MONROVIA-The Organization for Women and Children in partnership with Oxfam Liberia is implementing the European Union Enough Project that seeks to empower survivors and at-risk women of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV).
They are empowered through village savings and loan Association (VSLA) in three communities in Montserrado County to include Peace Island, Chugbor and Doe communities.
VSLA is a group of people who save together and take small loans from those saving.
The activities of the group run in cycles normally over one year period, after which the accumulated savings and the loan profits are distributed back to members.
Under the EU-Enough project this VSLA activities will contribute to “local women’s groups initiate and conduct income-generating activities for the empowerment of their members to combat SGBV.”
According to them, Liberian women have been victimized over the period due to gender inequality. One of the underlying factors contributing to violence against women is the limited financial power to fight violence that is perpetrated against them, as the result many of them are venturing into savings and loan as a profitable business venture which is contributing to their economic independence.
Speaking over the weekend at the disbursement of the second accumulative fund from their savings and loan profits, members expressed gratitude to ORWOCH, Oxfam, FCI and EU taking into consideration the impact of the VSLA in their lives.
For some of the members, they said when all hopes were gone, the VSLA become a dependable partner which according to them was the only source of hope and suitability adding that they are economically empowered and self-sufficiency.
Members confessed that the experience of the VSLA cannot be compared to other saving groups attesting that it is mostly free of tension and stress.
Making remark at the disbursement of funds, Victoria Quaqua, Deputy Vice Chair for Political and International Affairs the Alternative National Congress (ANC), encouraged the women to hold together and invest in agricultural activities that would help grow their resources.
Quaqua who is also the Executive Director of Peace also pleaded with women to help support their female counterparts when there are elections on grounds that and there are good things in the law that support women, but are swept under the carpet due to limited women in the Liberian Legislature.
“Right now the money we are looking for should be used to help our sisters that want to run and forget about the men small and focus on electing more women. We need to encourage our women to take bold steps toward whatsoever they want to do.”
She also lauded the donors and implementing partner as we encourage the women to think about the future and not keep themselves down.
Hawa Varney from the Foundation of Community Youth Initiative said the EU wants to empower more women to do something for themselves because violence against women is high in Liberia.
“You have been able to not only save the money, but there are other things you have learned over the period and we want you to pass it on to others” Madam Varney encourage the women.
She added, “We believe this village saving form a solidarity of sisterhood as such you should hold together to move the organization forward for the development of your community and country.”
She furthered, “Other people will take the money and don’t paid, but let me tell you, those of you that crediting the money, those that making businesses and not paying the money you are not doing going for yourself, that’s not the organization because the little dollar that you bring is going to add the money up and make it to grow; so let do it together for the betterment of ourselves, children and Liberia at large.”
Similarly, the Coordinator for the Oxfam EU-Enough Project said the second disbursement of funds signifies that those women have worked hard over the period with diligence and sincerity admonishing them to remain on such path.
Also speaking, Comfort bewailed said, “Over time we have said enough is enough that is why we have come to say.”
She said, “You have said enough is enough, we as women can empower ourselves, we can work with our hands because by doing so the exploitation is going to end.”
She further appreciated ORWOCH for bringing these women together and empowering them to stand on their own.