UN Women, Partners Support Communities Enhance Gender Equality, Peacebuilding in Maryland County, Liberia


Rural women residing in Maryland County, in Liberia are gradually being allowed to form part of discussions around land issues, property inheritance, and participate in decision-making at the household and community levels. 

This is a result of awareness-raising and training support they received on the new Land Rights Act, Local Government Act, and gender-based violence from the “Sustaining Peace and Reconciliation through strengthening Land Governance and Dispute Resolution Mechanisms,” jointly implemented by UN Women, UNDP, and WFP with funding from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).

During a recent field trip to five (5) project communities in Maryland County, rural women - buttressed by their male counterparts - said the PBF project was empowering them in becoming more aware about their rights as women and their role as members of the communities in which they live.

Beneficiaries of the Peace Hut in Tamba Community, Maryland County. Photo @UN Women Liberia/ John Monibah
Beneficiaries of the Peace Hut in Tamba Community, Maryland County. Photo @UN Women Liberia/ John Monibah

“In the past the old law did not include us women, but the new land rights law that was passed in September 2018 allows women and youth to form part of land discussions,” said Patricia Dennis of Kaken-Gbolobo in Maryland County. 

In addition, Wleetibo Dennis highlighted that, “In the past, women never discussed or owned land but today, women, men, and youth can sit together with the elders and decide issues on land ownership.” 

The beneficiaries in the County, in separate gatherings, appealed to UN Women Liberia to expand its outreach and to organize more engagements on the awareness-raising campaigns on land rights and ownership, GBV education, and women’s participation in local leadership and decision-making.

Liberia Land Authority Administrator for Maryland County, Robert H. Moore, said land conflicts arising out of farming, mining, and ownership rights were widespread, and women participation in dispute resolution mechanisms was now inevitable. According to him, unlike before when women used to be marginalized, they are now involved in decision making. Even when the husband dies, they are no longer ejected and denied properties.

Under this PBF joint project, UN Women Liberia leads on awareness-creation on the Land Rights Act and Local Government Act including components on rights of communities over customary land, women land rights, and alternative dispute resolution. WFP is responsible for enhancing livelihoods for concessions-affected communities through implementation of agricultural activities – providing seedlings, farming equipment’s and trainings for communities. UNDP handles the capacity strengthening of land governance institutions at national and local levels as well as customary land formalization, boundary harmonization, and confirmatory survey. The project, funded by the PBF through the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, is implemented in close collaboration with the Liberia Land Authority, other national institutions, and civil society organizations.