MONROVIA – The Founder and Executive Director of the Business for Peace Community Development Foundation (B4P CODEFOUND), Lindora Kolu Howard-Diawara has noted that there are more opportunities and considerations for women issues worldwide!
Speaking on an international platform in the United States of America, a Virtual Community Town Hall Meeting organized under the auspices of the Northern Region of the Union of Liberians Association in the Americas (ULAA) led by its regional Vice President, Mr. Alpha Tongor, Madame Diawara pointed out that there are stronger gender justice and women empowerment policies and frameworks at both national and international levels that champions the rights and protection of women.
The Founder and Executive Director of B4P CODEFOUND mentioned during her presentation that the Beijing Platform for Action, Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the creation of a United Nations Women’s Entity- UN Women and many more are all vital international instruments that speak to the social, economic, cultural and political protection and advancement of women around the globe.
Madame Diawara told her audience that women empowerment and international laws, frameworks and programs have helped create opportunities and spaces for women to reflect on themselves, analyze, and define who they are, and make decisions that positively impact them as individuals, their families, their communities, their society, and the world at large.
Elaborating further on the empowerment of women, the Executive Director indicated that the empowerment of women impacts the wholeness and wellness of a woman physically, emotionally, spiritually as well as politically, stressing that when such is fulfilled a woman glows; becomes more focused and passionate about taking care of herself while continuing to care of others. She added that if empowered, a woman spiritually recognizes and connects with a being more powerful than she is; culturally innovates, and more importantly breaks barriers politically.
Talking about the challenges of women empowerment, Madame Lindora Kolu Howard-Diawara highlighted the influence of Patriarchy, a system that promotes male superiority over women, pointing to discrimination, marginalization and dehumanization that destroys the very soul of a woman depending on how she analyzes and internalizes her experiences.
According to Madame Diawara, the 2020 World Women’s Trends and Statistical report produced by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs highlights that less than 50% of working age women are in the labor market, a number that has barely changed since the last 25 years.
At least two hundred million women and girls, Madame Diawara noted, have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation and cutting. In terms of progress towards the protection of women, the report also highlights that 153 countries have domestic violence laws but with the largest gaps being in North Africa, Western Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Thankfully, she noted that Liberia has had a Domestic Violence law passed since 2014.
The overall objectives of the Business for Peace Community Development Foundation (B4P CODEFOUND), Madame Diawara said, is to (1) Build women and girl’s confidence to act as agents of change at local, national, and international levels, (2) Invest resources in women, girls, and communities to enhance their self-reliance and development, and (3) Connect individuals and groups to foster learning and encourage collective actions that yield greater community and societal impacts.
Madame Lindora Kolu Howard Diawara, who has had more than twenty (20) years’ experience in the field of peacebuilding called on ULAA to redefine its purpose in terms of politics and strategize and become more innovative in championing and advocating for Liberians worldwide. She mainly pointed out that ULAA should ensure and provide Liberians access to information, especially documentary material that is accessible on its website, and develop specific programs to support the empowerment of women and youths, bearing in mind the importance and role of the younger generation expected to be torch bearers.
In her Presentation, the B4P CODEFOUND Executive called for a moment of silence in remembrance and honor of three activists who died this year including the late Jennifer Gray-Brumskine of Staten Island-New York who dedicated her time to community building, women empowerment, and justice.
Madame Diawara also named Roseline Toweh of Liberia who dedicated her time to empowering young girls and promoting peace in Liberia, as well as Ma. Annie Nushann, a grassroots peace, and women’s rights activist from Bong County, known globally for her work. She, like the others, received many awards including the UN Population award in 2019.
The Virtual Community Town Hall Meeting, which was hosted by ULAA Northern Region, featured other high-profiled Liberians in the United States involved in community initiatives. They include Mrs. Diana Konate, ESQ Policy Director African Communities Together, Mr. James Jornyoun Secretary General of FOLAO, Mr. Steve Borlay President Liberian Association in Arizona, Mr. Valiaku Kargbo President Liberian Association of IOWA, Mr. Kamaty Diahn Executive Director Organization of Liberians in Minnesota. Also gracing the occasion were the President and Vice President of ULAA, Mr. J. Shiwoh Kamara and Ms. Minerva Grant respectively.