Gbeme Horace Kollie
Female and male perspectives: we wish to share two interviews with participants from the same training activity on “Gender and Organizational Change”. Interview with Ms. Gbeme Horace Kollie, Deputy Minister, Government of the Republic of Liberia, and Turin Centre participant
What was your experience of the training activity on gender and organizational change?
I enjoyed learning about the unique diversity of the context on gender issues between each country and the enthusiasm we all share to be agents of change in our organizations, countries or individual affiliations.
What did you find useful for your personal and institutional objectives?
What I found very useful are the logical levels of change that look at one's identity, values and beliefs, which are important for affecting change in my workplace. Additionally, the emphasis on making gender a part of the organization’s overall change management strategy was very useful.
In spite of the efforts made by our female president to appoint women into high or key political positions, women continue to experience social barriers and gender imbalances on a daily basis in the workplace. We need to be aware of the different obstacles that come from within ourselves (lack of self-confidence), the organizations where we work and society. Identifying a way to overcome these obstacles remains a challenge. Appreciating our self-value and learning how to be good agents of change remain essential aspects for me and are useful tools that I am taking away from the training.
Do you think you have gained new ideas and insights into the issue?
Most definitely! I have gained new ideas in dealing with gender as part of the organization’s change management strategy, as I mentioned earlier. The practical exercise on appreciating our differences as women and men in effecting change in our respective organizations was amazing. Understanding the deep value that an inclusive gender process brings to the organization’s overall objectives was an essential learning for me as a participant, and I have no doubt that attending this training has changed my personal perception and encouraged me to promote gender equality.
Do you think you will apply the results of the training in your country?
Well…to apply the results of the training in my country at my institutional/departmental level? Yes. This will be done primarily at the local government administration level, since my work is mostly focused on working with local governments. Women in local positions continue to yearn for more opportunities to be heard and seen as part of a participatory decision making process. As we move towards elections in 2017, it is becoming evident that women need to understand their roles in the electoral process. The knowledge I have gained here will inform efforts that are being made at the moment in collaboration with our partners to establish different networks with key stakeholders to ensure a clear and defined participatory role for women in the presidential and legislative elections. Of course, we are not going to ignore the roles of our male champions during this exercise, as we are aware that an inclusive approach to gender enhances a conflict sensitive process that minimizes risk.
If you were to tell your colleagues about that training activity and the Centre, what would you say?
I would say the training was actually an eye-opener for me. It has informed my approach and taught me how to design a roadmap for successful outcomes. The International Training Centre is a “corridor of power”, since knowledge is absolute power and that is what you find here.