Liberian Women Improve Business Ventures

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Meilakeh Menworleh, presents a well-packaged super gari—flour made from cassava root— to customers at her cooperative processing warehouse in rural Liberia. Each plastic bag of gari has a hand-glued label that reads, "Quality Super Gari," inspired by the quality of the work they do. Josephine, as a member of the cooperative, has big plans to make Rural Women and Girls Promoters for Sustainable Development a household name in Liberia.

“We want the cooperative name to go far,” she says. “We want to have as many members as we can, especially women and young girls.


women process cassava in Liberia

Women from Rural Women and Girls Promoters for Sustainable Development process cassava at their workshop near Saniquellie City, Liberia. They participated in training through the CRS Agriculture Sustainability Activity program.

Photo by Patrick Meinhardt for CRS


In the past, Meilakeh faced many struggles as a single mother. That’s why she wants to empower women and young girls in her community f. Meilakeh remembers how the difficulties she overcame before joining the cooperative. Now, she earns enough income to send her children to school. She wants  her experience to inspire the women and girls in her community to believe that everything is possible with perseverance and hard work.

Meilakeh is now an active cooperative member that sells gariin Nimba county and exports to neighboring Guinea. Before the training, the cooperative sought to improve their marketing skills and increase production. Since they participated in the market development training, their business has improved at all levelsfrom customer tracking, marketing and bookkeeping, to pricing their products.

“In the training, we learned how to do market research and add value to cassava,” says Meilakeh. "I now know how to talk to customers well and persuade them to buy my products. Before the training, I used to get angry with customers who refused to buy from me.”

To ensure a competitive advantage in the market, cooperative members  improved the packaging of their gari and offer them at an affordable price.


processed cassava for sale in Liberia

Meilakeh Menworleh, executive director of Rural Women and Girls Promoters for Sustainable Development, sells bags of processed cassava at the organization’s offices near  Saniquellie City, Liberia.

Photo by Patrick Meinhardt for CRS


The business training provided by Catholic Relief Services through the  U.S. Agency for International Development’'s Agricultureal Sustainability Activity project has empowered cooperative members to increase production and expand their market reach.

“The skills gained from the training have boosted our businesses.  We used to sell only in Sanniqullie, Liberia, but now, we are also selling in our neighboring country, Guinea," says, Meilakeh.

The training has also motivated the cooperative to create their first savings and mobile money accounts to ensure proper management of finances.

“We are getting stronger. And if we continue, we would be able to improve the livelihood of many other women and girls in our community for them to be self-reliant,” she says.

The cooperative is currently sharing the training and skills with other young women and women’s organizations in their community.