Vice President Boakai Urges MaRU Women to Seek Economic Empowerment

Monday, 31st January 2011

Voinjama, Lofa County - Vice President Joseph N. Boakai is urging women of the Makona River basin to enunciate a plan for their own economic empowerment.

He observed that undertaking agricultural projects, cloth weaving, micro-credit, cattle rearing and other economic activities would empower the women and ensure stability in the Makona River basin.

Vice President Boakai made the call on Sunday, January 30 in Foya Statutory District, when a ten-member delegation of the Makona River Union (MaRU) women who had just ended a three-day coordinating meeting in the Sierra Leonean commercial town of Koindu, paid a courtesy on him in Foya city.

The meeting, according to the women, was intended to review activities of the union and resolve the conflict brewing within the Sierra Leone chapter of the organization.

The Makona River Union is a grouping of members of the Kiss ethnic group from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. All three countries were represented at the meeting.

Speaking further, the Liberian Vice President stressed the need for a bank in Foya to cater to the needs of members of the Makona River Union basin. He also stressed the need for investment in the transport sector to facilitate easy movement of goods and services in all parts of the region.

He also challenged the Makona River Union to plan to execute a project for this year’s July 26 Independence Celebration which will be held in Lofa County.

Meanwhile, Vice President Boakai is calling on the Makona River basin to expose any threat to peace in the sub-region. He observed that the war in Liberia and Sierra Leone impacted negatively on the three countries, and hoped all mechanisms would be put in place to prevent further conflict in the sub-region.

In remarks during the ensuing discussions, the sub-regional Chairlady of MaRU, Madam Zainab Traore of Guinea thanked the Liberian Government for efforts it has made to restore peace and stability to the sub-region.

She observed that the MaRU is an interesting mix of people who speak two different European languages, noting, “There is unity in diversity. We can learn from one another and help each other in various ways. It is our hope that the Non-aggression pact that is in force in the Mano River Union will be executed to the fullest to ensure that nationals of our three countries consider themselves as one people and live in peace and unity. ”

She reiterated the call MaRU women made to Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her visit to Foya District last year to consider empowering women in the sub-region in microcredit and other economic activities, noting “peace and stability cannot flourish without economic empowerment”.

Madam Traore  expressed concern about the high illiteracy rate in the sub-region and hoped authorities of the three countries would would do something to reverse this trend .
She also raised serious concern about the deforestation taking place in the Makona River Union basin. “The forests are being destroyed.

There is need for authorities to consider a reforestation program to avert the adverse effects of climate change that could be occasioned by deforestation.”