Ambassador Juli Endee
Liberia Culture Ambassador
Republic Of Liberia
When the history of those women who have been working intensively to ensure that Liberians enjoy peace and stability as well as protecting the rights of women against gender based violence, the name Juli Endee will be mentioned. She has done so much well for the country’s peace, women and girls’ empowerment in Liberia. In an effort to understand the level of accomplishment by Liberia Culture Ambassador and Traditional Queen of Liberia, Womenvoices had an exclusive with this great woman of Liberia.
What I think is this I always believe in the three Cs and three Ds. First, let me say thank God for his upon my life, the blessing from my parents, but I believe in commitment, credibility and commonsense. If you are committed, credible with commonsense your talent will grow. If you are devoted, dedicated and determined your talent will also grow.
I encourage every woman that is moving up the ladder or wanting to move up in life to be dedicated and devoted, committed, credible with commonsense. Sometimes it is difficult for us as women to get along with our male counterparts; traditional believes and differences. Many a time there are indication a woman cannot do certain thing, there are certain people just do not respect woman, period. So to be in that environment, you have to really work and be good with what you are doing ,if you want to be a doctor be a good doctor, if want to be artist be a good artists ,if you want to be social worker be a good social worker, if you want to be a community engagement expert, your expertise should sign your signature.
I travel around the world with humble spirit to award programs and it is always in other countries, so in one of my travels , I watched the Corral Award at the time with the late Brenda Fassie and I said to myself, when will these people come to my country to an award? So I came and took pen and paper started putting the kind of award that I want , how it should look ,and the concept document , so we put out the draft, my team and I went through the disagreement and agreement that is how we came out with the name Golden Image Award. But then we needed a face for the award and at the time our President was a female so we look at all of the work that she has done and then we decided that we should short list six women, five of them outside Liberia and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the only person from Liberia. So we agreed that they were all great women but selected Madam Sirleaf, based on the level of work that she has done in advocacy for women political rights, among others, we chose her as the face which is a beautiful African woman with cloth and stay on cloth, with rich hair kind spirit, peace and so that is how we called it the Golden Image Award. The face is like gold because it comes with the true Liberian gold, so is that gold that the plate that shows the expression and unclothe woman is Madam Sirleaf, that is how we met her and told her about it and she consented. we have been doing that since 2010 and now up to 2019, but in order to it in a more sustainable, we need to actually work innovatively to raise money to continual to show case the arts and culture of Liberia.
I also appreciate women activists and those women who will stand their grounds 10 years from now, where will we be, those women who sat at the desk, let give gratitude to those women worked to put us to where we are. I have a simple message, if we want the men to be our partners to understand where we coming from, to know our importance, educate one woman you educate a nation, support one woman you educate more people. We the women need to unite, there is strength in unity.
Never again should we take it for granted, because women are been abused, though they are not elites or educated women, so we just let it go, we done stand up. Let us stand up for what we believe in, when one woman is disgraced, the tenancy is that it reflects womanhood. Let us stand together regardless of our political affiliation or status of society. Let us be transparent in our dealings with one another. Let’s open up, empowerment is not lips service. We need to come together, those who have the upper hands to help those who are in need, that is the only way people will find themselves into the movement of oneness.
I don’t want to be the one to say I have empowered a woman , it is the women themselves who I have worked with that will tell the story. Next time please ask them where I took them from and where they are now. If you ask some women today, they will say I have my own land, my own business; it is because of what Ambassador Julie Endee did for me. We need to help other to do what we are doing because others help us to allow us to grow through training.
It is good for the women to network because if we do network, we will be successful, I want to encourage all of those that are going for the CSW when you return to Liberia, call a forum and give your platform so those who did not go to CSW to hear your experience. Share your experiences with us so that other will feel the impact of the CSW.
We need to work on the domestic violence bill that is at the national Legislature. We have to stand up for the bill to pass so that we can have legal instrument to deal with all those things that are happening to us as women. We need to standup with one voice.
We cannot do these things without capacity. We need technical support and capacity building. We run an NGO the Liberia Crusader for Peace. The Liberia Crusader for Peace has structures and there are areas that are occupied by women. Take for example, the human resource department in the administrative structure. Our administrator is a female, our national supervisors, and supervisors in the counties need capacity building. Women who are at that level need support to continual our programs. We have several programs, the rural women, the young women in arts. We will continual these programs if we get the needy support.
Part of the constraints could be handled if national Government agrees to give us a budgetary support. We are not saying take our responsibility, give us subsidy so that we can continual our work. We have been advocating for budgetary support and the Ministry of Information just agreed that they will be looking at it, but at the same time they will give us some money to carry out, some activities for specific projects like the Golden Image award, the Kukatornon and women conference dialog.
Besides, I am presently working with people with disability with a school, the Christen Association of the Blind and I was able to discover a young Liberian artist who is blind and connected him with Flavor of Nigeria where they collaborated today, Flavor is sponsoring the kid and I saw a little girl who says she wants to be like Julie Endee. She sang the National Anthem during the Independence Day program.
I work with people with disability to let them know that disability is not a failure, there is strength in disability, that strength leads you to success. Those who want to do music will do music, if you want to be motivational speaker you can be so, we are working with them.