Working to Improve Women's Rights and Dignity

Working to Improve Women's Rights and Dignity

Liberia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Poverty is acute among the women population in rural Liberia. The key factors are lack of knowledge and awareness, and a cycle of discrimination against women. The project will build the capacity of these women to increase their knowledge on legal and basic rights to land and property, mobilize them to engage policies that discriminate against women, and take action at local and national levels.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There is an acute cycle of poverty among the women population of our target area. Why? A. Lack of legal knowledge, skills and awareness b. Denial of basic rights and age long discrimination against women c. Lack of access to land and property d. Limited access to health and education These factors have kept the female population in a vulnerable position, acute poverty, and denial of legal rights to land, economic, property, education, and other basic rights of women thereby subjecting the female population to a life without land, dignity and opportunity for the last century of our existence as people and a nation. We intend to change the situation by increasing the legal and basic knowledge of these women to land and property and improving their general rights by building their capacity through workshops, legal education on land, property and dignity, and creating awareness through training, conferences and how to take action to decrease discrimination against women on land, property and equality.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The idea is unique because it was borne out of a practical experience and story of one who under went discrimination against women at the highest level. In order to network these women groups so that they can speak and act with a single voice against traditions, practices that categorize women, deny them of their legal and basic rights to land, property and dignity and to decrease those practices from continuously affecting other women across the region/nation and beyond, the idea was developed. The marginalized and vulnerable women of the rural area who carry these burdens and load of discrimination as victims over the years are the ones in the lead now stirring for the legal and basic rights of women to land, property, inheritance, dignity and equal opportunities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Give Them Hope, Inc has mobilized the women of eastern and central Upper Nimba for the last twelve months. Fifteen awareness workshops were carried out along with three major conferences on rights of women, poverty, land, health, HIV/Aids, legal access to property bringing together 1200 women at each conference, and 200 women and girls at each workshop. 100 women volunteers received training to go and train others in order to reach the entire female population, with the call to improve women's lawful rights to land, property, dignity and equality. Our impact is far reaching and has gone across 35,138 women and hope to cover the 87, 529 women and girls of our target areas. From November 17-21, 2010, we will bring 1500 women and girls from 109 communities along with other stakeholders for a conference in Karnplay, Upper Nimba to discuss issues like: Women's rights to land, property, education, medical, politics, economic, and general rights of women. A written petition will be submitted to the parliamentarian from the region asking him to convey to the central government, law makers to revisit past laws and traditions that discriminate against women on land, dignity and property and pass laws to improve the legal rights of women to property, land, education, health, inheritance, and dignity. The laws and amendments should be published and made public so that women can be informed through awareness that those rights now exist in their favor. We use the local FM station to create awareness in local languages on women's rights to land, property, health; we network women groups, encourage women to take action, join the file, by doing so we reach the women, girls and a large radio audience monthly. Our impact is high, captivating and touching the heart of every female in our region. Our boat advocating for the rights of women to land, property and dignity has left the port of discrimination and is heading for the port of liberty where women will celebrate victory.
About You
Organization:
Give Them Hope, Inc
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Zaye

Last Name

Fanyean

Country

, NB

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Organization Name

Give Them Hope, Inc

Organization Phone

231-6-66-4865

Organization Address

Give Them Hope, Boe Community, Ganta, Nimba County, Liberia

Organization Country

, NB

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, NB

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Yes

Impact
Actions

We have designed the following steps for the next three years starting 2010 to turn the tide around.
a. Mobilization
To bring the women together, create cluster groups in the various communities,coordinate their activities and stir them for action
b. Awareness
When we have succeeded in our mobilization, awareness of the reality and current issue as to why the female population continue to live in acute poverty and the denial of women's land and property rights would be addressed.

c. Capacity building
We will build the capacity of these women, to rise up and break this cycle of poverty, lack of rights, land, education, health and dignity.

d. Network
We will build a cluster of women group in every community to network and improve on ending the cycle of poverty and lack of access to health, land, education, property and the basic rights of women.

e. Legal engagement
We will engage legal practitioners who will conduct capacity building workshops with all of our women groups on the legal rights and implications of rights for women on land, health, education, economic, property, etc.

f. Policy engagement
To engage policies that discriminate against women.

Results

Year I: Mobilization and Awareness
a. We have mobilized 35, 138 women in 93 communities for the first year
b. We have created awareness to 35000 women and girls on factors leading to acute poverty among women
c. Improved the understanding levels of 35000 women and girls in eastern and central upper Nimba for the last 12 months.
d. 100 volunteers trainers trained to visit all the targeted communities as we network the women groups for action

Year II: Capacity Building and Networking
a. Increase the understanding levels of women on the root causes of poverty and denial of women's land and property rights and action to decrease it
b. Strengthen women through capacity building and networking on the rights of women to land, property, health, education, elections, etc.

