Amb. Wesseh Turns over UNDP S/Leone donated Equipment to Radio MARWOPNET-Wants More Women Voices Heard

MONROVIA – The Secretary General of the Mano River Union(MRU) Ambassador Medina Wesseh  on Friday, June 3, 2022 turned over transmitter equipment donated by the United Nations Development Program office in Sierra Leone to a local community radio being operated by the Mano River Union Women Peace Network (MARWOPNET Liberia), Radio MARWOWOPNET 96.7 FM in Tewor District, Grand Cape Mount County and urged the management of the station to make sure that the voices of women, which centered around gender equality and participation of women in every aspect of the society are heard.

At a brief ceremony held in the Town Hall, Ambassador Wesseh commended the UNDP office in Sierra Leone through the Resident Representative Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai for the prompt response it gave when she made a representation on behalf of the radio station after its facilities got burned on May 19, 2019 which  have affected the entire operation of the radio station up to present. She said, Dr. Beyai who had earlier served in a similar position in Liberia did not waste time to respond to the request because he was already familiar with the activities of the radio station with respect to its role in promoting peace, communal development and enhancing women initiatives in the area.

She also commended the efforts of the community leaders, women group, the youth and others for showing such a huge commitment to the communication outfit and claiming communal ownership of the project which enabled it to make profound contributions to promote the spirit of oneness among citizens of the member states.

“So we want to see programs like women in agriculture, women in peace building, women in community relations. We want to hear their voices across every aspect of the society because as I said why I developed passion in this radio station is because of what you have done to keep it alive, you contributed to the enhancement of peace in this country and you need to be encouraged”, she said.

Ambassador Wesseh also promised to discuss with the UNDP Liberia office on supporting the radio station with electricity through solar energy, starting with a pilot support that will last for a year and possibly seek for renewal of the assistance on a sustained basis to cushion the effect of power supply the radio station was challenged with in the past.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the District Commissioner Hadji Jabateh said he was excited to welcome Ambassador Wesseh to his domain and witness the turning over of the transmitter equipment to the station. He said since the operations stopped at the station, the community has experienced a lot of difficulties as the only means of community for the local citizens ceased to exist , thus negatively impacting peace building, communal security, discussion on development, community meetings , etc.  He also said that since the disaster, no funding has come from any source and everything that went to the revitalization of the project has come from the community people themselves, especially the local market women who sell their products and make voluntary contributions.

His assertion was buttressed by the General Paramount Chief, Morris McCarthy who told the audience that he can now sleep soundly, believing that one day the radio station will be back on air and serving the community.

The District chairlady Madam Lucia Sonii who was visibly elated at the program said she was surprised when information got to her that the community will be receiving donation of some transmitter equipment to assist in the re-opening of the station. She said the radio station was a major medium where the local citizens get information across to them, especially the women who used it for meetings and passing out messages on development.

Miss Jenneh Kemokai who spoke for the civil society also commended the efforts of the UNDP Sierra Leone for the donation and urged the local station management to make full use for the intended purpose.

In his overview note about the radio station, Musa Paasawe said the station which was built by the Mano River Women Peace Network Liberia with funding from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), has been broadcasting peace messages to promote the women’s voices of peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other regions and helping in providing security in the sub-region during and after elections and easing communication barriers in the two MRU countries.

He said due to the inactivity of the station, the region has witnessed and experienced several election violence in Grand Cape Mount and other parts in Western Liberia with reference to an election violence that occurred in Jenneh, Tewor District during the 2021 voters’ roll update which injured several persons. He said once the station is restored it will contribute more to peace and development to the area.

In her special remarks, Mrs. Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah, the Focal Person of the Mano River Women Peace Network Liberia  thanked Ambassador Wesseh for honoring her commitment to be at the program and make the presentation of the much needed equipment on behalf of UNDP Sierra Leone and assured her that the equipment will be used for the intended purpose. She said the women in the area have been very instrumental in pushing for initiatives that will bring benefits not only to the women folks but also for the general community as can be seen with the massive support the project has been receiving since the radio station got destroyed and stopped functioning.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Wesseh made a stopover at the Forestry Training Institute (FTI) to meet the management and ascertain information how the Mano River Union could be of assistance in upgrading the standard of the facilities so as to make it more impactful for students who attend the institution.

She said it was high time FTI got involved in a more elaborate way to provide greater opportunities for training and employment upon graduation. She said there are more the school can do in terms of conservation, preservation and protection of the forest and natural resources of the country and pledged the support of MRU to uplifting the standards and facilities of the academic arena, adding that it is the intention of MRU to take some students from other member countries to acquire education at FTI and look forward from the management on its proposal moving forward.

Earlier in his welcoming remarks, Mr. Joel D. Gamys thanked Ambassador Wesseh for her visit and discussed wide range of issues affecting the institution including the efforts being made to re-evaluate and upgrade the academic program of FTI where its credits will be accepted at the University of Liberia and improving in the physical infrastructure of the school.

He assured Ambassador Wesseh of his commitment to her interest and will subsequently update her relative to her quest from the management.

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