Fighting for women's rights in Liberia

Thursday, August 18, 2011 - 09:14

I have always been passionate about helping people in need and I have done so in many different ways - through counseling, conversations, trainings, collaboration, networking and experience-sharing.

Through these means, I was sponsored by ActionAid Liberia, the Women NGO Secretariat and the World Bank to travel to Ethiopia, New York and Sierra Leone to attend conferences and seminars on behalf of the women of Liberia.

I grew up in the city of Buchanan, Capital city of Grand Bassa, where I still live and work.  As a young woman, I was always keen to help people - for instance as a secretary I would type-up application letters for my friends using my own stationery. Later, as a mother, I would go to hospital with my own children and realizing that other mothers couldn’t speak English, would volunteer to interpret for the nurses and doctors so that people could get treatment.

In July 2011 I was honored to be awarded the Golden Image Award.  This award is annually given to Liberians and other nationals, who have successfully impacted the lives of Liberians through continued sacrifices and public services. It also promotes peace, supports and motivates humanitarians in and around Liberia and the world at large. This award system was organized by the Crusaders for Peace in honor of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia.

As the Executive Director of the Bassa Women Development Association (BAWODA), a local non-governmental organization, I work mainly with women and young girls in Buchanna city. Through my work over the years and my affiliation with young women, I saw the need to gather women and help them understand their basic human rights. From its inception till now, the organization has produced radio programs on the Liberian Constitution and other local and international rights instruments for local radio stations in Buchanan, Grand Bassa, West Central Liberia. Citizens including men, women, youths, children and residents have all benefitted from these radio programs. The lives of women who listened to the radio programs have much improved and these radio programs are now being replicated in four counties across Liberia.

Many people have benefitted from our humanitarian activities and our institution has won serveral awards and certificates from local and international NGOs through our empowerment programs and advocacy. 

Currently, as the chairperson of the Women Won’t Wait Coalition I am working with people to address the many injustices that women face. The coalition consists of 15 women’s organizations focusing on the intersections between HIV and violence against women. We work mainly from a women’s perspective as a policy platform, advocating for fairer laws and policies for women living with HIV and AIDS and sufferers of violence against women.  It is challenging work and a very humbling experience to work with so many other wonderful women’s organizations.