Liberian women have been challenged to assume the role of a transformational leader, and to also stand up to claim their rights to speech, justice and to own land or inherit properties as a widow. At the close of a two – day workshop sponsored by the European Union (EU) through Oxfam – Liberia, Rev. Christiana U. Tengbeh, one of the facilitators of the workshop said women have over the years been relegated to the background, discriminated against, victimized and are vulnerable.
“And as a woman leader in your organization, you are not just sitting there as a figure head. There are some responsibilities, your work is to transform, that transformation leadership,” Rev. Tengbeh said.
On Friday, 21 May, the West Point Women for Health and Development Organization climaxed the two – day transformative leadership workshop held in the township of West Point and it brought together over 50 female participants from various communities including Coconut Plantation, Newport Street, Front Street, Mechlin Street and West Point.
According to Rev. Tengbeh, the idea is to bring up new leadership of women that will be able to stand up and say they have their rights and roles in leadership.Additionally, Rev. Tengbeh noted that gender has an impact on women leadership, saying others believe that traditionally, women should only be at the tail and not head.
But according to her, the workshop was intended to make them to understand that the law is there for them and that they have the rights to speak, justice, own land and for inheritance of properties for widow, among others.
“These two days we’ve been able to, you know, make them [to] be cognizant of [these] various rights. Apart from that we made them understand … what we call power dynamics, that there are power within you as a woman, power over, power within, and power to,” she added.
She stressed that only women can bring themselves down, adding that above the skies is their limits as a woman. Rev. Tengbeh said the workshop was organized and funded by Oxfam and others, and it was implemented by the West Point Women for Health and Development organization.
According to Rev. Tengbeh, over 50 women from various groups gathered at the workshop for two days, and Oxfam and its partners decided to give the women the opportunity to understand their rights, who they are as women and who a leader is.
For her part, the Madam Nelly Cooper, Executive Director of West Point Women for Health and Development Organization commended the participants and urged them to exhibit the knowledge attained in their various communities. Madam Siah Abraham, a participant of the workshop from Coconut Plantation community said she was so excited and enlightened, noting that she had achieved a lot from the workshop.
“First of all I can proudly say that I’m a transformed leader. As the chairlady of Coconut Plantation community, the women of Coconut Plantation community have been faced with so many challenges when it comes to women speaking out, when it comes to our right, when it comes to access to justice and dispute resolution,” Madam Abraham said.
She pledged to go back in her community to share with the women there the knowledge that she acquired from the workshop. Earlier, Madam Regina T. Pajibo, another participant, said she was very grateful to the organizers of the workshop, saying it was her first participation in a workshop since she been in West Point.
According to her, there are some women like her who have the capability to do certain things, but they do not have the opportunities needed.
“We’ve been hiding in the back for so many years, but I am very grateful for this organization. This organization made me to know how to speak and how to … be a leader,” Madam Pajibo said.
She said people look down on females in West Point due to their lack of opportunity to exhibit their talents, but with the training, she noted that she will challenge her colleagues to overcome fears and exhibit their potentials. By Winston W. Parley