By: Jeremiah Sackie Cooper
KAKATA, Margibi County: In an effort to ensure women empowerment and economic sustainability, NEED4WOMEN, a non-for-profit organisation recently graduated over 350 women in life skills training program.
The program which was held at the Kakata City Hall in Kakata, Margibi County on Saturday, May 13, 2023 brought together a cross-section of women, prominent members of Margibi and Bong counties , among others to celebrate the achievements of the women completing a 40 day intensive training in basic practical skills including catering, soap making, interior decoration, and arts and crafts.
The graduates, who were presented with certificates at the impressive graduation ceremony, were told by Need4Women Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Vivian Innis McGill that they must use the knowledge acquired to contribute to their families economically and the Liberian society at large.
Madam Innis-McGill expressed happiness that Need4Women is giving back to society by building the capacities of Liberian women with the main aim of equipping them with skills that will serve them for their lifetime.
Madam Innis-McGill further said her organization remains committed to ensuring that women are given more opportunities to better themselves, their families and their country.
“This shows that we believe in the women of Liberia, including the women of Margibi and Bong counties. There were many challenges along the road but we are grateful that we’ve reached this far. This is what we chose to do to help our sisters and mothers become better people tomorrow. Many individuals helped bring this program to fruition, all of which continue to have vested and genuine interest in seeing each woman become better”, she noted.
“To every woman in here today , we ask you to use your skills to help your husband to put food on your table and send your children to school. Women are the backbone of any country, and we all must help create avenues for them to contribute to their various communities”, she added.
It is NEED4WOMEN first cycle skills training graduation program since the launch of the free livelihood skills training program earlier this year. The training program is intended to prepare women in Liberia to take their place in society.
“We hope the new relationships fostered and memories they have made during the training and now this graduation will be moments we will be able to look back on and be proud of. I would like to thank our trainers , facilitators, and our staff for their time, services and efforts in delivering this opportunity to our mothers and sisters”, Need4Women CEO noted.
Serving as keynote speaker, Margibi County District #3 Representative, Hon. Ellen Attoh Wreh lauded the graduates for taking the steps in engaging in activities that will make them important and contribute to the betterment of Liberia.
Rep. Attoh-Wreh attributed the huge dominance of men in key sectors of the Liberian society to the lack of qualified women to step up and take up these positions, as such; it is time women do more to fill the gaps.
She noted that the high number of unskilled women is contributing and affecting decision making processes in homes, local and national levels; adding that men now see women as liabilities instead of assets.
The Margibi District #3 Representatives called on the graduates to put to practice what they have learned and serve as ambassadors for the NEED4WOMEN free skills training program in their various communities.
“I am so happy and proud of what you have achieved. You can’t think about doing anything productive today if you don’t have the required skills. You must go out there and give testimonies of what you have learned here. To the women who put in their time to do something to be a better person, I want to say congratulations to all of you. These skills will not make you a liability to your husband but will make you a helper to your husband. Nowadays, men don’t want women who serve as liabilities. I urge you all graduating today to make an impact in your area on what you have learned. Those things that you have learned during the training period are all things that we use all the time. We use soap everyday, you will buy bread and you will want to decorate your house. Today, if you find yourself in any part of the world, you can demonstrate your what you have learned”, she said.
“Our society is a male dominant society, and this puts women in the back seat. We have the power to do greater things than even man. Harmful practices like rape, discrimination and violence including domestic violence against women are also responsible for the low participation of women in Liberia. But it is now time that we all come together to fight against this for a safer space for women. There are things nowadays that are not restricted to a particular gender. Whether you are male or female, you can earn your space in the world, you can earn your space by appreciating every opportunity that comes your way, even if it does not come around, you must go out there and look for it”, Margibi only female lawmakers concluded.
For their part, the graduates lauded the NEED4WOMEN for impacting them and ensuring their independence and economic stability. They, however, promised to transform their skills for sustainable livelihoods.
“The training was very successful and we are so happy that we have graduated from an intensive one-month plus training in various skills-building programs. This program will help us a lot. Many women are home doing nothing, this is not about being educated, it is empowering yourself and this is why the program is here. We can now send our children to school, help our husbands in taking care of our home”, graduate Tennesious Kollie Qua said.
“Some of us were just sitting home as housewives only to cook our husband’s food, but the NEED4WOMEN came to our aid to make us learn one or two things that will impact us. I learned soap making, so I will not take more money from my husband to take care of our home because I can now make my own money”, Graduate Theresa Richard noted.
“NEED4WOMEN came in to empower women, to empower youths. We can no longer be home doing anything because we have a skill that can make us better. We can now get our own money without depending on men to help us. I want to be the CEO of my own business in the future”, Graduate Kormah Kennedy Concluded.
According to the World Bank 2022 report on Liberia, the labour force participation rate among females is 72.4% and among males is 80.9% for 2022, with women representing 26.1 per cent of those employed in senior and middle management positions.
In 2017, 28.2% of women and 43.7% of men in Liberia had an account. The gap in account ownership between men and women in Liberia, 15.5, is larger than the gap in the Sub-Saharan Africa aggregate, 11.5. Account ownership denotes the percentage of respondents who report having an account (by themselves or together with someone else) at a bank or another type of financial institution or reports personally using a mobile money service in the past 12 months.
The report also shows vulnerable employment among women is 90.7% and among men is 65.1% in Liberia for 2019. The rate of vulnerable employment is lower for men but higher for women in Liberia compared to the average rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, putting gap in adult literacy between men and women in Liberia at 28.6%.
Need4Women is a Liberian owned pioneering social enterprise delicated to empowering women and the social sector to see through the disparity gaps to improve the standard of living through entrepreneurs, business tools for sustainable transformation of their environment.
The group aimed to fight for a society where women and the most vulnerable become self reliant and actively participate in social economic development activities.