“My whole life I never spoke English. Now, at my age, I can write my name and I know my ABCs and 123s,” said an elderly woman at a gathering with UN Women delegates from New York held in Bopolu, a town tucked away in Liberia’s northern Gharpolu County. With support from UN Women, since 2012, around 600 women in Gharpolu County have been trained in literacy, entrepreneurship, leadership and other related economic skills with an ultimate aim to enhance their sense of physical security in public and private spaces. Implemented by the NGO Educare, the project is part of a larger programme that seeks to increase the participation of women in post-conflict planning and peacebuilding.

Women’s businesses are also taking off thanks to a village savings and loan programme, in which the women pool their resources, by making a small payment on a monthly basis and then individually borrow from the funds on a rotating basis, like a revolving credit.

It’s not just about economics, though. The trainings have enabled the women to form a special bond and support network with each other, especially during challenging times.

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Photo credit: UN Women /James Mulbah