LP Launches Women Empowerment Project Bility: “Open your eyes to vote for someone who will help you and the country tomorrow”
Amid fanfare which included singing, dancing and celebration, the Liberty Party went beyond just recruiting new members to beef up its numerical strength on Saturday, November 6, 2021, to launch a women empowerment project for its members in the 17 districts of Montserrado County and realized the targeted amount of USD25, 500 in pledges to assist them in various business venture at a colorful program held at the Party’s national headquarters on 19th Sinkor, Monrovia.
As early as 9 am, the women, all dressed in the party’s white T-Shirts with inscriptions of the party’s name and logo and in green color, had already started converging at the venue of the program driven in buses from various locations while others from nearby districts walked in. Within a short period of time, the venue was filled with a very enthusiastic assembly of women who also defiled the bright sunny day to stay on until the program commenced later on in the afternoon.
The defining moment of the day came when a convoy which brought in the National Chairman of the party Mr. Musa Hassan Bility and the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander Cummings accompanied by his wife, Teresa and others stormed the arena and set it into wild jubilation, making it difficult for the entourage to disembark from their vehicles. It took the extra vigilance and efforts of private security personnel attached to the politicians and those of the party to enable Bility, Cummings and others to go through the huge crowd and take their seats at the program.
Besides the two top politicians who obviously were the outstanding personalities to behold, the gathering also had in attendance the National Secretary General of the Party, Martin Kollah, Madam Wadei Powell, National Treasurer, Cllr. Kuku Dorbor, Legal Counsel, Williette Lassanah, Chairlady, Women Wing, etc and many other top partisans of both the LP and ANC.
In her brief welcome remarks at the program, Madam Willette Lasanah, Chairlady of the Women Wing of the party said the intention of the project is to provide a viable means for the women who are partisans of the Liberty Party to engage in some business ventures so as to generate income for them and their families. “This is a mission accomplished and we want to thank everyone of you for your commitment in the process. Today we are going to raise funds to empower ourselves. This is a way to show to our women partisans that the Liberty Party is not just about talking and recruiting members. We are recruiting and at the same time taking care of our members especially the women”, she said.
Giving details of the scheme, the National Treasurer, Cllr Wadei Powell said that the project was conceived by the party out of its desire to assist women in the 17 districts of Montserrado County and will also be replicated in the rest of the districts in the other 15 counties in the future. She said it will be done through the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) model wherein a self-selected group of people, pool their money into a fund, from which members can borrow. The money is paid back with interest, causing the fund to grow.
The hardworking executive member of the party told the women to take advantage of the scheme while also encouraging them to be vigilant in the activities of the party in their respective districts as well as supporting the cause of women participation in politics in the country. “You know we women have been supporting the men in this country, and most of the time, when they succeed they do not look back to us. I want to call on you to please encourage and support women in our electoral process so that we cannot always be following the men. The Liberty Party supports and will always stand with her women partisans”, she said.
She said the target was to raise USD$25,500.00, which will be shared among the 17 districts wherein each district will be given an amount of $1,500.00. She added that each of the groups in the districts will first have to go through training from experts on how to organize themselves and operate the business.
Because of the time factor, the launching kicked off immediately thereafter with the Standard Bearer of the ANC and presidential hope of the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP) launching it, expressing his delight for the scheme which he described as being worthy which he promised to introduce within his party.
He repeated his support for gender equality and women participation in leadership positions in the country, promising to introduce a legislation for 30% of the seats in the national legislature to be given to women in the first 100 days in office when he is elected President in 2023. He lauded the contribution of women in the country, stressing that they should be elevated to positions of decision making in the country. He pledged $5,000, which was the highest at the program on behalf of him and his wife. However, his wife, Teresa later on pledged an additional $3,000.00 after she was called upon to support her fellow women.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of Liberty Party, Mr. Musa Hasan Bility said he was excited for the project, saying it goes a long way to demonstrate the beliefs of the party in women and their contribution to the political struggle in the country. He praised a group of women in the party whom he described as the source of his staying power that anyone who goes against him will fail and named his wife, his sister Binta, Cllr Powell and Cllr Dorbor. “You know why people who go against me are not succeeding? It is because I have some strong women with me. At least 2 or 3 are here today and I am proud of them. When you try to attack me they will come to my defense, that is why I cannot be defeated”, he said
He cautioned the women to be wise in their decision making against 2023 to choose people who are interested in their welfare and the future of the country so that the country can prosper. He did not make any specific reference to any politician leader who has what it takes to lead the country proper according to his standard.
Mr. Bility who pledged $4,500 on behalf of his wife, and jokingly said he didn’t want to offend Mr. Cummings who intends to run for the President and if successful, may hold it against him (Bility), said the scheme is meant to be carried out in the 73 electoral districts of Liberia, beginning first with Montserrado County and gradually expand in the other counties.
A breakdown of the other pledges at the launching has Mrs. Bility pledging $4,500 apart from what her husband had pledge jointly for him and her, Madam Powell made three pledges for herself in her capacity as Chief Executive Officer of Srimex Oil and Gas the amount of $1,500, and as National Treasurer, $2,000 and on behalf of Kada Women Movement $1,000, totaling $4,500, Ruku Barry $1,000, Williette Lassanah $500 and former Senator Clarice Jah, $500.
The program which was well planned and executed saw some of the women being excited and grateful to the leadership of the party, especially the women leadership for organizing the project and vowed to take advantage of the opportunities the party has availed to them.
“I don’t know where to start from. I have been voting for parties and politicians in this country since 2005 without any benefit but from what I am seeing in this Liberty Party, there will be better days ahead for us the women if the party comes to power one day. They are not in power but see how they are taking care of their members especially the women. If other parties can do this kind of program for the women, I know the hardship will reduce”, an elated Mary Gbeh, a fish seller in Duala said at the program.
Another woman, who is a widow having lost her husband in 2017, and didn’t want to be mentioned in the press said she is hopeful that the village saving and loan scheme will succeed because she was part of one before and was very successful to raise capital for her used clothes business until her husband fell sick and had to use all the money to foot his medical expenses. “I was really happy when they told us it is going to be the village saving and loan business because I was part of one of them before where I was able to raise money to do my used clothes business but the illness of my husband took my business backward”, she said.