In conjunction with the Green Livelihood Alliance (GLA), the Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment (RICCE) has improved the skills of 20 individuals from 10 women’s civil society groups (CSOs) in Monrovia with regard to gender-just forest governance.

The training of the women’s organizations is a component of the project activities being carried out by RICCE as the gender technical partner to the Forest for a Just Future Program of the Green Livelihoods Alliance (GLA 2.0), with the SDI serving as the lead in Liberia.

Strengthening women’s knowledge and solidarity to advocate for gender-just conversation and governance in Liberia with funding provided by the Global Forests Coalition (GFC), an alliance member of the Green Livelihoods Alliance, was the focus of the two-day training, “Gender-Just Forest Governance Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing Workshop,” which was held for members of the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL).

As a GLA 2.0 participant, RICCE has the responsibility of serving as the gender technical partner to guarantee the gender responsiveness and inclusivity of all partner initiatives within the GLA 2.0 Forest for a Just Future program.

In Liberia, the GLA project is being implemented in the northwest and southeast landscapes.

The Program Manager of RICCE, Madam Renee Gibson, gave the participants an overview of the two days of training while reiterating that her organization is working with SDI and all GLA partners to ensure that community rights are protected, particularly in affected communities around monoculture plantations, particularly two sizable oil palm plantations in Liberia.

In addition, Madam Gibson reminded the attendees that they are working together to safeguard women and children in areas affected by concessions.

She encourages participants to be proactive and get involved in advocacy for community rights: “Today, we are here to strengthen our capacities as women’s organizations advocate for the respect and protection of community rights through large-scale concessions, not only focusing on sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) and skill training but also into community rights issues, particularly those affecting communities around concessions.”

The RICCE Program Manager continued, “Look at the forest sector; there are numerous abuses taking place; go into concession areas; you will observe exploitation, poor labor practices, child abuse, among others, on the rise.

“Those communities depend on us, as participants in civil society groups, to uphold the protection of their rights.”

Therefore, she continued, “we are giving you the authority to engage duty bearers, concessionaires, and government authorities, among others, to ensure that communities’ rights are protected, they are in compliance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with communities, and that communities get their benefits because they own the lands.

Certified trainers led the comprehensive and practical training. Mr. Dayugar Johnson and Abdul Razac Sheriff are among them.

Mr. Johnson led a conversation on inter-sectionality and how CSO actors and others should acknowledge the identities of people in their advocacy.

These behaviors among the participants demonstrated a clear awareness of how they view themselves.

Abdul Razac Sheriff spoke about integrating gender equality into the management of natural resources (NRM). With this, the participants were instructed on what NRM is, how access to and control over natural resources remain incredibly unequal throughout much of the world, gender issues in NRM, and the domestic responsibilities of women and girls in relation to NRM, which typically result in significant burdens for them and impair their ability to engage in productive activities, such as education, decision-making, and entrepreneurship.

At the conclusion of the two-day program, Madam Roseline W. Dweh of Actions for Girls and Women Survival spoke on behalf of the female participants. She praised RICCE and GLA partners for the training and made a commitment to return and use the knowledge they had gained to make a difference.

I appreciate the training and would like to thank RICCE and the GLA partners.

At the conclusion of the program, Roseline W. Dweh exclaimed, “What we have learnt here is really meaningful and it provides us insights on our individual lives and how to strive for an inclusive society by treating each other equally as well as the communities we work for.”

Paul Williams, a participant who spoke on behalf of the Humanity Above Self Foundation (HAOSF), thanked RICCE and its collaborators for supplying them with the knowledge that will enable them to transform their advocacy into practical issue-based and goal-oriented activities as civil society organizations.

One of the most crucial components of the training was the reflection exercise. It demonstrates the necessity for enterprises to collaborate by supporting everyone and leaving no one behind, he said.

Williams added, “Our community frequently talks about how women and children are marginalized in Natural Resource Management (NRM) training.” We pray that these courses will be offered to us in the future because it is a well-known reality that anything that enters this country causes agony, particularly for women and children.

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