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Women Group Wants Participation in County Dev. Funds Implementation

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Monrovia – A women group — Women Coalition for County Development (WCCD) — has vowed to ensure that every Liberian participates in the implementation of the County Development Fund (CDF).

WCCD is of the conviction that the country will develop rapidly when Liberians, including women get involved in the implementation of the CDF in their respective counties.

WCCD aims at contributing and fostering equal participation for economic development of all women towards their county’s CDF implementation.

The Women Coalition for County Development will also focus on efforts of mechanism to campaign and however address the low participation of women and to push for actions to help close existing gender gaps in the management of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF).

The group envisions a better and peaceful society where women, men, boys and girls have a voice in their governance, including having equal opportunity to resources. 

The women group is currently coordinating women in seven counties with plans to spread out to the rest of the 15 counties. 

The group is of the conviction that Liberia needs to take steps in addressing inequalities that endanger the lives of women and girls and narrows opportunities for issues about women’s rights, security, peace and capturing development in National and local policies and programs.

The National Coordinator of WCCD, Miatta Darwolo-Thomas, indicated that discussions around the usage of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF) should be an open process that allows citizens to give their views on the direction of development at the county level. According to her, this will yield better results and ensure the CSDF is more responsive to the needs of citizens, including women and girls.

A baseline survey recently conducted by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) shows that only 32 of 381 respondents acknowledged awareness of the CSDF. Of the 32, only six acknowledged the impact CSDF is making in their communities.

The survey indicated that there is a deficit of gender sensitivity on impact of the CSDF on the lives of the citizens and this points towards little investment in market structures, hospitals, schools and playgrounds for children.

Miatta mentioned that the outcome of the baseline survey unraveled that the structure of the CSDF governance, county sitting delegate selection, participation of women and opportunities to make the process gender-responsive is minimal noting that it calls for an urgent remedy.

“The CSDF is for all citizens; thus it will benefit us, women, in particular. If we have a permanent seat and voice in the county sitting to articulate our issues because we are aware of burning issues that concern women across the counties,” she stated.

She pointed out proper education and access to information for women across the country as a critical issue that needs to be addressed by policymakers.

“Women’s unlimited knowledge about the CSDF will send a strong message to the rest of Liberia that we are ready and prepared to do and see positive things for our country,” she added.

Miatta further stated that the group is prepared to engage and work with the Legislature, counties’ caucuses, superintendents, CSDF teams in order to shape the development agenda and how the participation of all can benefit the process. 

“We must join hands together to develop our counties and the larger Liberian society. To do so, women must have a strong voice in decision making around the CSDF,” Miatta added. 

WCCD called on women around the country to take interest in the process leading to the implementation of the CSDF. “We anticipate collaborating with the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection and Women NGO Secretariat (WONGOSOL) to building broader partnerships as we drive this campaign for women’s increased qualitative involvement in the management of the CSDF.”

Miatta lauded partners and sponsors for their continuous efforts in ensuring women participate in campaigns and processes that will promote governance and foster economic development throughout the country.

WCCD is sponsored by the United Nations Democracy Fund through a project implemented by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC) and partners including the Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI) and the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESPS).

LIWOMAC won a grant in 2018 to provide training on mainstreaming gender with specific focus on building women groups’ capacities to form part of processes leading to observance of human rights and governance.

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