Carter Center Holds Mano River Union Traditional Women Peace Conference

By Bettie K. Johnson Mbayo

 Over 200 women from the Mano River countries have met in Nimba County for a 3-day conference aimed at preventing conflict and sustaining peace in the union.

Chiefs, elders and women from Sierra Leone, Guinea, La Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia conference is supported by Carter Center, USAID and Sweden.

The head of Liberia Crusaders of Peace, Ambassador Julie Endee, said there is need for violence prevention and the relevance of Liberia ‘Kukartornon’ peace festival in Guinea, La Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.


Kukartonon is a Liberian dialect -Kpelle word meaning “We are one.”

She recalled the first meeting that was held in Guiglo, a town in La Côte d’Ivoire when women of the union met to organize the conference.

“We say thank you to everyone, especially Carter Center; Liberia is transitioning into peaceful transfer of power and that is the peace we are talking about. The Guiglo meeting with the MRU women didn’t go in vain.”

“Madam Sirleaf is leaving and Weah and Jewel as Vice President means peace for the MRU countries- ‘We are one,’ one people, one destiny and one Mano River basin,” she said.

 The Chief of Party at Carter Center, Pewee Flomoku, appreciated the donors adding that they are happy to work with women on grounds that more women make over half of the population in the world.

“We at Carter Center- Access to Justice are interested in empowering women for peace,” he said.

Doh Annie Stephne of La Côte d’Ivoire said she was overwhelmed being a part of the conference adding that her country has not given chance for women to gather as compare to women in Liberia.

“In La Côte d’Ivoire, women are not able to sit at conferences like Liberia. We must fight to organize ourselves like the women in Liberia.”

Representatives from Sierra Leone, Aissata Keromah and Guinee’s Hadja Zeinab Traoie, recommended for an information management system be set up to improve communications among MRU women.

They both further stated that without peace there will be instability that will bring mockery to the union.

Topics discussed included the role of justice and good governance in dispute resolution and conflict prevention, traditional women’s role in ensuring smooth border security, and how can traditional women use traditional mechanism to foster peace and security along MRU borders.


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