Empowering Rural Women In Liberia Through The Use Of Mobile Technology

About fifteen participants successfully completed a week long intensive training with skills to produce educational radio programmes on preventive health and agricultural issues commonly affecting women in Lofa County. Among the participants were five females and six male practicing journalists, as well as four members of the Women’s Listening Club, who are also farmers. The training, which is under the code name “Empowering Rural women through in Liberia through the use of mobile technology", was implemented by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) with funding from Womankind World Wide.  

At the same time, guest presenters from the local offices of the Ministries of Agriculture and Health led separate sessions. During their deliberations, participants were able to acquire detailed information on the importance of farming and health, and how to positively impact national development. In other to meet one of the training objectives, there were discussions on key gender concepts and legal instruments on the rights of women, as well as the question of how women's rights is linked to HIV and AIDS, sexual reproductive health and agriculture.

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The Age of a child in the CRC Report suffers setback at the National Legislature

             

The issues of the Women of Liberia in the CRC’s final Report at the National Legislature is gradually being swept under the rug by Lawmakers. The women presented six issues at the Constitution Review National Conference in Gbarnga, Bong County where five of the issues were voted for and only one was defeated. After the conference, the CRC presented their Report to the Legislature in August last year.

At the Lower House, the report was sent to the Committee on Good Governance for revision. According to the Chair of the Committee, Representative Larry Younquoi, they have concluded their work and have presented it to the Speaker of the House, Alex Tyler. Out of the women’s five prepositions in the Report only one was captured in the House’s Good Governance recommendations for inclusion in the prepositions for Referendum. Equal Participation in Governance is the issue captured while according to the Committee, the others can be placed in Statues.

Among the other issues that were pushed aside or ignored by the Houses’ Committee is the age of a child. The Constitution of Liberia has not clearly defined who is a child. Women of Liberia have said that there is a need for the constitution, which is the highest law of a country to state the Age of a child. The women believed that when this is done, it will address the many issues children go through in Liberia. Some of the issues include: Rape, forceful and early marriage, teen age pregnancy etc. Against this backdrop the women of Liberia decided to include the issue of Age in the prepositions presented to the CRC. The preposition states that the Age of a child should be 18 year.

After the Legislature Easter Break, there was credible information that the Houses’ Committee on Good Governance report on the CRC was to be presented in plenary session for discussion. As the first women’s organization to receive the information, the Liberia Women Media Action Committee collaborated with the Women’s Constitution Review Taskforce, the Ministry of Gender Children and social Protection and other Women groups to form a delegation to attend the Plenary Session and engage the Lawmakers on the issue of the age of a child.

The women gathered on the Grounds of the Capitol Build on the day scheduled for the discussion in plenary but was slapped in the face to receive information that the CRC. Report was not going to be discussed. Upon receiving the information a team of four women proceeded to the Chief Clerk’s office to inquire the items on the Agenda for discussion in session. The response from the chief Clerk’s office seemed as though something awkward was going on. The information was that the Clerk's office was not yet knowledgeable of what the Agenda would look like for that day. The women were told that they have not gotten words from the Speakers’ office. The women then decided to visit other key Stakeholders in the lower House but they were told that according to the speaker, he has not gone through the Committees’ report and as such, he cannot bring it up in session for discussion.

Since the Lawmakers returned from their Easter Break, they have not brought up the CRC’s Report for discussion and it is unclear as to the precise time this will occur.

 

 

                                                 

  1. FOREWORD

 

The Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) works to ensure the promotion and protection of women’s rights for their individual and social advancement.

Critical to this responsibility is to ensure that grassroots women and girls have access to and utilize media, particularly radio, to address issues of security, poverty, inequalities, discrimination, sexual abuse, and other basic human rights.

LIWOMAC operates the Liberia Women Democracy Radio (LWDR FM 91.1) as a platform to raise the voices of women and provide information relevant to their wellbeing. Integrated with mobile technology, the radio works to ensure that rural women also benefit from its broadcast. Engendering the voices of women in debates around development, peacebuilding and governance processes is fundamental, and LIWOMAC’s recently established integrated radio-mobile service, which is funded by UNDEF, is a major vehicle to drive and galvanize support for women’s issues. Beyond the radio LIWOMAC directly supports grassroots women through the establishment of radio listening clubs and the holding of community forums.

The “Women’s Access to Media Survey” is designed to investigate the difficulties women may have in accessing information, on the assumption that despite the work LIWOMAC continues to do in elevating women’s voices in national debates, gender-based discrimination in the mainstream media undermines opportunities for women’s rapid development and reinforces stereotype.

This survey, sponsored by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) as part of a multi-level intervention project, provides baseline data on how women access information, their preferred sources of information and their preferences. From the outcome, LIWOMAC aims to appropriately incorporate findings germane to the project’s successful implementation in its design, planning and execution phases.

By and large, we hope this report would contribute to the reservoir of materials on this topic.

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Perception and Attitude Towards the Ebola Virus Disease In Liberia

FOREWORD

Liberia, a nation recovering from 14 years of civil war, striving to rebuild crippled governance structures and badly damaged infrastructures, today remains the epicenter of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) since its outbreak in the Mano River Basin in March 2014. The impact of the deadly pandemic has been described as an unprecedented health crisis, with the death rate far surpassing global EVD afflictions since the inception of the virus in 1976 in what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

As the disease continues to ravage Liberia, women who constitute the bulk of caregivers in every family setting, remain the hardest-hit. As a result they are exposed to the Ebola Virus Disease given the “touch-to-contract” nature of the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease.

 

Compounding the crisis is the fact that there is a prevailing sense of denial among Liberians, dismissing warnings about the disease, which is evidently largely responsible for the rapid spread. Visibly troubled by this, leaders of three women-centered and results-focused non-governmental organizations met and decided to conduct a study to ascertain the facts. The goal: to determine attitudes and perceptions toward and about the disease and the reasons behind those attitudes and perceptions.

 

This report is a result of that study and provides analysis, conclusion and recommendations aimed at encouraging behavioral change and the formulation of gender sensitive policy actions for Ebola prevention, contact tracing, disease treatment and survivor recovery. We remain convinced that it takes informed policy actions to not only generate positive responses, but also to ensure that such actions will provide improved access to better and timely health services to all persons, particularly women in especially difficult circumstances.

 

Consequently, we believe policy makers and government partners in the fight against Ebola will take this document into consideration in the course of taking further steps to chase the deadly Ebola Virus Disease out of Liberia.

Mission Statement LWDR is a non-profit radio for women operated by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee to educate, inform and entertain through programming that promotes the rights and concerns of women.

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