women's land rights (still) matter
Ownership and control over assets are central to women’s economic empowerment and their ability to contribute to local, national, and global economies. For many women, the most valuable of these assets are the land and natural resources from which they earn a living, provide for their families, and invest in their communities.
However, biased gender norms, widespread lack of knowledge about women’s land rights in Liberia, and gendered barriers to accessing information and services mean that women are often left out of decisions about land and are unable to exercise their land rights.
Bringing information on women’s land rights to women, men, and youth and fostering community conversations about women’s land rights at a time when Liberia’s communities are beginning the process of formalizing land rights and establishing community land governance bodies is critical and we are doing our part to ensure this message is well understood in Kolahun. So much more can be done, and we welcome your thoughts, ideas and support regarding this matter.
The Act, signed into law in 2018, is one of the most progressive land rights laws in Africa and is the first Liberian law that recognizes women’s rights to land. The Land Rights Act provides for the first time a nationwide process for communities to legally certify and manage their customary lands. The Land Rights Act also strengthens rural women’s legal rights to access and manage land by recognizing women as community members, mandating that each community member be allocated land for housing and agriculture, and requiring equal participation by women in community land governance bodies.
addressing women's mental health
Only until recently, Liberians who became mentally ill were left to fend for themselves, resulting in a rise in homelessness. Even though less than a majority of children in Liberia did not experience the war, growing up with traumatized parents and peers inadvertently affects the children.
Restore Hope Liberia offers a 12-week evidence-based interpersonal group therapy program for women. We have increased the number of weekly group sessions, created Train the Trainer therapy coaching, provided compensation to therapy Leads, and began offering transportation to and from group therapy sessions.
Restore Hope seeks $2,100 to cover 14 facilitators holding weekly sessions for three months. With an average of 6 women per group, we intend to serve 84 women in our next cohort, and we will hope to serve 200 women in 2022!
According to the WHO, more than 40% of Liberians suffer from post-traumatic stress and/or a major depressive disorder. Yet fewer than 1% of Liberians have access to mental health services. Women, in particular, are suffering from the effects of extreme poverty, civil wars, pandemic outbreaks, and sexual abuse. This trauma is debilitating and impacts their children as well. In an assessment of women connected to RHL's programs, 95% of the women screened met the threshold for clinical depression.
The need for accessible clinical depression treatment in the Kolahun District of Liberia is overwhelming current available resources. This project will fund the strategies endorsed by the WHO, which includes Interpersonal Group Therapy Interventions (IPT) and the necessary tools to sustain the program. Integrating IPT into existing women's empowerment activities will help advance women's economic and social empowerment, thus making and sustaining a positive impact on women's mental health.
By providing IPT for 350 women in Lofa County, Liberia over the next 2 years, we expect the results will be: 85% will experience a reduction in the intensity of their depression; 65% of women will experience a reduction in anxiety and PTSD; and 85% of the women in therapy will report higher social and economic empowerment scores (percentages based on the initial PHQ-9 screening conducted on all participants). Thus, mitigating debilitating depression and advancing women's economic opportunities.
You can support this program through our Global Giving campaign online: Support Liberian Women Today!