Some members of the SMWF, partners along with Minister Cassell in New York
The 501 © 3 tax exempt entity known as the Sirelaf Market Women’s Fund has transitioned into a new Liberian organization thereby being named as the Sustainable Market Women’s Fund (SMWF) with the outgoing president of the Liberia Marketing Association, Lusu Sloan appointed as its Executive Director.
The transformation of the initiative into an organization along with the appointment of Madam Sloan was announced at the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York thereby taking effective action as of April.
Madam Sloan takes over the new Liberian organization with a mission which states, ‘Organization is education, entrepreneurship, health and agriculture’ and its Board of Directors chaired by Olivia Shannon will be reconstituted as the governing body.
The office of the organization in Liberia has also been relocated to the Jorkpen Town Market, one of the markets initially renovated by the program. The SMWF formerly the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund was named in honor of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose grandmother was believed to be a market woman.
Reasons provided for the transformation was not clear but the Board of Directors praised the accomplishments over the last 10 years and announced that the archives of the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund were being transferred to the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, a division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University Archives.
The Board recognized the successes of the organization while named and styled the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund through the Ebola crisis for which the post-Ebola era are now been documented; getting through the crisis into literacy training and engagement of the market women as change agents in their communities towards support from the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality and the African Women’s Development Fund.
The Fund which grew out of the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality Grant, designed an innovative holistic market prototype that has been shared across the continent and adopted as the design base for the Omega Market Complex independently constructed by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. International Chapter in Liberia, Eta Beta Omega Chapter.
To date, the Board based the success stories on how the Fund was able to empower beneficiaries and give them pride in their abilities to better manage and protect their livelihoods through trainings in adult literacy and business development skills programs; establish and strengthen local to global partnerships; increase visibility and provided a variety of platforms for the voices of the market women to be heard through the media as well as being showcased at policy or partnership-making events across the continent, among other things.