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WONGOSOL, OXFAM, Danish Govt. Empower Liberian Women

By Esau J. Farr

It is said that birds of feathers flock together, two persons can’t work together except they agree, a child who speaks truth to authorities is considered a frisky child, understanding between partners builds and keeps relationship and that people of like-minds are likely to go the same direction based on their school of thoughts, goals and vision for life.

That is exactly what participants of the Trainers of Training (TOT) workshop organized by the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) have proposed to the organizers and sponsors of the weeklong event held at the Lutheran Compound in Sinkor, Monrovia.

Some of the participants speaking to this paper in an exclusive interview Wednesday, August 28, 2019 described the training as one of the best they have ever had.

In separate or voice pox interview, some of the participants said the workshop was such rewarding because it unearthed and disclosed hidden information about the rights of women and limitations of men as it relates to the ill treatments women have and continue to endure at the hands of their male counterparts especially their (women/girls) husbands and boyfriends.

They (participants) hailed WONGOSOL and her partners for the weeklong training opportunity afforded them which they said was a clear eye-opener for their co-existence with their male counterparts against all forms of violence and discriminations against women, girls and children.

“This training of trainers (TOT) workshop is indeed very important for us as women because it has made some of us to know some of the rights that we did not know and I hope it can be extended to other parts of the country,” one of the participants, Martha T.W. Sayklon famously known as ‘Money in the Bush’ said in an interview.

“I am blessed to be here; I think WONGOSOL is doing well by thinking to stand in the gap for women’s rights advocacy and training to help us know all of our rights,” she explained.

Mrs. Sayklon used the opportunity and thanked facilitators of the workshop for the different topics deliberated on including Inheritance Laws, CEDAW, Domestic Violence Laws and the different kinds of Marriages amongst others.

“It is this training that got me to know about legitimizing children born out of wed-lock (outside marriage), probating land deed in a timely manner, my right to property as a married woman and dowry payment as a legitimate marriage,” said ‘Money in the Bush’.

According to her prior to the workshop she and others did not know some of the rights issues being taught by the different facilitators and she thinks the training could have been timely and better than now.

A male participant, Stephen Moses Gee of Rescue Women Micro-Agriculture Cooperative Society expressed similar views in line with Madam Sayklon adding that the training must be inclusive of more men and should be decentralized.

Mr. Gee believes that when men and women are trained together, it is likely they will likely co-exist with little or no reports of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

“I am actually happy about this workshop because there are lots of strange things I have learnt here. My recommendation to the organizers of this workshop is that next time they are planning for such training, they should include men also because men are the main perpetrators of violence against women,” Gee noted.

He added that his organization has been in the vanguard of helping victims of domestic violence and all forms of discrimination against women by providing them life skill training opportunities in the areas of pastry and agricultural activities aimed at making useful in society and have hope for the future.

Bendu Sonie, another female participant, sees the training as a great relief for women describing lessons taught at the training as strange and good for all women to know.

She believes if women and girls in Liberia are aware of their various rights the courts will not be overcrowded with preventable cases and that man and woman will happily live together with clear understanding of each other’s rights and limitations.

The training was made possible by WONGOSOL in partnership OXFAM Liberia with support from the Danish Government.

According to the Program Officer and Acting Executive Director of WONGOSOL, Madam Lena T. Cummings, the training was meant to bring together women from different backgrounds to ensure that they are trained to serve as trainers aimed at increasing awareness on the different international instruments that speak against general and all forms of discriminations against women, girls and children.

She named some of the instruments as the UN’s Resolution 1325, CEDOW, Women Inheritance and Land Rights Laws amongst other important ones.

Madam Cummings said issues of women knowing their rights and laws protecting them remain serious challenges and problems facing the progress of women in the Liberian society and as such required collective efforts and more awareness to help address them.

She believes that practices done in time passed that don’t meet present day reality should be abolished that’s why her organization which advocates for the rights of women and children is taking lead way approach aimed at identifying issues that need legislative actions for redress.

Meanwhile, the lead facilitator of the weeklong gathering has urged women to strive and know their rights which she believes are the power and authority they have to battle all forms of violence and discriminations against them (women).

Atty. Margaret Nigba urged women and girls not to rush with marriage, one of the main issues that is easily turned into case which continues to flood court dockets in Liberia.

“Marriage is good, but it is not a rush,” she warned women of Liberia, especially those unaware of the issues that go with marriage and the different kinds.

The former public prosecuting lawyer speaking in an interview encouraged participants at the workshop to be legally mindful of everything they do in their everyday life.

She named some of the critical issues women faced and must be careful of as getting marry, acquiring property inheritance rights and land ownership as well as properties to be owned or claimed by a woman or children after the death of a husband or father as very cardinal describing it the security of women the world over.

The workshop started Tuesday, August 27 to the 30, 2019 at the Lutheran Compound on 13th Street in Sinkor near the beach. TNR

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