By: Leila B. Gbati

UN Women Liberia work plan for 2022 and 2023, has captured five thematic areas, which the UN body names women’s political participation, economic empowerment, ending violence against women and girls, peace and security and gender responsive policy.

With these five thematic areas, UN Women on Thursday, October 28, 2021, at a local hotel, held a consultative meeting with national and international partners to discuss the way forward for the 2022 and 2023 work plan.

 In opening remarks, UN Women Liberia Representative, Marie Goreth said that it is the first time for her organization to move away from the one year work plan to two years, emphasizing that it was therefore very important to have had the consultative discussion to assure that all concerned are on the same page with partners when it comes to the needs of Liberians on gender equality.

Madam Goreth said the UN Women Liberia team is doing great to use its quarter to donors and implementing partners, civil society organizations, women movements and all of those who honored the group’s invitation to make a meaningful impact onto the work plan for the next year.

According to her, the annual work plan 2022-2023 for Liberia is guided by a current strategic note 2023-2024 which is she said is in line with the UN CDF, the Government of Liberia’s PAPD and the Global UN Women Strategy that was approved last month.

She indicated that the work plan emphasizes anti-government occurrence and delivery, ensuring a comprehensive and dynamic set of global norms, policies and standards on gender equality of women and girls being implemented.

She also said for the next two years, a convention would be targeted for more tangible results to improve the rights of women and girls without also forgetting men and boys.

“We look forward towards cementing partnership with global and international commitment on gender equality and women empowerment,” she said.

She disclosed that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, UN Women has adopted some new ways of working but emphasized that its beneficiaries and target population remain the same.

She intoned that UN Women is committed to its focus, which is leaving no one behind, while targeting the ones that are really behind.

The UN Women Liberia Representative used the occasion to thank all partners for their support through which she said her organization was able to achieve significant results in 2020 and 2021 despite the pandemic.

“We seek a dialogue with you to move the gender-equality forward and through your input and feedback we assured that the next two years will create an enabling environment for partnership, she said.

She also thanked the US Government, the Embassy of Sweden globally and locally, European Union, the Government of Liberia, women movements and other partners for supporting efforts of UN Women aimed at ending violence against women and girls, SGBV amongst others, emphasizing that gender equality is serious and that her group can achieve nothing without working together with its partners.

Also in a special remark, Montserrado County District#2 Representative and Chair of the Women Legislative Caucus of Liberia, Rosanna Schaack, observed that for the past years, UN Women has been a key donor to activities carried out by the country’s Women Legislative Caucus.

Howbeit, Rep Schaack indicated that to date, there is no line in the national budget to support the Women Legislative Caucus, adding that therefore, the women legislative group has survived on the support of UN Women, UNDP, OxfamAction Aid and other non-governmental organizations, to carry its activities.

She noted that the women caucus works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, the Women NGO Secretariat, Coalition of Political Women, traditional women, women groupings and other organizations including CSOs, with funding from UN Women and other partners to have engagements with their constituents.

She added that there are only 10 women in the Legislature, stating that with the funding from UN Women and other partners, they were successful in working along with other women in their respective districts; engaging with these women and informing them more about their workings in the Legislature.

“For women to actively get involved into politics, they need funding and we are aware that women are working hard in Liberia and [that] they have the desire to participate in politics but because of the financial strength they are not able to be successful, said Rep Schaack, adding, “So with the focus on women empowerment, we feel this is to strengthen the confidence and self-esteem of women to actually be able to participate in leadership and politics.”

Meanwhile the Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Loretta Pooe-Kai said they have seen the work of UN Women in the following areas, but stressed that the UN body needs more collective action to continue its work around the five thematic areas.

For his part, Swedish ambassador to Liberia, Urban Sjostrom, expressed excitement to be part of the discussion.

According to him, he is eager to work with UN Women and partners to strengthen gender equality and the rights of women, emphasizing that he is a feminist who believes that women and girls have a space in the society.

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