Monrovia - Women from twelve of the 16 West and Central African countries who are members of the Rights and Resources Initiative regional organization are holding their third regional gender climate change, Land and Forest Tenure in Africa meeting in Liberia.
The Group is a conglomeration of organizations directly engaged in land, property policy reform with members of women from close to 20 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
The sole purpose of the group is to support community and indigenous people, especially against marginalization by promoting greater global commitment and action toward policy; market and legal reform that secure women's rights and ensure that they benefit from natural resources especially land forest.
Madam Cecile Ndjebet President of REFACOF said, over the past five years the organization has worked to advance women saying and rights and their voices in reform processes by raising awareness of policy makers and officials of government at different levels about the importance and challenges about promoting Gender justice and provides food for gender and governance reform.
Ndjebet said: “The organization has supported networks and NGOs working on Gender Justice and women's organizations advancing women Tenure rights helping them to share the lessons of national reforms and understand which platform and advocacy offer the best opportunity for advancing their agenda.”
The formation of the group is a result of the Cameroon international conference of Forest tenure, governance and enterprise held in May 2009. She also disclosed that the conference is taking place in Liberia because Liberia has the potential of being the leaders in southern and West Africa in upholding the underline customary land and forest rights of communities because of its current position as the only country with the largest forest in West Africa.
Also speaking, Mrs. Julie Weah, Director, Foundation for Community Initiative in Liberia said, women in Liberia are responsible for growing subsistence crops and formally have to walk long distances to collect cooking wood and water, but despite their increase reliance on Natural resource as compared to their male counterpart they have less access to land and control over Natural resources.
She also claimed, that women and girls are systematically marginalized and discriminated through power relation that combine with other system of subordinating and exploitive social relation to place them in a more constrained position than their men or boy counterparts in the same class, ethnicity, age and other relation.
Mrs. Weah said: “We will continue to work to allow equal gender participation in the decision making process, so that there is equitable benefit revenue from Natural resources for all especially women of Countries of this organization.”
For her part, Mrs. Ina Christiansen, who proxy for Gender Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell, welcomed the delegates to Liberia and re-emphasizing the government of Liberia, under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, preparedness of protecting the rights and participation of women in the policy making process as it relates to the country forest and Natural resources.