April 16, 2021

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Affairs, Republic of Liberia, Williametta E. Saydee Tarr has said that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) can help Liberia and its Member States by ensuring that sustainable projects are implemented by donors and international partners.

She was speaking on the second day (13th-17th April 2021) of the Community Parliament’s delocalized meeting of the Joint Committee on Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment/Education, Science and Culture/Health, currently holding in Monrovia, Liberia’s Ministerial Complex, on the theme, “Empowerment of Women in the ECOWAS Region.”

Article 63 (Women and Development) of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty falls under the rubric, (CO-OPERATION IN HUMAN RESOURCES, INFORMATION, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS), states that: “Member States undertake to formulate, harmonize, coordinate and establish appropriate policies and mechanisms for the enhancement of the economic, social and cultural conditions of women.

 To this end, Member States shall take all measures necessary to: a) identify and assess all constraints that inhibit women from maximizing their contribution to regional development efforts; and b) provide a framework within which the constraints will be addressed and for the incorporation of women’s concerns and needs into the normal operations of the society; 3. At the Community level. Member States shall: a) stimulate dialogue among themselves on the kinds of projects and programmes aimed at integrating women into the development process; b) establish a mechanism for co-operation with bilateral, multilateral, and nongovernmental organizations; and c) promote and develop mechanisms to encourage the exchange of experiences and information between the Member States.”

In an interview,  Minister Tarr highlighted the steps being taken by her country in the implementation of Article 63 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty, updating that: “ We have passed laws and especially within the context of the George Weah-led  Administration, we have passed the Land Right Act that protects women and ensures that women can own properties, especially female spouses of men who are deceased because back in the day, we had situations were either the brothers or the family members will come and take over.

“We have passed the Domestic Violence Law which talks about ways in which we can see people who are violating these laws be put to jail or at least go through the court system to ensure that women and girls are protected. We continue to provide economic support to women through my own Ministry”.

Again, the Liberia Social Safety Net Programme that is supported by USAID, UKAID, and a loan from the World Bank where we focus on getting monies to the poorest of the poor part of our country, where we have the focus on the female head of households to ensure that they get whatever stipends that we are giving out so that they can ensure that their families are protected and have access to education which is an accompanying measure, and health. We work directly with UN Women and the Government of Canada on women’s political participation.

And further added that, they are working with our Legislators and their  National Elections Commission to ensure that they  can have laws put in place where women will be protected “We want to be sure that they will be supporting that bill at the end of the day so that we will have that protection and viability for women to enjoy.”