One of our favorite days to celebrate at SPI is International Women’s Day. This day is dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a time to renew focus on improving the status of women worldwide. This year we had the honor of celebrating International Women’s Day with Mayor Christine Norman of Bentol Liberia, and founder of REAP, one of our Liberia partners. While in the US visiting family, Mayor Norman took time out of her schedule to participate in a panel discussion that also included local Asheville women in leadership. The focus of the discussion was women’s empowerment and food security. The discussion was very informative and educational especially for our local SPI supporters.
SPI staff also had a very a rare face to face opportunity to discuss programing, and receiving program input and advice from Mayor Norman. At SPI we believe the first and most important piece to starting a seed program in any community is to get community input. Mrs. Norman and REAP program have offered to host a stakeholder meeting with leadership teams of 5 other SPI partners in Liberia in May 2016. The goal of the meeting is to engage our partners in a discussion about their communities' agricultural needs, potentials, women’s programs, and together create need list based on their suggestions and available resources.
Our overarching goal is to assess current partner needs, access to resources like training, land, transportation, and internet. This will help to discover gaps, common challenges and barriers, as well as locally available solutions to these challenges and barriers. We hope to achieve this through self-proposed actions that will benefit all SPI partners involved.
This meeting will help create new or strengthen existing self-formed and self-run groups that provides access to resources, inputs and services and opportunities to participate actively in program activities. The stakeholders will identify setting of project activities, planning and carrying out of activities as well as monitoring and evaluation. By bringing our partners together SPI can avoid becoming just a resource delivery vehicle, but rather a stakeholder at the table.
We hope this meeting will also start a network that will allow our partners to share skills, information and resources they each individually have access to.
We are grateful for our supporters, our work would be imposible without you.
Event organizers and Mayor Christine Norman
Mayor Christine Norman
Mayor Christine Norman and the Women of Bentol