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Friday, 03 September 2010 16:44

Hundred Women Get Financial Empowerment Training

MONROVIA, Liberia, September 3, 2010 (The Analyst) - The Microfinance Unit of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and CARE International, has completed a weeklong financial training program for more than one hundred women representing five community based organizations.


The organizations included; Youths for Destiny Community Development Saving Organization of the Children Assistance Program (CAP), Healthy Communities for a Brighter Future, Bonjah Community Development Association of the United Muslim  Women Empowerment Organization, Independent Women Saving Association,  and the Outland Saving and Loan Association.


Speaking during the graduation exercises held at the NETLIB Vocational Training Center in Congo Town, UNDP Microfinance Consultant at the Central Bank of Liberia, Kenyeh Barlay, said the training is under the Launch of an inclusive Financial Sector and the Village Saving and Loan Association Projects geared at making the women organize themselves, and enable them manage their funds properly.


Madam Barlay said the exercise was also intended to increase in women’s social capital and accumulation of female-controlled semi-liquid property, such as small livestock and household goods.


According to her,  the training further increases women’s livelihood security and reduces their exposure to risks by encouraging savings, which means that members work with their assets and not with loan liabilities (debts ).


She pointed out that with the Government of Liberia and the UNDP desirous of expanding the provision of financial services to deprived communities, the Launch of an Inclusive Financial Sector (LIFS) program, identified the need to increase the in-country skills and knowledge in the Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) methodology.


Ms. Barlay stressed that the expected outputs of the recently completed training workshops for VSLA facilitators and VSLAs formulation were improved in-country capacity to deliver VSLA services, twenty-two facilitators trained in the VSLA methodology and hundred women empowered through the adoption of VSLA methodology. The UNDP Microfinance Consultant noted that the various training workshops have created a pool of skilled personnel with the capacity to the VSLA methodology.


She said the one hundred association members (90% women) and twenty-two facilitators were trained by the Johnson Enterprise Incorporated (JEI) and the microfinance consultant, he said, will further be trained in business planning and management.


She disclosed that the exercise will be extended to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County by September 5, 2010.


Speaking earlier, the guest speaker of the occasion, the Country Representative of CARE International-Liberia, Mr. Hubert Charles, challenged the women to make use of the knowledge acquired to improve their lives and their families. Mr. Charles called on the women not depend on the economic strength of others, and pledged his organization’s support to the training of more women and the expansion of the exercise to other parts of the country.


For his part, the Administrative and Finance Officer of the Microfinance Unit of UNDP-Liberia, J. Cyrus Sagbe, said women can help many persons if they are empowered and described them as the best to manage money than men. Mr. Saygbe said women suffered a lot during the war while fetching food for their families.


He explained that the Launch of an inclusive Financial sector in Liberia ( a program supported by UNDP, UNCDF, and the Government of Denmark ), their vision is to help government meet Goal-one of the Millennium Development Goals, which is reducing absolute poverty by half by the year 2015. Mr. Saygbe however noted that 2015 is not far and that everything must be done to achieve this goal through hard work.


He disclosed that the Village Saving and Loan Association was one of their pilot projects initiated in 2008 which yielded good results.


According to him, the village saving is good because it does not make people depend on outsiders to give them money, due to the fact that money will always be there to empower one another. He stressed that the training will help the women empower themselves at the end of twelve months.


The program was graced by several individuals and organizations including members of the media. Certificates were awarded the graduates as well as the facilitators for their achievements.



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