‘Women Coalition For County Development’ Launched
A local women organization aimed at contributing and fostering equal participation for economic development of all most especially women towards the implementation of the County Development Funds has been launched in Monrovia.
Women Coalition for County Development also focuses on efforts of mechanism to campaign and address the low [participation of women and to push for actions to help close existing gender gaps in the management of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF).
The group envisions a better and peaceful society where women, men, boys and girls have a voice in economic governance and equal opportunity to resources is currently coordinating women in seven (7)of Liberia’s fifteen counties with plans to spread out and ensure other women join the campaign. Those counties include Bomi, Bong, Margibi, Nimba, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, and Montserrado Counties respectively.
According to the Women CSDF Group, Liberia needs to take steps in addressing inequalities that endanger the lives of women and girls which further narrow opportunities for issues about women’s rights, security, peace and capturing development in National and local policies and programs.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia Thursday, the National Coordinator, Miatta Darwolo-Thomas indicated that the County Social Development Fund requires an open process that allows citizens to give their views on the direction of development at the County level which she noted will yield better results and ensure the CSDF is more responsive to the needs of citizens including women and girls.
A baseline survey recently conducted by the Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) shows that only 32 of 381pheral respondents acknowledged awareness of the CSDF, of the 32, only 6 acknowledged the impact CSDF is making in their communities.
The survey indicated that there is a deficit of gender sensitivity on impact of the CSDF which points towards little investment in market structures, hospitals, schools and playgrounds for children.
Miatta mentioned that the outcome of the baseline survey unraveled that the structure of the CSDF governance, county sitting delegate selection, participation of women and opportunities to make the process gender-responsive is minimal noting that it calls for an urgent remedy.
“The CSDF is for all citizens, thus it will benefit us, women, in particular, if we have a permanent seat and voice in the county sitting to articulate our issues because we are aware of burning issues that concern women across the counties.
She pointed out proper education and access to information for women across the country is a critical issue that needs to be addressed by policymakers and relevant authorities. “ Women’s unlimited knowledge and about the County Social Development Fund will send a strong message to the rest of Liberia that we are ready and prepare to do and see positive things for our country.”
Miatta said the group is prepared to engage and work with the National Legislature, Caucuses Superintendents, the CSDF teams to shape the development agenda and how the participation of all can benefit the process. “We must join hands together to develop our counties and the larger Liberian Society. To do so, women must have a strong voice and presence in decision making around the CSDF.
The group called on women around the country to take a keen interest in the process leading to the implementation of the County Social Development Fund which they describe as a human right to benefit equally from the process. “We anticipate collaborating with the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, and Women NGO Secretariat (WONGOSOL) that the coalition in these counties and we look forward to building broader partnerships as we drive this campaign for women’s increased qualitative involvement in the management of the CSDF.”
Miatta lauded partners and sponsors for their continuous efforts in ensuring women participate in campaigns and processes that will promote governance and foster economic development throughout the country.
The Women Coalition for County Development is sponsored by the United Nations Democracy Fund through a project implemented by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) and partners including the Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI) and the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESPS).
LIWOMAC won a grant in 2018 to provide training on mainstreaming gender with specific focus on building women groups’ capacities to form part of processes leading to observance of human rights and governance.