The war brought major changes for women. After becoming refugees, or fighting or being forced into sexual slavery, many were left to create new lives in unfamiliar places, newly mixing tribes and religions. Ginny’s team worked in one of these crossroads to build community.

As both victims and perpetrators, many women emerged from the war with physical and psychic scars. They have children to support, no education and few marketable skills. When these women can become more self-supporting, and participate in community, it reconnects them to their strengths and helps them heal.

Women of nine tribes came together. They learned new farming techniques and jointly managed the land and sold the crops. They sat in dialogues for months, learning to trust each other. They learned each other’s stories of trauma and grief, and learned how to support each other through it.

When the work began, tribal prejudice caused to some refuse to farm together. Then some agreed to farm adjacent plots. Then some would work the same land in separate shifts. And by the end, all nine tribes were farming side by side. Making key decisions that had previously blown them apart.

And people in the community noticed. The mocking and skepticism stopped. New women joined the work. Women’s civic and religious leaders began to use dialogue techniques to run their meetings. People came to the core women for help with their conflicts. These women learned forgiveness and interdependence, and they now model the cohesion and peaceful practices needed for a vibrant and stable society.

Gbah, Liberia (Collaboration Specialists, 2011)


"When the program start, I happy. The reason why: I not used to go among women. I used to be ashamed. When women would get together, they would call me, and I would say no. But now, they make me feel free. I can talk with my friend-woman. If they’re wrong, I say what they are doing wrong. … I feel to myself: I am a woman. I can stand among public and talk. .... I happy for what they do for me. For them to do something that I feel heard.

- Miatta Sonie, resident, Gbah, Liberia