Concessionaires of Playing Down Corporate, Social Responsibilities and Women Issues
Monrovia – Women from five concession counties have explained some of the unbearable conditions they have been forced to undergo living in those concession areas and how they have managed to develop from being backbenchers to being major participants and stakeholders on decisions about their lands.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Women from Grand Bassa, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, Gbapolu and Bomi/Cape Mount counties attending a dialogue on the Strengthening of Women’s Rights and Participation in Peacebuilding in Monrovia, organized by EDUcare, complained of damages concession companies in their respective counties have done.
They also accused some of the companies of fragrantly violating concession development agreements reached between them and the Government of Liberia. Women from Grand Bassa County attending the forum, accused companies in that county of damaging their creeks and failing to provide health care and conducive living as promised in the mineral development agreement signed between the government of Liberia and companies.
“The companies have damaged our creeks we used to drink from. They don’t give us injury benefits for employees especially women including pregnant women no good health care system for employee,” the Bassa women representative lamented.
Like the women from Grand Bassa, Blee Baye is in her early 50s representing the women of Grand Gedeh County. Out of disappointment, she described as “Useless the Hero logging company,” operating in the Karlorwleh, Duo Town, Bartehjam, and Ziah Town, Tuzon area.
According to her, this company is only logging their forest and not living up to any agreement reached between them and the Government of Liberia. “Every time we ask the company to do what they promised they will do they will give us excuses. Our hand pump spoiled we went to them asking them to help the community since they have the tools to do the repair they told us we don’t have tools; this company is a useless company.”
In Gbapolu and Sinoe Counties according to the women representatives at the dialogue, there is a shortage of resourceful men as bulk of the men in those areas have turned into drugs users. The women said most of the men used what they claimed are narcotic drugs.
They accused state security personnel assigned in these counties of aiding drugs traffickers because of the kickbacks they receive. “Women are fighting over men because the bulk of the handsome young men in the county are taking drugs this is serious and needs government intervention.”
About the Project
The project on strengthening women rights and participation in peace-building is working with 1,150 rural women at the grass-root level from across 23 key concession communities in five counties.
Under the project, women in the targeted concession areas will be able to engage and meaningfully participate in the management of the natural resources within their communities and demand for their rights from stakeholders including demand for the implementation of the agreed corporate responsibility and the government.
Under the project, the 23 concession communities’ women’s development structures have received capacity building to enable mutual benefits through playing the role of mediation, helping to negotiate disagreements and conflicts between the companies and the community members.
With the new government determined to ensure that the plights of people are looked into and sustainable development results are delivered to the people of Liberia, one of the first decision of the government is the review of all concessional agreements.
In that effort, the government recently set up a task force to perform the task. To the CCWDS, this move by the government is an opportunity to engage and have their voices heard such that some of the past issues can now be addressed.