On March 17 2022, Hon. Jeanine Milly Cooper, Minister of Agriculture for Liberia, opened a two-day Gender Policy Fair in Monrovia. The Fair was planned to create awareness about existing gender policies, strategies and programmes for the agriculture, forestry and land sectors, as well as facilitate discussions on the challenges to successful implementation.
The Gender Policy Fair was organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Proforest and Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev) in Liberia.
The coverage on national television is here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMM72aBFUO0
Proforest carried out a gender assessment of the policy environment in relation to cocoa, oil palm, rubber and timber value chains in Liberia in 2019. It examined the extent to which women’s rights, roles, opportunities and responsibilities are treated equally to men's along those value chains. The assessment revealed that Liberia has made significant progress in enacting policies and strategies to address gender inequality issues; however, there is a need to consolidate and synchronise them all to make implementation easier for the public, private and social sectors.
During the Gender Policy Fair, participants learnt about the national gender strategy and policies (focusing on agriculture, forestry, and land) and academic research on gender issues in agro-commodity production. They also heard from NGOs and CSOs on current initiatives to address these issues. Private sector representatives also presented on initiatives within their supply chains. Some of the discussions focused on the barriers to implementation and opportunities for more effective collaboration.
The Gender Policy Fair provided an opportunity to map the gender-based organisations working in the agriculture and forestry sectors in Liberia, with a view to learning from their expertise and looking at potential collaboration.
Proforest’s work in Liberia is part of the Production Landscapes Programme funded by UKAid from the UK government’s Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme. Gender is an important aspect across Proforest’s Production Landscape Programmes. The management and use of natural resources are gendered: women and men have different roles, responsibilities, opportunities and access to information, resources and power, and can be differently affected by implementation of initiatives. Understanding gender issues leads to a better understanding of the natural resource management dynamics and avoids inadvertently excluding or discriminating against women or men.