Foundation for Community Initiative Partners with UN Women to Mainstream Gender in Liberia’s National Budget

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Monrovia – The Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI), with support from the United Nations Peace Building Fund through UN Women, has launched a six-month pilot project aimed at promoting gender participation in the planning and execution of Liberia’s National Budget.

Speaking to reporters at the end of a three-day ‘Training of Trainers’ workshop recently, the Executive Director of FCI, Loretta Pope-Kai said her organization is partnering with the Community Health Education and Social Services (CHESS) based in Nimba, and the Grand Bassa County-based Liberia Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) to implement the project in the two counties.

 “The project will be implemented on advancing Liberia National Action Plan for Women Peace and Security, looking at innovative financing and gender responsive budgeting for the implementation of the second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in Liberia,” Mrs. Pope-Kai said.

The program, she added will strengthen the capacity of local government actors and women organizations on innovating financing, gender responsive budgeting to ensure increased allocation of financial resources as part of the Liberia National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (LNAP WPS 2019-2023) implementation.

The Liberia National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (LNAP WPS 2019-2023) was adopted in 2019 for the period 2019-2023. The policy document is built on five pillars which call for women and girls’ safety, physical and mental health and security are assured and are fully protected under legislation and policies that promote their empowerment and full participation at all levels, in building sustainable and inclusive peace and security in Liberia.

Mrs. Pope-Kai who also serves as Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia noted that this can be achieved through the empowerment of women and pro-women civil society organizations (CSOs).

 “These line ministries are responsible to work with different heads and department to see how these budgets are responding to the different gender issues. So what we want to focus on as CSO, during the review processes are gender responsive. What is there, for women. We need to monitor the implementation of those different allocations. The CSO has a role to play and before we can play that role, we need the rightful information.”

Budget Formulation Process

The Public Finance Management Act of 2009 authorizes the President through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning prepared and execute by the President through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. However, the law gives the Legislature the power to review and approved it.  The budget formulation process is often carried out without the full participation of the citizens, especially women in the rural parts of the country.

However, she noted that the project seeks to equip the women and civil society organizations to engage stakeholders in the planning and execution process.

Mrs. Pope-Kai thanked the United Nations Peace Building Fund and UN women for the support and called on the local implementing partners to ensure the program is successfully implemented.

She added that one of the anticipated outcomes of the project is to enlighten and empower women to fully participate in deliberation of the county’s social development fund that usually takes place at the annual county sitting.

“Women are usually observers at these county sitting. So one key role we can play is to make sure that civil society influence the project. After we shall have trained these women, they would not serve as observers, but they can be invited as delegates. Because if you are invited as delegate, you will be able to speak out and make your input.”

The three implementing partners, referred to as the consortium were trained by UN Women International Consultant, Dr. Buyana Kareem with the knowledge and skills on GRPBM. They will in turn roll out similar training for beneficiaries of the project in the counties.

In a brief interview with reporters on the last day of the training, Dr. Kareem said the gender responsive planning and budgeting looks at how citizens can get their fair share of the national cake and contribute to the peace and prosperity that Liberia needs.

He said the project will empower the women in exercising their rights and freedom to speak out and drive decisions that affect their livelihoods.

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