Year III: Legal engagement and Policy Engagement
a. Improve women’s knowledge on the legal implications of rights, land, property
b. Strengthen women’s rights to land, equality, dignity by challenging policies that discriminate

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

If so, how?

The project will direct a communication to the house of parliament through the district parliamentarian on discrimination against women when it comes to possession of land and property in the rural area; and the need to execute reform and implement new laws /policies on gender equity. We will also engage policies on land, property right, women's right and dignity at local and regional levels. Policies and traditional attitudes and behaviors at local level that humiliate and discriminate against women would be engaged through dialogue, education, awareness so as to increase women access to land, property and equal rights.

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with government?

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation.

Partnership is very crucial to the success of our project. Partners that would bring on board new skills, knowledge, expertise, encouragement, motivation, training, capacity building, network, ideas and if possible, funding would greatly serve as catalyst in helping us reach our desired goals of breaking the cycle of poverty among female population. Collaboration is key to the success of any endeavor and would highly be considered for our initiative to increase women legal access to land and property.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

There are three means that we acquire funding: a. Members: each member contributes time, resources, for every workshop, activity, and conference
c. Individual donations: Obeto and Kian Lombaye, our board members , they have contributed to the organization
d. Friends and family: We as a family put our time, earnings, incomes, resources, building to help us reach our goals of improving the rights and dignity of women
e. We have not received funding from any organization yet

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Women in our society in Liberia have been regarded as properties and therefore they do not have the rights to anything; right to education, right to own property, right to own land, right to health, right to freedom of speech and expression. As the result, there is more illiteracy and poverty rate among the women than men. This project will increase the knowledge and understanding levels of these women and create legal and general awareness for their basic and legal rights to land, property and dignity in the society.
Few years ago, I sat and listened to my mother-in-law as she narrated her ordeal and frustrations to me after her husband died. She was blessed with seven children of whom my husband is the last born. After the death of her husband, Naomi was asked by other family members to leave for home immediately. She was told never again to step on the five large coffee farms that they have improved over the years. Additionally, she was told never to make farm on the land, but to return to her village. To make things hard for her, a family member issued writ against her to the district commissioner’s court. At the court, the ruling was, “Lady, you have no rights to the coffee farms, the land and the properties including the house and children. Only the younger child less than seven years of age will go with you; but he will be carried back once he is seven years.” In tears, she left this area where she had lived for more than thirty years and returned to her home village to begin a new life. What a sad denial of a woman’s rights to her children, land and property and home! This story, plus my own upbringing, and the gross discrimination against women and the denial of their rights to land, property and value that I have witnessed over the years compelled me and my organization to work hard to break this cycle of poverty predicated on denial of land, property, inheritance, education, medical, social and economic rights and dignity of women. The present political set up in the country with a female president is one of the best opportunities ever for us women in rural Liberia to seize and we feel that it is now time to increase, strengthen women knowledge and understanding on legal and right issues, engage traditions that disallow women land, their rights, and challenge policies that discriminate against women. This story is one in a pool of many unheard every day of denials and discrimination that women face. We have resolved to face and engage these traditions, laws, attitudes and actions that refuse women land, property, value and dignity so that from now onward women can enjoy their legal rights to land, property, equality and dignity.

Tell us about the social innovator—the person—behind this idea.

I Zaye Fanyean was born unto the union of Mr. and Mrs. Fanyean in rural Liberia. The early intervention of my sister at an urban area by carrying me to be with her helped delivered me from these multiple discrimination that girls and women face in the rural areas. I was fortunate to have completed my high school education and diploma at nursing school through the kind hospitality of some American missionaries.
I completed by BSc in Nursing in 2008; and in 2009, went for a certificate in graduate studies for Nursing Management and Administration at JICA in Tokyo, Japan.
I presently serve as the Executive Director of our organization, Give Them Hope, Inc.
Our desire as family and organization is to serve as the voice of the many vulnerable girls and women who face gross discrimination and denial of their basic rights to education, health, land, property, economic, status, and dignity. We are determined to break the cycle of poverty and begin a new paradigm where both men and women enjoy the same basic, equal and legal rights to land, property and dignity

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another source, please provide the information.

We got to know about you through Funds for NGOS

Additional
Which (if any) of the following strategies apply to your organization or company (check as many as apply)

Formalizing and documenting property rights (i.e. titling, leasing or certification), Legal education and awareness, Other.

Please explain how your work furthers one or many of the above strategies (if you selected “other”, please explain your strategy)

We further the above strategies by advocating the legal rights of women to land, property, good health, education, and basic rights.
We further the above strategies by creating legal awareness, building capacity, increasing understanding levels, and engaging policies on discrimination against women. We will engage policy makers at local, regional and national levels to ensure gender equality.