President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for more support to complete the ongoing Omega Market Project which is aimed at decongesting the Red Light Market and ensuring that marketers have a clean and safe business environment for their trade.
The Liberian leader made the call on Friday, May 1, 2015 when she spoke at a program marking the unveiling of work in progress at the Omega Market in Paynesville City, outside Monrovia.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf pointed out that the project started with a very simple objective which was to get the market women off the streets and sidewalks and place them into decent market building to do their trade through the Sirleaf Market Women Fund.
She said the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in the United States of America bought the idea of constructing a safe business environment for marketers and began to reach out and join in elevating the concept of building decent market facilities for women to another level.
The Liberian leader said that the partnership with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority from abroad and the chapter in Liberia has brought the project to its current level with the support of many other people.
“We believe that this project is a worthy cause and must be supported by all well-meaning people. The area is vast and can accommodate a lot of different projects and I think business people and others can now join hands with the Alphas and expand the project”, President Sirleaf said.
She indicated that the opportunity must be seized to provide a variety of services at the market site and seek to use it as a beginning of a process of starting and building another city rather than just a market place.
The Liberian leader thanked all those who have supported the project and expressed the hope that they will be motivated by what is seen at the unveiling and resolve to do more in bringing the project to completion and decongest Red Light.
“May God bless you and reward you for the meaningful contributions you have made to this project and for the more you will do to provide and render. The little we do to serve mankind, particularly those who need our assistance to make their lives a little better is pleasing to God our creator,” President Sirleaf stressed.
Providing an overview of the project earlier, Madam Clavenda Bright Parker of the Eta Beta Omega (EBO) chapter of AKA Inc., reflected on the history about how it evolved and how the initial funding were sourced and received.
She indicated that the Omega Market Project, which is located in Paynesville, seeks to provide a holistic, healthy, physical and economic environment for the market women and men, and also to give market women sellers and street vendors access to a “state of the art” market as well as housing, health facility, school for their children, storage facilities and other amenities She pointed out that the project and the entire Omega Market site will also include a two-story building, WASH facilities, electricity, etc.
It will also have spaces for four hundred vendors including storage space, four restrooms, six enclosed shops, a cold storage warehouse, a clinic equipped with rooms for examination, a pharmacy, two wards, restrooms and offices, a generator house and a waste disposal site have been completed.
Madam Parker reiterated that the project aims to decongest the Red Light Market area both in terms of marketers and traffic and provide the marketers an environment that is safe, comfortable, clean and secured for their commercial and other related trading activities.
Madam Parker said that in 2010, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA) Inc., in keeping with their social responsibility vision saw the Omega Market Project as an opportunity to impact the lives of Liberians who make the greatest impact on Liberia’s economy, and contributed US$500,000 towards the Omega Market Project. They also pledged an additional US$500,000 support.
She also pointed out that in 2013, the members of the Eta Beta Omega (EBO) Chapter of AKA, Inc., raised close to US$1 million for the market in honor of President Sirleaf’s (an AKA member) 75th birth celebration.
Madam Parker thanked all those who have supported the project and indicated that funding is still limited and that more support is needed to work on and complete phase two of the project which could be completed in about three months if the required resources at available.
The Liberia Marketing Association’s President Madam Lusu Sloan thanked President Sirleaf, the Alpha Kappa Alpha and all those who have made contributions to the project for their support and encouraged them to stand by the Liberian President and the Alphas to complete the project and realize the goal of decongesting the Red Light Market.
She advised that care should be taken when removing and placing marketers in the new Omega Market because there are a lot of people selling in the Red Light Market district outside of the market arrangement that could benefit from the Omega Market while Red Market remains congested and pledged to work with the Alphas to meet the actual objective of the project.
Michelle Wento and Lisa White who provided information on sponsorship opportunities told the audience that by becoming a sponsor, one can help make the Omega Market Vision a reality. They said market women will be able to earn a living in a safe place, ensure their children attend a good school in the vicinity of the market and have nearby access to quality healthcare.
They told the donors and sponsors that their sponsorship will provide them an excellent opportunity to increase their brand awareness and value through promoting women’s empowerment and transforming the lives of market women.
They then listed the five sponsorship opportunities as Platinum (US$250,000); Diamond (US$50,000); Gold level (US$25,000); Silver (US$15,000), Bronze (US$10,000); and Leadership (US$5,000). Each level
of sponsorship has benefits and amenities for the sponsors to benefit from, they said.