working to ensure girls and women have access and control over economic resources as well as create the enabling environment to form part of decision making that affects their communities and livelihoods. Currently, the organization is working with over 80 women groups in three administrative districts including, Kolahun, Wanhassa and Lukambeh.
COWEO, as part of its annual festivities will on Saturday, December 22, 2018 hosts its six annual reporting events before the gathering of over 3000 membership most of whom are women.
Speaking in an interview from Kolahun, the head of the group Varmah Sayndee said the annual event will be followed by the launch of a new skill building projects. He said the skill building project will be used to provide small skill training for women in livelihood production, simple calculation methods and management of marital homes.
According to him, the essence of the annual reporting convention is intended to promote transparency and accountability and clear doubts where necessary. “We normally use this event to report before everyone so that they can have an understanding of what their contributions are and how much they are entitled to based on their savings”, he disclosed.
Mr. Sayndee bragged about increased in the annual savings of members, adding, they are likely to generate over LD$20 million this year. “Our intake may target around 15 million Liberian Dollars this year”, he said.
Meanwhile, Varmah Sayndee aka Varma’s club has called on members of COWEO to see unity as the way forward for sustainability and progress. He called on his people to love one another and see politics as their enemies, adding, politics has the propensity to destroy dreams.
The formation of COWEO in Kolahun is seen by many as hope for marginalized women, especially single mothers. Women of Kolahun like many parts of Liberia have suffered some of the worst form of exclusions. With COWEO, Kolahun women see themselves as resurrecting and keeping their dreams alive. Most times, some of them save up to 30-40 thousand Liberian dollars as personal saving. This among is often kept in safe places until during the annual convention when distribution takes place with each person happily taking home appreciable amount for reinvestments.
These activities have been taken place since 2012 with fewer complaints of mismanagement. Women of this group are seen making tremendous progress in livelihood production and family management. Some have transitioned from sleeping on mats to the mattress, while others are helping their husbands in maintaining their homes.
Another fascinating part of COWEO is, it helps guide husband and wife/wives through dialogues on how they can work together to improve their households. At the same time, it endeavors to repair broken marriages or relationships between spouses.
“We don’t just save money and divide at the end of the year, we also help to repair broken marriages and provides guidance to spouse on how to manage their home affairs, founder and Executive Director Varma Sayndee stated.
The village saving loans have indeed put smiles on the faces of women. A lady identified as Yawah Joseph boasted of having her own properties and making the decision for activities that impact her life. She explained how she had been able to build her own house with proceeds from her yearly savings. “I have built my own house in my hometown Kamatahun with my own money”, Yawah emotionally expressed.
“Our success stories include widow’s improvement, advocacy for women, separated or single mothers sponsoring their kids in school or community colleges, putting together broken homes and promote peace and unity in communities”, Varmah narrated.
COWEO like other local organizations is not free from constraints. The organization operates with a single motorcycle. It has no vehicle and no donor support, even though it is impacting the lives of thousands of women. The Executive Direct hopes to receive aid from donor agencies and local and international women organizations. “We need help, especially capacity building and logistics.
Those women you see are determined to make progress and some are even willing to sit in the classroom”, he further pleaded.