As part of ongoing global efforts to promote Gender Equality aimed at providing women and girls’ opportunities that will bring them on par with their male counterparts, a Liberian-run non-profit organization based in the United States of America, has launched a photography project for women and girls in Liberia.
The Movement for the Promotion of Gender Equality in Liberia, (MOPGEL), a registered 501 c3 nonprofit is currently training eight Liberian women and girls photographers to promote gender equality in the male-dominated profession in Liberia.
The eight women and girls are primarily staffers of the nonprofit, who will thereafter become trainers to lunch Trainers of Trainers (TOT) program in the country. The Training of Trainers’ project, accordingly will recruit one female from each of the fifteen political subdivisions of Liberia. The training is part of the organization’s media/advocacy program, which had also set up an online newspaper styled, “The Advocacy Lens”. After the initial three months training, the female photographers will go on field trips to work on their respective stories to be published online.
The training is being conducted at the Offices of MOPGEL in Neckelly Town, Paynesville Monrovia, Liberia. The project objective is to effect an ever-lasting change in Liberia that will impact current and future generations in the country. The idea to train women and girls in photography and writing skills is the result of column published some time ago in the New Democrat Newspaper, styled, “Eye for the News,” by the Co-founder of MOPGEL Hisenburg Q. Togba, a photojournalist.
The column was intended to draw national and international attention by elevating the plight of women, girls and people living with disabilities through constructive advocacy. The column, being referenced, gave birth to the establishment of the organization MOPGEL.
Rather than to keep telling the story of women, girls and those living with disabilities in the new global concept of generational change, Mr. Togba believes it is vital for the groups to be trained in photography and writing skills. This, he stressed will help them lead their own advocacy; using photos as advocacy tools, and at the same time telling their own stories and their respective communities.
He said it is regrettable that Liberia doesn’t have women and girls who are photographers or photojournalists when Liberia elected the first female President in Africa. Against this backdrop, MOPGEL, with the mission of gender equality, decided to bridge the gap in Liberia to afford the affected women and girls the opportunity to constructively engage in competition in the field of photography.
“The skills you learn here today as staffers of this organization, if taken seriously, will empower you to engage into advocacy–journalism to tell your own stories, and other vulnerable people who are voiceless and defenseless,” Mr. Hisenburg Q. Togba told the trainees via mobile phone from the United States during the formal opening of the training.
Two experienced Liberian journalists, Elis A. ZoKer with Jacob N.B. Parley are conducting the writing skills and photography training.
Mr. Zoker, a broadcast and print journalist, formerly worked as Financial Secretary of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and a stringer for “The Bloomberg”, a US-based financial news agency and “The German News Agency” respectively.
Mr. Parley, an experienced print and broadcast journalist is also a trained photographer, formerly serving the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) as Vice President, Media Alert Officer, and Secretary to the Training and Manpower Development Committee respectively. He also worked at the Vanguard and Plain Talk Newspapers (defunct) as reporter/photographer.