Source: Liberian Observer
The Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) has concluded a one day training for female political aspirants and civil society organizations in Monrovia under the “Funding Opportunities for Women Project” with the aim of empowering participants to engage and participate in democratic processes in the build up to the 2017 presidential and representative elections.

The project is in the second of its five year lifespan. The training was supported by OXFAM with funds from the Government of Netherlands and was held under the theme “Enhancing Women’s Capacity as Rights Holders to become Change Agents in the Prevention of Gender-Based Violence and (promotion of) Increased Democratic Participation.”

It brought together twenty-one (21) young female politicians, decision makers, and heads of Civil Society Organizations at the central and local levels to champion the prevention of violence against women and be role-models for women’s participation in democratic processes.

According to ORWOCH Executive Director, Mmonbeydo Harrell,  the training also sought to encourage collaboration among female aspirants, CSOs and the media to organize advocacy campaigns and  create political campaign strategies. The ORWOCH boss indicated that “the training provided intellectual tools to enable participants to carve our their own niche to ensure victory at the October polls and beyond.”

A participant and Representative Aspirant of District #7, Sabah Korpu Jomah said the training was very important because it built on the knowledge they already have as political aspirants. She said “women are seen as weaker vessels and as such the training will help women to change people’s mindset in that regard.

Ms. Welma Sampson, a representative of Girls Advancing Incorporated,  remarked that the program provided a unique opportunity for women to be empowered to get involved and stop taking the back seat in every discussion or engagement process especially when it comes to issues that affect them. She said  the knowledge acquired will be used at an upcoming girls’ leadership camp activity that intends to bring less fortunate girls to interact with their friends through coaching and mentoring.

The training is intended to build the  participants’ skills in political debate, lobbying with the legislature, and strategic advocacy techniques.

According to data by the United Nations Population Division, women make up 49.60 percent of the population in Liberia and 11% in parliament. Thus, the percent of women in Liberia is critical to changing the paradigm of decision making in the country. Yet, years of patriarchy has prevented women from attaining the social and political advancement that should accrue to them as a group. In recent years however, there have been efforts by partners and the government of Liberia to ensure that marginalized groups such as women, youth, and the disabled are included in the national planning processes.

The overall objective of this project is to support the  participation of women in politics and in decision-making processes by creating an environment conducive for their meaningful participation, and to support  capacity development of women before, during and after the elections at the central and local levels, according to organizers.

The Organization for Women and Children focuses on championing the cause of women’s increased participation in decision making process, and the reduction of sexual and gender based violence.

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