“As women leaders, we can change Liberia.”
Meet Kebbeh Monger, 67, the President of the National Rural Women Structure of Liberia, a grassroots organization championing women’s economic empowerment in rural Liberia. Since her election in 2008, she has contributed immensely to transforming lives of women in various communities.
Under Ms. Monger’s leadership, women who did not have any vocational skills were empowered to develop various skills including tailoring, climate smart agriculture, business skills and adult literacy.
“I feel proud when I see women who were unable to write, being able to write. I feel proud when I see women making their own clothes, yet they were not able to sew before they joined the rural women structure. I am proud that rural women can make their own money and be able to make savings, says Ms. Monger.
Among her achievements as the President of the National Rural Women Structure of Liberia was the establishment of offices, creation of a membership database and empowerment of rural women through various initiatives that include training in business skills and agriculture with support from UN Women.
From their 100-acre piece of land in Passama, Lofa County in Northern Liberia, acquired after an exchange visit to Ethiopia with support from UN Women, 150 women are working on the farm to produce various crops to enable them to feed people in Liberia. The rural women are also planning to construct a community grain reserve with support from UN Women.
“When you are a leader, you have to show love and concern to the plight of the people. You must listen and be able to involve people in decision making. Networking, sharing information and being creative is very important,” affirms Ms. Monger.
Ms. Monger believes that it is important for women to be leaders. “Women have focus and they have vision. They want the best for the communities and people that they lead. Women are always making changes.”
When COVID-19 came, Ms. Monger participated in radio talk shows to raise awareness about the virus and encouraged rural women to prevent themselves from the virus and take precautionary measures. UN Women supported her initiatives with hygiene materials, while training women to make soap and food products processed from local cereals.
Ms. Monger’s message to the young people is that they should not be afraid to reach out to the elderly leaders so that they learn from them and be able to take over.
“What keeps me strong as a leader, is the love that the women are giving me, the unity and bond we have created and the changes in their lives. I want to see the lives of women changing,” explains Ms. Monger.
Ms. Monger, from Lofa County in northern Liberia has eight children, two girls and six boys. She also has five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.