Groups of traditional women in Lofa County have benefited grant valued over US$16,000 from European Union/United Nations Women Spotlight Initiative.Three women groups comprising of 25 members each namely; Vornebah, which in the Gbandi tribe means ‘togetherness’, Winlia, also meaning togetherness in Lorma and Yalazeagawugu, also in Lorma means ‘hold my hands so I can wake up’ received the grant in the county over the weekend.
Saturday, February 20, 2021 was a day of jubilations in Vezala Town, the administrative seat of Voinjama District, Lofa County, as three Village Saving Loan Associations or VLSA groups of traditional women received the amount.
The money is for a project being implemented by Plan International Liberia through local CSOs in five of Liberia’s 15 counties aimed at providing alternative income raising livelihood for traditional women, as they say no to practice of Female Genital mutilation or FGM.
Speaking at the disbursement of the grant in Vezala Town, the Program Officer of Women Solidarity Incorporated Mackins Pajibo said, implementing Plan International Liberia project in Lofa is part of the Alternative Livelihood for FGM Practitioners Project sponsored under the European Union / UN Woman Spotlight Initiative for Liberia.
Mr. Pajibo said the grant to 75 traditional women followed several capacity building trainings in the areas of Village Saving Loans, Business, Agriculture and Adult Literacy.
According to him, the funds are intended for the traditional women to engage in various businesses in order to better their lives while at the same time continuing their savings as groups.
“What we want to see is that if you are selling one sack of water today, the next time we come, we should see you selling more sacks; this is what we want to see”. Pajibo noted.
He encouraged the women to be regular in payment of their dues in the various VSLA groups; something he said will help in sustaining the various groups thereby working with their leadership for a successful implementation of the project in curtailing violence against women and girls.
Each of the VSLA groups received an amount of US$5,430.00 (Five Thousand, Four Hundred Thirty United Stated Dollars).
The 75 traditional women in 2020 cultivated over 20 acres of upland rice farm under the agriculture component of the program and are expected to continue their farming activities while at the same time increasing their savings.
For his part, Lofa County Assistant Superintendent Samuel Mulbah, on behalf of the county local authorities praised the Women Solidarity Incorporated (WOSI) as implementing partner and Plan International Liberia for the project towards improving the lives of traditional women in the county.
Mr. Mulbah noted that the county authorities were grateful to the European Union and the UN woman families for the Spotlight Initiative.
“I can assure you that our mothers will not make you shame, they are well prepared and willing to make all of us proud as a county”. Mulbah indicated.
In separate remarks, officials of the National Traditional Council in the County and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, amongst others thanked the European Union/UN Woman for empowering the traditional woman.
Meanwhile, two of the beneficiaries Madam Jarso Nyound and Domowa Saizia, narrating their success stories, disclosed the trainings over the years have taken them to another level in life.
The two women in a joyous mood praised the EU/UN Woman family through the Women Solidarity for improving their lives.
“Before this program, most of us could not afford to send our child to school and even cater to their health needs but for now, we can do those things all by ourselves, so we say thank you”, they said. Editing by Jonathan Browne