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ForumCiv Hosts Second Rural Women
Land Rights Conference In Ganta

Access to land is a source of economic empowerment which promotes food security and women’s participation in decision making at all levels.
It is of great importance in order to achieve SDG 5 on gender equality.
Globally, women represent 43% of the agriculture labour force.
However, in most cases the land they are farming does not belong to them, they do not have title or control over it.
It is against this backdrop ForumCiv, a Swedish member-based civil society organization host its second Rural Women Land Rights Conference in Ganta, Nimba County from November 23-24, 2021.
The two days gathering held under the theme ‘‘Sustaining the Momentum to Secure Rural” seeks to build on the experiences from the 2020 conference and continue to provide a platform for rural women of Liberia to meet with duty bearers, policy makers and other
stakeholders to share their experiences and express their aspirations in the land sector in Liberia.
It also intended to strengthen the capacities of rural women and civil society based in rural counties for the attainment of rural land rights.
The conference which objective is to access the progress made since the last land rights conference and actions taken by duty bearers including the Liberia Land Authority to increase women and youth access, management and administration of land under customary laws, brought together over 200 participants including rural women leaders, traditional and religious leaders, line ministries, agencies of the Government of Liberia including the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Ministries of Agriculture and Internal Affairs and from 15 counties of Liberia.
The conference was characterized by solidarity messages from key stakeholders to the rural women, remarks and capacity development presentations, amongst others.
In a telecast statement via zoom, the Secretary General of ForumCiv Anna Stenvinkel encouraged the women to look back at what was achieved at the first conference and share the challenges and lessons learned “speak out and discuss! Your stories are important and unique” she told the women.
Delivering the Key Note address, Country Representative Working Group on Women, Youth Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel Meima SIrleaf-Karneh give a brief background of how the civil war has affected women rights and how the past and present governments have tried to improve women rights.
She mentioned several international instruments in resolution 1325 which speaks of women peace and security. She congratulated the women for successfully engaging the relevant stakeholders to pass the Land Rights Act.
“While there needs for celebration for the inclusiveness of the Law, there also need sober reflection and deeper engagement with various stakeholders including Law makers, traditional and religious leaders for enforcement other elements of the Law in case where it is not adhered to adequately address the rights of Rural women” she encouraged the women to remain very engaging to understand their rights and ensure that their rights are protected.
She also called on rights activists to make concrete efforts and form solidarity to engage traditional and religious leaders on the Land Rights Law in a holistic manner to ensure that rural women rights are understood and respected in the customary setting by providing education on the Land Rights Law, and assistance for any legal redress that Rural woman may need in pursue of their land rights; whether in customary or Statutory settings.
Also making remarks on behalf of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), the chairperson Atty. J Adams Manobah called on the women to see the conference as a cause for celebration for the Land Rights Act, which provides for the land ownership rights of communities with customary land including the rights of women and youth, and which also provides for equal benefits for community members from the natural resources.
Liberia has a Land Rights Law stating that women not only should have access to land, but to own and manage it.
In an exclusive interview, the executive director of ForumCiv, Mr. Asa Chon said there is a need for persistent awareness about women’s right to land ownership, and continual support to motivate and facilitate civil society and rural women engagement with duty-bearers to accelerate and strengthen women enjoyment of their land rights.
He mentioned that as the result of the first Land Rights Conference held Gbarnga Bong County, there are established (Gender units) in the offices of the Liberia Land Authority across rural counties.
He said the 2021 Conference will create a platform where women and youth from the 15 Counties of Liberia can share their experiences, discuss their challenges in the land sector and proffer solutions to address some of the many challenges they encounter.
At the end of the conference, the Land Rights Short Code to be used by all land rights actors and rural women in Liberia to report land rights issues from their communities and seek redress from policymakers and land stakeholders will be launched.
“With the knowledge gained during the two-day conference, it is expected that women will use the resolutions coming out of the conference to develop advocacy plans which will be used to engage duty bearers on their rights to land and other community resources” he exerted
He urged the media to get involve and create awareness on the issues rural women face in the communities “ It is also expected that advocacy at both the local and national levels will increase and that the media will put more pressure on duty bearers to take concrete actions to allow women to have equal rights to land and other natural resources in accordance with the 2018 Land Rights Law he concluded.
Speaking on behave of the women, the president of the National Rural Women Structure Liberia Madam Kebbeh Monger thanked ForumCiv for the level of engagement so far with Rural Women. she applauds the gains but was quick to note the challenges.
She women in southeastern Liberia continue to complain of their land rights violation by male family members. “We trying but the people in the southeast are giving us hard time…every day we are getting complain from there.”
She encouraged other rights organizations to join ForumCiv and support the Rural Women Structure to create awareness on forms of violence.
The Land Rights Law was signed In September 2018, by President George Weah with the purpose of ensuring that all communities, families, individuals and legal entities enjoy secure land rights free of fear that their land will be taken from them, except in accordance with the due process of law.

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