Source: FrontPageAfricaOnline
Several rural women representatives from the fifteen counties are in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, attending a three-day conference on a joint program aimed at accelerating progress toward the Economic empowerment of rural women.

The conference supported by the United Nations through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the ministries of Agriculture and Gender, Children and Social Protection will provide grants for rural women to help empower them in building their capacity.

These women will get support for growing rice, vegetable, poultry, livestock and tuber production support. Gender Minister, Julia Duncan Cassell said the project would also be used to discuss other issues, which include the ongoing constitution review process. It would also focus on how rural women and women in Liberia can have access to information as well as access to land.

Madam Cassell urged the women to use the three-day conference to reflect on the gains and challenges faced by women over the past years and strategize on how to sustain the gains they (women) have made in electing a woman President.

She challenged Liberian women to ensure that come 2017 the number of women representation at the Legislature will increase through their support. Minister Cassell cautioned women to overwhelmingly vote in favor of the provision that gives 30% to women participation in politics in the upcoming referendum.

Minister Cassell said: "Our advocacy for women's rights and equal participation in politics should not be seen as disrespect or an attempt to compete with our male counterpart. All we want is to be given the opportunity to contribute to our nation building by participating in the decision making process." Like Minister Cassell, Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor also cautioned women to ensure not only that their presence is felt on the political stage, but also that they can achieve more by electing more women into public positions.

On the matter of economic empowerment, the Bong County Senator urged the UN and other implementing partners in women economic empowerment through agriculture, to assist with storage facilities. She said this would give women value for their labor.

Also speaking at the program was FAO Country Representative Mr. Marc Abdala. He said since its arrival in 1977, FAO's primary beneficiaries have been farmers, fishermen, livestock growers, forest users and students. He said FAO together with the government and people of Liberia as well as line NGO partners, have endeavored to work along with rural people for the economic empowerment of women leading to poverty reduction.

"Hence, as it's done in other JR RWEE countries, we would need to mobilize rural women in enhancing self-help group activities, design pilot village programs, organize and conduct social mobilization for women to understand key issues affecting them," Abdala said.

"Rural Women in Liberia are considering key agents for development. They play a critical role towards achievement of the transformational Economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development, but limited access to credit, food security, and education are among many challenges they face."

In an effort to help women the United Nations Women support leadership and participation of rural women through the National Rural Women structure in shaping the laws, policies and programs on all issues that affect their lives, including improved food and nutrition security, and better rural livelihoods. Training equips women with skills to pursue new livelihoods and adapt technology to their needs.

Survey conducted by the United Nation shows that women play a key role in food production and form a large proportion of the agriculture work force globally. The survey also shows that in Liberia women comprise 54% of the labor forces in both the formal and informal sectors.

The survey also disclosed that agriculture constitute the majority of small holders producers and its estimated that they produce approximately 60 percent of agriculture products, carrying out more than 80 percent of trading activities in the rural areas and are heavily engaged in the artisanal fishing industry, in addition to fulfilling daily household chores but yet women remain among the most disadvantaged.

fao rural women

Go to top