Change Begins With Me: In Liberia, Women Train for Transformation
The second round of workshops empowers women leaders to develop self-reliant communities.
by Vivian Cooke
Twenty women of various ages from across the Liberia Annual Conference participated in a Training for Transformation refresher course earlier this spring. The course invigorated the United Methodist Women team in Liberia with knowledge and skills to support their work within their own communities. The women engaged in advocacy and community development to achieve social justice and equality.
The trainers of the workshop, Dr. Victor Massaquoi and Keziah Kargbo of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference, stressed that the training aims to produce local leaders who can engage within their various communities. In turn, local leaders empower each other to take ownership and control of their developmental programs in a sustainable way.
Regional Missionary of South Sahara Africa, Finda Quiwa, noted that Training for Transformation, funded by United Women in Faith, is a well-established developmental tool for empowering women and girls within the United Methodist Church.
Quiwa explained that the workshops were organized by United Women in Faith to assist and encourage women as they develop self-reliant and creative communities. The goal of the training? To catalyze the personal growth of women and to inspire self-reflection and self-awareness. A guiding theme, Quiwa said, may be found in the wisdom of the saying, “Change begins with me.”
Growing as Individuals and as Communities
The training addressed an individual’s internal struggle as she grows to understand more deeply who she is — her purpose and her desires. The training also focused on the participants’ capacity to serve as agents of change while, at the same time, seeking to address the basic needs of their communities. The group agreed to four steps leading to their transformation: charity, development, liberation, and transformation.
Meanwhile, the president of the Conference United Methodist Women Organization, of the Liberia Annual Conference, Dr. Muriel V. Nelson, embraced the training and termed this gathering as the second and most important phase of the entire training process. She lauded the training team and encouraged team Liberia to go back to their communities to share their experiences.
Since the formation of the Liberian team in 2020, the team has continued to provide leadership and skills training in both urban and rural communities. The team has empowered small agriculture businesses, psychosocial and legal counselling, and medical support. The team has also enabled scholarships to young women.
The first Liberian Training for Transformation workshop was held in September of 2022, laying the foundation for this refresher. At that conference, Dr. Massaquoi and Ms. Kargbo also led the workshops, relating each area of focus to a great woman in the Bible.
The Conference United Methodist Women Organization (CUMWO), of the Liberia Annual Conference, with the support of United Women in Faith, will continue to buttress the efforts of the local women’s developmental agenda by empowering women of faith to transform the lives of women, children, and youth.
Vivian Cooke is a member of the Conference of United Methodist Women in Liberia.